This is a guest post from Steven Snell who blogs about social media marketing at Traffikd.
Social media marketing gets a great deal of attention from bloggers and online marketers because of the huge amount of potential traffic that it provides, but there are still a number of misconceptions involving social media and using it to draw traffic to your site. Here we’ll take a look at five of these misconceptions.
1. Social Media Traffic is Useless
Some bloggers and website owners get excited when they see a ruch of traffic coming to their site from Digg, StumbleUpon, or some other social media site, but then they get discouraged when the traffic is gone and they have nothing to show for it. This leads some people to conclude that social media traffic is a waste of time since it didn’t produce anything lasting.
The truth is social media traffic can produce lasting results, but you need to have a plan. It’s true that in general social media traffic will be less responsive than the average website visitor, but when you’re able to get thousands of visitors for free, social media traffic can more than make up for that lower level of responsiveness.
Before you set out to actively market your website or blog with social media, take some time to think about what you really want to gain from the traffic that you’re after. Selling a lot of products through social media is probably not realistic, but developing name recognition and increasing links and subscribers is realistic. Once you know specifically what you want from social media, make it easy for visitors to take that action and lead them to what’s most important.
2. Social Media Marketing Takes too Much Time
Being an active user at social media websites can be extremely time consuming, but it doesn’t have to. You don’t necessarily have to be a “power user” in order to get the benefits of social media traffic. Like anything else related to marketing your blog or website, you should decide what will work best for you and put it into practice. Set a specific amount of time to be on social media sites each day or each week.
Also, don’t try to participate at every social media site, there are way too many. Pick 2 or 3 that work well for your audience and be active with them. It’s fine to have accounts other places and participate occasionally, but focus your efforts on a smaller number of sites.
3. Nothing Touches Digg
To a lot of people Social Media Marketing means trying to reach the front page of Digg. While Digg may send more traffic than other social media sites, it is not the only one worth your attention. In fact, you’ll have better success with almost any other social media site. Because of the amount of competition at Digg, it is pretty difficult to reach the front page. Instead of chasing after a shot at the Digg front page you could be consistently reaching a smaller, more-targeted audience at a niche social media site.
Digg is certainly worth your attention as a marketer, but it shouldn’t own all of your focus. StumbleUpon is actually much easier to get results from, and the traffic will last longer.
4. If You Have Enough Friends Anything You Submit Will Do Well
While friends and contacts are important to builing strong profiles, many social media users get in the habit of adding everyone they come across as a friend. Being a friend on a social media site means more than just showing up on someone else’s list of friends. If friends aren’t helping each other in some way they really don’t matter. Focus on adding quality friends, not just a lot of friends.
5. My Audience Doesn’t Use Social Media
Some marketers think that only teenagers use social media, and since this isn’t the audience they target they don’t want to waste their time. While it is true that certain audiences are more prone or less prone to use social media, no audience is truly excluded. Every day new niche social media sites are being launched and these sites are taking social media to users that wouldn’t be on Digg or the other major social news sites (to find a social media site in your niche, see this categorized list). With major news outlets beginning to add social media elements to their sites this trend of new audiences should only increase.