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Sarah
Sarah is the Content Creation Expert at Sark eMedia.

If you’ve wasted an hour a day on Twitter and got nothing from it, if you’re spending 3 hours a day commenting and sharing on Facebook and you’re not getting the traction that you want, it’s time to re-evaluate not only how you’re spending your time, but also your social media marketing goals and one of those will be to use social media to drive traffic back to your website.

Social media platforms are not supposed to be the end destination of your followers. Social media should only be the beginning of a long relationship that involves sharing, interacting, learning, and engaging and it is the starting point of that relationship. The end point is your email list and to get there they need to visit your website first.

Use social media to remind followers to visit your website for more information, products and services.

I can just hear the outcry now… Sarah, that’s selling.  It is if you only say those things, but what of you’re continually sharing actionable advice and incredible value to your followers? Some of them will want a signal from you that you want to connect with them and support them even more.

And the really smart ones will understand that you’re a business person like they are, and this is the next step.

Use social media as a way to listen to what your audience thinks it wants, and then clarify.

Use social media as the method by which you become an important industry expert from whom your audience seeks information.

The following tips are used by industry experts, large organizations and businesses alike to drive traffic from social media to their websites. No need to reinvent the wheel, because these ten tips work.

1) Become a Thought Leader

It may seem strange that the more popular you can become offline, the more popular you will be online, and the more people will connect with you, follow you, and then go to your website. People who connect and build communities offline can easily utilise these skills online.

How do you get known?

  • Share your love, write for other popular blogs, magazines, and newsletters then cross promote.
  • Accept speaking engagements outside of the offline but record them, and put them on YouTube.com, embed the recordings or links on your site, and share via social media.
  • Speak at networking events and small events just as much as you speak at big events
  • Write a book, and use that as your calling card

As a side note, I recall listening to Michael Port talking about keeping a stack of his books in the boot (trunk) of his car. When he was networking and was talking to someone with a problem he could help with he gave them a copy of his book. GAVE. Not sold, he’d walk to the car and get a copy of the book and handed it over personally. How memorable is that? I can’t recall the audio he spoke about this, but I can recall the action and how well it worked for him.

2) Create an Interactive Community

People love to talk to each other about issues that affect them. If you really want to offer a huge benefit to your customers and potential customers, form a community around them, this can be a LinkedIN group, a Facebook group or a G+ community, there are plenty of places where you can interact, as well as your own website.

Make sure your community feels extra special and call it a VIP community and share exclusive, useful content with them there and of course encourage them to visit your website if they think they need extra help and support.

3) Remember SEO

Dod you know people search Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook as well as the search engines?  A well optimized pinboard will also show in Google search results. Optimize for social media by including the right keywords, the right metadata, and including information about images, content, and more, so that you can be found when people are looking.

Make sure your website is easily found on your Facebook pages and social media profiles.

4) Engage on Social Media

You can’t just open a social media account, fill out a profile, start blasting updates and expect any results. Well, not the results you want.

You need to start with a social media marketing plan, understand your goals, choose your strategies, and then seek to engage with others on social media to ensure that your plan is realised and your goals are met. Sounds easy, right? Well it is when you plan and know what your goals are.

5) Listen to the Buzz

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A really great way to use social media is to use it to listen to the buzz about your industry. But don’t just listen. When you find something about your industry or product in general, or your business in particular, ensure that you respond with the right answers, links, and information so that you can get your message out to participants.

If you don’t find any buzz, create it. It’s a lot easier than you think. When I had a Kindle book to promote I created a Free Kindle Book club on Facebook and invited people to join and share their free books. The community is now 8,000 members strong and when I post my own books I get a significant number of downloads. I’ve created my own buzz, and let others share theirs – it’s a winner!

As you know I’m not a one trick pony I also have a 4,000 + strong group on LinkedIN where I fill my local offline networking events.

Make your own groups, start your own discussions, and share, share, share.

6) Track, Measure & Adjust

Find out which types of content get more shares, more comments and more action. I discovered this week that my list posts with 10 in them get shared quite a lot…

  • Know what your customers want to read.
  • Ask them what they need to know.

The more you can track the success of your campaigns the more you can improve them. You can actually adjust and improve any social media campaign in progress if you have the right information.

7) Use Strategic Paid Advertisements

Paid advertisements can be very expensive if you aren’t sure why you’re running them.

When it comes to social media, run an advertisement to get more signups for your newsletter. Then market your products and services to your subscribers. Sure, this may cost more per click but you control your list and not a 3rd party site that has different interests and goals to you and your business.

Consider using Facebook custom audiences to promote good, actionable content to your existing subscribers and encourage comments to get more visibility.

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While at first you may not notice much of a change in website traffic, you will over time because you’ll have them in your marketing funnel.

8) Use Varied Content on Social Media

Mix up what type of content you share and add to your social media updates. Use

  • newsworthy content
  • evergreen content
  • actionable content
  • and content in different forms like video, infographics, and text.

You want to write a paragraph before each share in order to pique the reader’s attention and share high-quality, relevant content on a regular basis.

9) Work with Influencers

There are always going to be “rock stars” in every industry that are well known and who can highly influence your target audience.

Research who these people are, connect with them, and find ways to engage with them in a way that helps you leverage their audience to spread your message.

Now the key to this strategy simple – just because someone has a huge following it doesn’t mean they are influential with your audience.

  • Enagage with your influencer and see how they respond – is there chemistry?
  • Be respectful of their time –  you are not the only person engaging and wishing to use their influence
  • Watch how they interact with their audience –  are they actively involved or are they broadcasting?
  • How are they solving their audience’s problems?
  • Consider paying for access (as a customer you are much more likely to be on your influencer’s radar)
  • Complementary products and services work better than competing products

If you can get an influencer to recommend your products and/or services to others, your traffic will explode but it has to be the right influencer, in the right place at the right time.

10) Present Content with Strong Call To Actions

Never send out any content on social media without a call to action (“CTA”). Your CTA must be varied, and to the point. Don’t beat around the bush.

  • If you want your audience to share your infographic, ask them to.
  • If you want your audience to “like” your post, ask them to.
  • If you want your audience to click through to read the rest of something on a website, ask them to.
  • Finally, if you want them to buy something, ask them to buy it. Tell them the benefits of doing so, and ask them to do it.

It’s clear that social media can be an important avenue to gain more traffic to your website or blog.

But, it’s not going to happen automagically, you may build it and no one will come. You are going to have to work a little bit more to get the ball rolling or pay someone to do it for you.

Fortunately, these tried and true tips really do work. By using them you will drive more traffic to your website from social media. Not only that, if you’re clear on your message you’ll drive targeted traffic that is ready to answer your calls to action.

Note: The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views held by Inc42, its creators or employees. Inc42 is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by guest bloggers.