Social Media Experiment (Mar. 08)
To recap my journey thus far I would say that I have experienced the power of the social web. Social media traffic is a powerful thing as it has sent more than one million visitors my way in less than 6 months time. Only a few years ago it would have required a large marketing budget to achieve the level of success that I have seen this far into my journey. I have discovered the power of making stronger relationships with others in the social media community and have even made it to the front page of Digg without spamming or self submitting.
For those who may doubt the power of social media or question it as just a fad I would say; "Think again!"
This month I spent much of my time analyzing the traffic sent to me from social media websites verses the traffic I get from other referrers. It is interesting to see how different the social media landscape truly is. In short I have learned that not all social media traffic is equal but all social media traffic has its benefits; large traffic spikes, prolonged traffic, instant feedback, great for link building, great for getting noticed. In my opinion one of the major benefits is exposure and the authority that it brings.
Diversify Traffic Sources
During this social media experiment I have seen both the highs and the lows. The highest has by far been the day when I noticed a page on my site had hit the front page of Digg. And the lowest was when I was not around a computer for a couple of days so my traffic dropped due to my inactivity in all of the online communities.
It was during the low traffic times that I realized just how quickly traffic could come and go. One day you could be getting +30k unique visitors and another you could be getting fewer than 3k unique visitors. This is when I realized that diversifying traffic sources is a crucial part or building a sustainable web property.
My need to diversify traffic sources has lead me to change my habits in social media. Early on in my social media experiment the content that I submitted was geared toward the masses which are hear today and gone tomorrow. Now instead my efforts are on creating content that is more focused, more niche oriented. My goal now is to use social media as a means by which to target niche topics. I can then provide enough value to garner links from those webmasters or bloggers who use social media for brainstorming.
The benefits of my new approach:
- Targeted Markets (niches)
- Focused Content (add value)
- Builds Authority
- Builds Long Term Traffic
- Easier To Monetize
Using Social Media To Diversify Traffic Sources
The first thing you will want to do before attempting to diversify your traffic sources through social media is pick a niche where you feel comfortable. I picked an area where I feel confident in both my knowledge and experience, how to create a website.
The next thing you will want to do is find the social communities online where your niche content fits the best or adds the most value. By utilizing niche social media sites you will have a more focused audience and the likelihood of your content being accepting will increase. One such example of a growing niche social media site is sphinn which focuses on SEO & SMM topics.
By focusing your effort on a niche you will gain authority within the community and naturally others in the community will begin linking to your content. As more links begin to build you will not only gain the traffic from the links themselves but also from the search engines as links act as votes for your site.
As you gain respect within the social network for providing quality niche content you will also gain a loyal readership within that community who will begin to submit your content for you. As your readers begin to submit your content you will be able to spend less time promoting your website and more time focusing on quality content.
The key to diversifying your traffic sources is to provide unique high quality content which deserves to be linked to and then market to your niche through social media. In time you will begin to gain authority both within the community, with other website owners, and with the search engines.
After switching my efforts away from heavy content submission in February and focusing on building true partnerships my monthly traffic decreased and stabilized around the 100k mark. I have fluctuated slightly above and below this mark for the month of March which encourages me that the efforts made in the first 3 months of this experiment were not in vain.
I have now focused less on generating large volumes of traffic and instead have focused on establishing my site as an authority on the search engines using social media as my tool of choice for doing so. In using social media in this manner I believe that I will be able to not only grow my daily readership but also naturally increase my rankings within the major search engines so that I can take advantage of the benefits of high search engine rankings.
In the months to come I will continue to build partnerships with other website owners and also focus on SEO as a tool for low cost traffic. I believe that with the right mix of SEO/SEM and SMO/SMM that I will be able to continue the growth of postworthy.