In a recent study conducted by Intellimon and the University of Bradford, it was revealed that Facebook and Twitter seemed “ineffective” in generating website traffic. That may surprise some of you, but for those of you who have been sceptical over the “social media phenomenon”, you may be saying “I knew it!”
It is estimated that one in every fourteen people in the world actively use Facebook, with just over 500 Million users to date. So considering the popularity and contagiousness of Facebook, how does it really weigh in when it comes to generating traffic to your actual company website? Over 4000 online companies were surveyed in the study. The results may be a little discouraging:
- Although 67% of businesses make use of Facebook to promote their websites, only 29% found the social media platform useful in any way for directing traffic to it.
- Similarity, only 27.7% of Twitter users found that this social media platform had any impact on bouncing potential customers to their company websites.
To be honest, the results (in my opinion) aren’t shocking. There seems to be a great deal of dependence on Facebook and Twitter, as well as other methods of online marketing, to produce customers and generate traffic to your website. With that being said, many of us may be losing sight of what Facebook and Twitter are actually for when it comes to online marketing. The more we gear away from anticipating loads of customers from our implementation of Facebook or Twitter, the less disappointed we will be when we realize that it isn’t that easy.
We have all heard of SEO by now; another phenomenon and world of its own regarding the visibility of your company (or for Realtors, your brand) in search results. But when it comes to Facebook and Twitter, think of it as a unique type of SEO: Social Engagement Optimization. The more we engage our audience, the better the chance that a few might even browse over to our websites! Most importantly, if we shift our focus
from what social media can do for us, and consider what our social media platforms can do for our customers, we can begin to produce an environment that our potential customers even want to be in.
Consider the following benefits that Facebook instantly offers (all statistical leads to customers aside):
- If you actively use your Facebook page to provide blogs, news articles, and most importantly, engaging conversation, you start to become a resource for others. For example, I visit a particular Facebook page (and have been for the last year) when I want entertainment news because this person constantly provides new and exciting content. If this person created an actual entertainment news website, would I visit it? Absolutely! She became a trusted source of information, but wasn’t trying to sell me anything.
- The social aspects of your Facebook page create emotional connectivity between you and your audience.
- Referrals and recommendations of your services and/or products are easier (you can reach vast audiences across the world!) and this method of referral is more natural.
- It provides instant branding and awareness of your company.
- Potential customers get to meet “you” and even your employees before meeting the “company”.
Simon Sinek, an inspirational thought leader and author said it best: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. If your audience sees that they share the same common interests as you, the same beliefs as you, or they just genuinely seem to “like” you, what you do isn’t as important anymore. People are more likely to buy your products or services if they trust you, and get a good vibe from you. “What” you do can actually be less engaging; if someone is scoping out your website or product page, chances are they are already
looking to buy that particular service and don’t need to be “sold” on it. Facebook is a great platform to show people the real you, what you’re all about, and exactly why you are doing what you are doing. Having said that, we can appreciate how important it is for us to connect with our audiences on a more personal level and not just sell “what” we do, and how we do it.
Facebook undoubtedly helps you better understand and get to know your audience. With Facebook, you now have the opportunity to engage your audience in interesting conversation. Ask questions, get advice, and even create polls! People love talking about themselves and providing input to questions you provide, and it’s refreshing for your audience to see that you are interested in what they think as well. You’ll find your audience will take part in their own conversations based off of one post you provide. Read through your audiences’ responses and their responses to other posts about that topic. Common interests and beliefs begin to emerge the more you engage and connect with your audience. Want to know the best added perk to engaging conversation that creates buzz and receives an abundance of feedback? Facebook has their own algorithm that determines what shows up in its “news feed” . The more responses your posts get, the more likely it is that your status update will be posted in others news feeds. The conversations you create can easily become viral.
Although the results of the Intellimon/University of Bradford study indicated that a multitude of companies aren’t necessarily seeing profound results from their Facebook and Twitter efforts, no one can deny that in this world of social media and online technology, it is essential to implement these to stay ahead of the game. If anything, Facebook connects you to your audience, including prospective customers, and who doesn’t want the opportunity to engage this vital group of people anyway? If Facebook is used and used properly, you can become a trusted, appealing resource, which is worth the extra time spent perfecting your fan page. Time to amp up our Social Media efforts because it definitely isn’t going away!
Director of Social Marketing