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Are You Losing Out On Targeted Social Media Traffic?

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With 43 percent of social media referrals, StumbleUpon recently beat out Facebook and Twitter as the largest social media referrer, according to StatCounter. However, many experts don't put much credence in the information, and for good reason.

StumbleUpon likely counts social media referrals from its URL shortener Su.pr. Those URLs refer traffic not just from the StumbleUpon site but also from Twitter and even Facebook, which can skew the data a bit.

Regardless, the information is interesting and raises an interesting question: are websites losing out on social media traffic by not using some of the top social media referrer sites?

Top Social Media Referrers

Driving traffic from social media sites can be the most important part of your social media marketing campaign. Determining which online portal is going to drive the most qualified traffic, or combination of sites, can be tricky.

What are your overall goals with driving qualified traffic to your site? The answer to this question will help you decide which of the below are right for you.

StumbleUpon

Regardless of the data you look at, clearly StumbleUpon is a great site to help drive traffic.

There are a few downsides to this portal compared to others that should be known. For instance:

  • A higher than usual bounce rate.
  • Less average time on site.
  • Less pages per visit.
  • Less qualified traffic.

The site does offer some benefits, including:

  • The ability to build backlinks using the system.
  • It's an engaging platform.
  • The ability to build a network of friends can come in handy.

Even though less qualified traffic is being generated, there is still likelihood that someone unfamiliar with your brand or services might "stumble" your site and find what they didn't know they were looking for. While the chances of this are slim, some may see it as a benefit.

Facebook

Comparatively, driving traffic with Facebook isn't as easy as StumbleUpon. However, when looking at the pros and cons you'll soon find that Facebook might be a better fit for your efforts.

With Facebook, you must build a fan base. That fan base then has the ability to influence others, but dissimilar from StumbleUpon your information is less likely to be seen by a user who isn't somehow already connected to your brand without some help.

StumbleUpon facilitates the "browsing" of websites more easily than Facebook. Facebook can drive much more targeted traffic to your site, however, and offers the ability to engage more with your fan base, more customization, and in general better options to optimize your traffic driving potential.

Twitter

Growing a following on Twitter is similar to growing a fan base on Facebook. While it isn't easy, you have the ability to influence others when your followers re-tweet or @ reply you. Because of this fact, utilizing engagement is necessary to increase your influence.

Driving targeted traffic to your site requires some effort, but can be done more easily than with StumbleUpon at least. In addition, users are likely to stay on your site longer, and not necessarily negatively affect bounce rate, pages per visit, and time on site.

Reddit

The year of 2010 showed growth for the social bookmarking site Reddit. Over half a million more page views per month, and almost 3 minutes more spent per visit were reported in December 2010 over January 2010.

Similar to other bookmarking sites, the pros and cons don't vary greatly. The underlying fact here, however, is that traffic can be generated using Reddit when great content is produced.

But targeted traffic? Not so much.

YouTube, MySpace, Digg, and Others

StatCounter currently monitors the top seven social media referrers, which include the above sites examined, as well as YouTube, MySpace, Digg, and others.

You're bound to find some of your intended audience on each of these social media sites, but the trend here seems to be: a site that offers the ability to customize who will actually see your content can likely draw more targeted traffic back to your site.

Best Practices

Content is often the key to driving social media targeted traffic. Simply having your information on the above referenced sites isn't going to do much except draw a small amount of traffic.

To get the best targeted traffic possible, you must think about where exactly that traffic is funneled to, as well as the audience on that particular site. Here are a few best practices that might help along the way:

  • Listening is important. Whether or not you have existing profiles on the above referenced sites, it's imperative to take a look at how content is currently being shared in your niche or industry, the dynamic of influential users on the sites, and the best approach to get the furthest reach out of your efforts.

  • Development of targeted content. Target the content you publish to your intended audience. Sometimes, it might require customization of a piece of content for a particular social media site. If you know that primarily your fans on Facebook like to read, share and discuss research or technical based pieces, try only promoting it to that site. Another piece of content meant for a Reddit audience might contain more humor, images, and a less technical underlying message, unfit for your Facebook audience.

  • Keep analytics in mind. When monitoring targeted social media traffic, use analytics programs to match up to your approach. If you've never targeted content, but integrate it into your approach in January, look at data after a few months have passed to see if the new approach has changed the overall number of targeted visitors to your site.

  • Change tactics with the growth of your visitors. As your traffic grows, your approach may need to grow as well. Don't assume that what works today will work in a year. Continually evaluate data, and make changes as necessary.

Are you driving traffic currently from social media sites? If so, how have you optimized your efforts to drive targeted traffic to your website?

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