Which social platforms are worth adding to your activities, beyond the obvious? Let’s look at this blog’s traffic as a case study.
Those who know me for a long time, know that I have had a reputation as social sharing addict, often seen at all the social bookmarking websites, large and small. And people often ask me questions:
- Is it worth it?
- Do you get good traffic from them?
- Do you get good SEO links?
- Do you get customers?
- Do you get engagement?
Everybody is after a different metric. I plan to address only one of them directly. But before I do, I should provide just a general response to these questions.
Yes, it is worth it, but you have decide how much effort to spend on social sharing and how much time on each site.
I suspect that SEO links are no longer much of an issue, except to the extent that you get traffic and engagement (and therefore links from blogs and news websites).
I doubt I have gotten any customers directly from social sharing websites, but I know that I have earned myself clients as a result of networking on these sites. A funny thing happens when you vote for and comment on and share somebody else’s labor of love – it opens up the doors to all sorts of valuable collaboration, including occasionally some new clients or subcontracting opportunities. So engagement and traffic would be good metrics to help decide where it is worth spending your time.
In this post I will not rehash the relative value of being active on Twitter versus FaceBook versus Pinterest versus Google Plus versus LinkedIn. At least 57 other bloggers are at this very moment rehashing those mysteries of the universe for you. I won’t ignore them, but instead I want to share with you some of the other social websites that bring me traffic, either as stand-alone social communities or as sharing tools I use to extend my reach on the big social sites.
I like to add a “methodology” heading because it gives this blog post an air of scientific je ne sais quoi. Truth be told, the methodology is simply that I have looked at my Google Analytics traffic sources so far in 2014 for this blog, for another business blog, and for a “simple lifestyle” blog that covers self-help, personal finance, health and fitness, and entertainment.
Here are the social sharing websites that have sent the most traffic to this blog, among the top 20 referral sources over the almost 5 months so far this year, in descending order (with my comments):
Twitter (No surprise, as Twitter is the ultimate link-sharing platform and I am very active there. This is my account.)
Viral Content Buzz (Wow! This is a platform I use to extend my reach on Twitter, FaceBook, Pinterest and StumbleUpon. But the direct referrals alone are worth being active there.)
Google Plus (I am very active on Google Plus, especially in the communities, where I find engagement to be fairly strong. This is my account.)
FaceBook (No surprise)
Blokube (Big surprise! Older and more established than DoSplash, Klinkk and Kingged, I nevertheless would never have expected Blokube to outpace BizSugar, Pinterest and Triberr, especially since I am more active on all of those platforms. Clearly I need to pay much more attention to Blokube.)
BizSugar (Small surprise. I love BizSugar and I am active there, although not quite as active as I would like to be. Yet it is sending almost as much traffic as Pinterest and Triberr combined!)
Pinterest (Considering the effort I put into creating highly pinnable pics, I am somewhat disappointed that Pinterest is not proving a better source of traffic. I suppose if I ran an Etsy store…)
Triberr (Like Viral Content Buzz, this is a platform I use to extend my reach on Twitter, and have found it also a great venue for forging relationships with other bloggers. I would rank it quite highly for engagement.)
JustRetweet (Another platform I use to extend my reach on Twitter, and to some degree FaceBook and Google Plus, and again worth using also for the direct traffic.)
Scoop It (Content curation platform, and obviously I am getting some traffic from it.)
Gentlemint (One of four “male” answers to the female-dominated Pinterest, it is sending me more traffic than Manteresting, Dudepins and DartItUp)
Kingged (One of the newest social sharing communities, probably with the narrowest range of topics – just internet marketing – but with the most engaging users, both on the site and in comments on this blog. If your blog fits this niche, it is worth the time and effort.)
DoSplash (Similar to Blokube and Kingged, fairly new and with a slightly wider set of niches.)
I won’t run through the same details with the other two blogs, but I will offer a few outstanding observations from their referral stats.
First, I should note that if a post or two goes hot on StumbleUpon or Reddit, it can dwarf all other social platforms, as traffic takes a ridiculous spike for 24-48 hours. On the other hand, it can really mess with your bounce rate and time-on-page stats. I shall ignore those aberrations.
Secondly, considering the niches of the other two blogs, you won’t be surprised to hear that I get much less traffic from the likes of Blokube, BizSugar, Kingged and DoSplash. But in their place, Gentlemint figures much more prominently, in one case ahead even of FaceBook, Pinterest and Google Plus (Wow!). Three others also featured: Snapzu (quite strongly), Social Buzz Club (moderately) and Manteresting (barely).
If part of your marketing strategy is to reach out to other bloggers, to collaborate more, to extend your reach on the major social sharing platforms and to build a well-engaged following, this should give you an idea of which venues would be worth your effort. Of course, your results might not be the same as mine; nothing is more accurate than your own results by trial and error. This guide is meant strictly to help you make the best educated guesses as to where to start or expand.
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