Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace etc. have become popular among the internet marketers. Most marketers hawk their websites, blog, affiliate links, list building URLs, etc. all day long to drive traffic to their web sites. Not only it is annoying to the network members, but also the effectiveness of such a strategy is yet to be proven.
However, you cannot ignore this emerging medium. You need to embrace it using a different mindset. If you follow the seven guidelines discussed below, you will be able to increase traffic to your site from these social media sites without exposing yourself as a self-centered marketer who will do anything to cash in on every opportunity.
1. Create a profile page at each site and detail your interests, expertise, blogs, and websites in your profile. In Twitter, you are limited by text space and the number of URLs you can use in your bio. Facebook has more flexibility and you can pull your blog RSS into the Facebook notes.
Social network sites are pull medium where the old push marketing fails miserably. Your goal should be to pull people to your profile page by regularly posting valuable and interesting contents from other sites. You can post your blog article in Twitter occasionally but don’t submit every blog post your create.
2. The old school marketing relies on four Ps – price, product, placement, and promotion. The social media adds another dimension and one more P to the marketing philosophy and it is the participation.
You need to participate in the conversion and at the same time encourage others to participate. If you want to build a community that will trust you, you need to participate by providing expert opinions and valuable information. You need to help others when somebody has a question. Even if don’t know the answer, find it out by spending sometime on the Web.
You also need to draw others in the discussions by asking questions, giving controversial opinions, raising interesting issues that affect your niche. Passively posting your URL all over the place will not bring traffic to your site. Only concerted efforts to position yourself as a knowledgeable person in your niche will result in more visitors to your site.
3. To position yourself as an expert in your niche, you need to create contents that are fresh, interesting, and valuable to your readers. You also have to discover high quality contents in your niche for sharing with others. Subscribe to a few dozen blogs and scan them everyday for high quality contents so that you can share it with others in your network.
4. You cannot hide yourself in the social media world. If you are a fake, people will discover it fast and you will lose trust and traffic. So, be authentic, transparent and humble in all your conversations. If you make a mistake, admit it and move on.
5. To establish your credibility and expertise, you should read a wide variety of topics in your niche and explain them to others in the form of blog post, ebooks, white papers, etc. Give it all for free without any strings attached. Encourage others to distribute your materials.
If you are not sharing some valuable information, somebody else will share it. You cannot hide any information. It is better to be the first mover than wondering how did everybody find it out.
6. Be prepared to change your mind set. The old school mindset for driving traffic is posting you site links everywhere. The social media mind set is establishing yourself as an expert and sharing your knowledge. Once people know that you are a good resource for solutions to their problems, they will come to your site and you can monetize your site in different ways.
If you are wondering how you are going to make money if you give every thing for free than you need to understand this new medium before you jump into the bandwagon by posting your URLs every hour. Your goal is to drive traffic to your site. Your site may monetize using a variety of methods like, third party advertisement, selling tutorials, affiliate marketing, selling memberships, etc.
7. Social media is a marketing tool set that you leverage to drive traffic to your web site. For leveraging this new medium, you need to establish yourself as a good community member first. Don’t be farcical like Walmart who paid to Jim and Laura to blog around the country in Walmart parking lots capturing stories of Walmart employees and how they loved to work at Walmart.
You may enjoy a short-lived traffic boost to your site, but it will not last longer. When the truth is exposed, it will be a public relation nightmare for you or your brand. Build your brand by telling the truth. There is nothing wrong if you are sponsored by a corporation, just reveal the truth.