This morning, as I am drinking my coffee and evaluating website analytics using Google Analytics website tool, I saw an interesting trend. Traffic comes from several sources, including organic search, direct traffic, referrals and social media. First, one of the most fascinating statistics regarding social media is that it contributed more traffic that any of the other channels. This phenomena may be due to the fact that I haven’t really worked on this website until recently, but I do have a fairly strong social media presence. Of the social media channels, the strongest was Facebook, followed by Google+. Surprisingly Twitter sent only a spattering of visits and even Linked In was much stronger than Twitter.
Of the traffic that came from social media, the quality of the traffic was better than the organic traffic, in that they stayed on the website longer, and they also visited more pages. It also out performed the referral traffic for the same metrics.
I’m not sure how much of this is due to the nature of the website, which is more along the lines of a personal blog than a company website. It could be that there is a correlation because the highest referral source, Facebook, does contain may people that I know personally. However, I also have a few pages on Facebook related to the company, my personal page, and a couple of podcasts that I co-host, so that may be part of the reason. I usually post on several Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and social media sites as blogs and other items are published.
What does all this mean? Here are my thoughts, and I’m curious if you’ve noticed these trends as well, and also if you agree with my analysis:
1. Social Media offers higher engagement. It appears that when someone finds my website through social media, they tend to visit more pages and also stay longer on the site. It could be due to the fact that most of the visits are due to blog posts. I am careful when writing blogs to try to focus on topcs that I feel would be of interest to potential prospects, and this appears to be an effective approach.
2. Social Media offers opportunity for sharing. Many of my posts wind up being shared or re-tweeted. I’d like to believe that is due to the quality of the content and that I offer some good advice. Regardless, it’s more likely to occur within Facebook and Google+ and Twitter than this re-sharing seems to appear in LinkedIn. That means that I will tailor content that is sharable more to the networks where sharing seems to be more popular, and unique, more intellectual content to LinkedIn where it may only be viewed by my immediate network and groups.
3. Social Media offers amplification. Another trend that I’ve noticed is that the new visits as a percentage of all visits is higher from Social Media than from other sources, like organic search or direct search. That makes sense to me. Social media sharing can create a way of amplifiying word of mouth recommendations though cyber space. In other words, when someone retweets a message or shares a Facebook post, it’s perceived as almost a recommendation for the content. In some ways, that amplification is more valuable than the intial post. Moving forward, one way I will utilize this knowledge is to be more concious of “influencers” who can share my message and who seem to have a fairly loyal following.
If you are trying to get a message out, or to establish a brand, social media can be a powerful tool. I get a kick out of those businesses who are still avoiding social media because they think it’s not their “market”. The funny thing – your public and potential prospects expect you to be on social media, and to not only post, but also to be listening.
What do you think? Do you agree that social media is powerful for marketers? How have you utilized social media to amplify your messaging?