Part 2 of article from 5/14/2012
Social Media 20%
Not many people will agree with this number. Some will say it’s too high, quite a few will claim it’s too low. Both sides will have plenty of examples which seem to prove their point but you can find examples for anything.
For those who don’t think social media is that important since search engines deliver an overwhelming majority of traffic to their website, you need to know that search engines are absolutely looking at social media indicators to see which sites people like and are modifying their results appropriately. This practice is only going to grow in scope so you might as well start growing your fan base now.
For those people who think social media should take up far more than 20% of a website owner’s time, why? You can build a laser targeted twitter following with a few minutes a night or you can completely automate it with a tool like tweet adder. Then you can spend a few minutes a day interacting with your followers, re-tweeting a few of their tweets etc.
There really isn’t a free and easy way to get Facebook followers so you’re probably going to end up buying Facebook ads (which you can keep cheap and unbelievably targeted) or giving away some item or service to get people to follow your page as an “entry” trying to win the item.
By following these methods you can build up a large, targeted fan base. The question is, what can you do with them? If all you do is constantly pepper them with “buy my stuff” then you will find yourself being ignored. It’s far better to build relationships, and then let them know when you have a new product release, a special etc. This will help spread your message and hopefully bring you some customers. That is an awesome tool to have and it can be fairly cheap to acquire but for most website owners that should be about 20% of their efforts because I think it’s about 20% of the total picture.
Social media is changing and growing and becoming more intermingled with search engines on a daily basis. You absolutely cannot ignore social media, but I also think that you shouldn’t spend all of your focus on it while ignoring content on your site or link building.
A lot of people think that with the growth in social media that 5 years from now Google will be less of a factor as people rely on asking friends more than they rely on asking Google. Let’s pretend they’re right for a second and jump into the future.
For the point of this exercise, I own a website that sells dog beds. In 2012 I got 200 visitors a day from Google but now in 2017 I only get 100 a day. On the surface that looks horrible but it might not be. Google is constantly modifying their algorithm to try to give people the results that they’re looking for. As they take in more social media signals and other data, they’re only going to get better at what they do. 200 visitors to a site right now may result in 5 sales. In the future all of this targeting may cut the number of visitors from search in half, but with four times the results. What if Google knows that from activity it sees in visitor’s social media and other online browsing patterns that they are likely shopping for a dog bed and therefore sends them to your site instead of just sending you traffic where the search had the terms “dog” and “bed” in it while ignoring all other context.
It’s more important than ever to produce quality content, while staying well rounded and participating in emerging platforms without abandoning the current ones.