Social Media – Worth it for Beginners?

social media strategy

With Lady Gaga reaching 9 million followers on Twitter, you might be inclined to use social media tools to get massive amounts of traffic. But, I did some research and found out why beginners like us might want to wait before jumping on the Twitter bandwagon.

 

What Is Social Media?

First of all, let’s address semantics. Any medium that allows two-way conversations fits under the umbrella of social media. For example, blogs or articles that allow comments and forums are considered as a form of social media. But this article is specifically targeting those social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Digg, etc., internet marketers use to generate traffic to their sites.

Still, if you’re a little foggy on what exactly social media is or how it can help you with your online business, just click on the link below  and watch this cool slide presentation that clearly explains what it is and how it helps.  (Just keep clicking the forward arrow to get to the next slide.)

Is Social Media Worth It?

The question is: should beginner online marketers waste time and possibly money on social media tactics? ForeSee Results, a customer satisfaction analytics company, conducted a survey of over 300,000 customers and found that:

  • Less than 1% of visitors to a site came directly from social media sites
  • Only 18% of visitors were influenced by social media to visit a site
  • Many businesses are spending more money than ever on social media but not necessarily getting better traffic results
  • Promotional emails, search engine traffic, and ads generate better traffic results than social media

ForeSee’s results seem to indicate that this type of social media marketing may not be worth the effort.

On the other hand, Internet Marketing Consultant Dave Conklin who once discounted the effect of social media on traffic tested a plumbing site article on Digg (see list of popular social media sites below) and to his surprise netted some delayed extra indirect traffic.

Ok, that’s a mouthful, but here’s what happened. The plumbing article made Digg’s front page and the plumbing site received some significant extra search-related traffic – but only a few weeks later.

Conklin’s conclusion? Previous focus on low direct traffic, low conversions to action, and high bounce rate (visitors who bounce away to a different site), misses the point when analyzing the impact of social media on traffic.  A well written piece with helpful content and high traffic keywords placed on a social media tool like Digg could be shared among social media users and get high rankings with search engines, leading to eventual extra relevant traffic.

So it seems that social media marketing can be worth it if you know what you are doing and provide great content with relevant high traffic keywords.

Social Media For Business (when you’re just starting)

So back to my original question: Is social media beneficial for beginners online?

According to my research, it is but only once you have your site good to go, with  relevant content, a relevant design, and a relevant offer.  And by relevant, I mean useful for your audience.

With that in place, you can then explore how to use Twitter, Digg and other social media, sticking with the most effective in generating shares, traffic and boosting rankings.

Popular Social Media Sites

Facebook

Google+

Twitter

Linkedin

Digg

StumbleUpon

Reddit

Delicious

Myspace

Youtube

 

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