7 Easy and Free Ways to Get More Traffic That You Should Be Using

7 Easy and Free Ways to Get More Traffic That You Should Be Using

We all want our content to reach more people, and to also live on, and keep bringing visitors to our site long after we’ve published it. Most brands do the basics, they publish a blog and cross-promote articles on social media. Some brands take it further, by publishing directly on social platforms like LinkedIn’s publishing platform or connecting their blog to Facebook Instant Articles. Companies who are serious about driving leads and winning customers online have adopted an inbound marketing strategy that drives traffic, captures leads, and moves those leads down their funnel using lead magnets and calls-to-action on their website, and blog.

We’ve found, however, that most companies aren’t using some of the best content promotion techniques available to them, even though they’re free. We think they’re so valuable, that we add these sites, tools, and strategies to the content strategy we create for all of our clients.

In this post, we’ll share seven easy and free ways to get more traffic.

1. Add Links to Social Bookmarking Sites

You should look to promote all your content on social bookmarking sites.

Bookmarking sites like Reddit and Digg, and StumbleUpon are used by many as one of their primary sources of news, information, and opinion. Adding links to these sites give you access to those audiences.

At the start of 2105, StumbleUpon was the fourth best traffic generating social networking site, behind Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. As you know, mileage will vary (we get 4-7% of our traffic from StumbleUpon alone).

7 Easy and Free Ways to Get More Traffic That You Should Be Using (But Aren't) | Social Media Today

It’s not 20%, but it’s not bad either, especially considering that social bookmarking sites are totally free.

2. Add Calls-to-Action to Links You Share

Tools like Snip.ly enable you to add calls-to-action to every link you share.

7 Easy and Free Ways to Get More Traffic That You Should Be Using (But Aren't) | Social Media Today

The ways these tools work is simple – you paste in a link and the tool shortens the link and displays a call-to-action anytime someone clicks it.

Link sharing CTAs are great for promoting lead magnets with every piece of content you share – be it your content, or curated material. They’re also great for promoting events and getting sign-ups.

Different tools have free and paid options which provide additional features, like custom branding, analytics, and promotion options.

We use Snip.ly, but there are many similar tools to choose from including:

When reviewing the tools, be sure to check out how many clicks and conversions you get at each price point (or for free), and if the tools integrate with CRM and email automation software if you plan to use them to collect sign-ups.

3. Add Banner Calls-to-Action to Your Website

Simple website banner ads can be compelling and are usually easy to add to your website.

7 Easy and Free Ways to Get More Traffic That You Should Be Using (But Aren't) | Social Media TodayIf you’re doing inbound marketing right, you should have calls-to-action on each page of your site related to the content on each page. Website banners stand out because they’re at the top of the page – they’re the first thing visitors see. They also stand out because they are consistent across your entire site, making them an omnipresent advertisement on all of your pages.

You can use website banners the same way as link based calls-to-action, but they can be particularly nice for driving sign-ups or your event.

GoAnimate has a good article where they compare the 6 Best, Free Banner Making Tools.

4. Use Pinned Posts on Social Media Networks

Pinned posts are a great way to promote content on your social channels. The great thing about pinning a post is that it stays at the top of your page’s feed until you unpin it. That means, whenever anyone visits your page or profile, it’s the first post they’ll see.

7 Easy and Free Ways to Get More Traffic That You Should Be Using (But Aren't) | Social Media Today

Dhariana Lozano wrote a great article on how to pin posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. We recommend keeping your latest blog post, content offer, or event as a pinned post.

5. Make Your Social Media Page Banners Calls-to-Actions

Another way you can leverage your social media channels for some free promotion is to change the page banner of your social media profiles into a CTA graphic. This lets everyone know about your latest offer or event.

Facebook is especially well-suited to this because you can use their call-to-action buttons to link to the landing page related to what you’re advertising. All you need to do is design a banner that describes your offer and points to the button on your page.

7 Easy and Free Ways to Get More Traffic That You Should Be Using (But Aren't) | Social Media Today

Not all page banners are as well suited to this as Facebook, but you can usually find a way to utilize the banner to promote your latest offer or event.

If you’re using pinned posts, you can combine the two and have your banner point to the pinned post that has a better description, and a link to the relevant landing page.

6. Answer Questions on Social Q&A Sites

Another set of promotional sites which are worth looking into are social question and answer sites like QuoraYahoo Answers.

How do you use a Q&A site to drive traffic? Simple, use the blog posts you’re already creating to answer questions posted on the site. Every time you publish a new post, search for related questions. Answer those questions and link back to the relevant blog post for additional information.

7 Easy and Free Ways to Get More Traffic That You Should Be Using (But Aren't) | Social Media Today

This can often be done in as little as 30 minutes after publishing a post, and from that point, the traffic will start streaming in.

Wishpond wrote an article about how they use Quora to generate traffic, and the numbers are startling.

7. Have Employees Share Content on Their Social Channels

One thing every marketer and business is trying to do on social media is get more reach. Employees can provide built in reach.

Encourage employees to share your latest articles, content offers, and news about upcoming events on their personal social channels. Employees are often eager to talk about the exciting things their company is doing, and this gives them the opportunity to do just that. Every employee that shares your content will be extending your reach to a new group people.

Facebook introduces new video platform Watch in a bid to compete with YouTube
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Facebook introduces new video platform Watch in a bid to compete with YouTube

For a while now, Facebook has been trying to figure out what to do with video, both in its app and on the site. The social network has been testing various UI changes, such as a live streaming tab and a suggested video FAB. In the States, there has been a video tab in place of friend requests for some time, for many users at least. Since the company gave up on pushing live video quite so hard, this has been home to video notifications and suggested videos as well. Facebook has reimagined this space once again, and it will now be home to a new video platform called Watch.

Whether it’s live or recorded, all of the video content in this new section will be referred to as a Show. Each one will have episodes, and by subscribing to a Show you will be kept up to date as new episodes are added. Subscribing is as easy as adding a Show to your Watchlist. It sounds a lot like subscribing to a channel on YouTube, and I would bet that’s no coincidence. There is a great deal of video content on Facebook, but its organization has never done it justice. That’s exactly the purpose of Watch, which is designed to make it quicker and easier to access the video content you want to see.

The service will also offer personalized suggestions for new Shows, based on your viewing history, and that of your friends. This will include sections such as ‘Most Talked About’ and ‘What’s Making People Laugh,’ based on the number of comments or haha reactions each episode has. Much like Facebook’s live video, you will be able to react and add comments while viewing, if you wish, in a bid to keep alive the social aspect of watching content. Each show will also have its own Facebook Group as a place for further discussion.

Creators and publishers are being encouraged to use Watch, as Facebook outlines in its press release exactly which types of Shows it would be wise to produce in order to make money. It’s looking for Shows that engage with a community, live streams that help viewers feel connected, and Shows with a consistent narrative arc. In order to boost the ecosystem, the company has even funded some Shows that are good examples of kind of content they want. There’s more information for creators on Facebook’s media blog.

Watch will be rolled out via a server-side switch to a small number of users as part of a limited test for the time being. Shows will be made available to a select group of creators at the same time, before being made widely available in the near future. Let us know in the comments if you’re one of that select group, and tell us what you make of the new platform.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Advertising on Instagram

A Step-by-Step Guide to Advertising on Instagram

With 500 million active monthly users, Instagram offers a unique opportunity for marketers to reach their target audiences through ad campaigns.

The other perk of advertising on Instagram? The ads can look almost no different than regular posts, making them much less invasive than other ad types.

But setting up ads on any platform requires a lot of thought: What should your target audience look like? What should your copy say? What image should you use? Not to mention, the more technical aspects like what size your image needs to be or how long your ad should run for.

Download our essential guide to Instagram advertising here.

To simplify the process, we’ve put together a checklist to help you set up a campaign, one step at a time.

How to Create Instagram Ads: A Step-by-Step Guide to Advertising on Instagram

If you’ve ever set up a Facebook ad, you’re about 75% of the way there. After Facebook acquired Instagram back in 2012, the platforms conveniently merged, making setting up Instagram and Facebook ads merely the difference of a couple clicks. So even though your intent is to run ads on Instagram, all of the ad setup, budgeting, scheduling, and creation is done through Facebook’s platform.

To start, log in to your company’s Facebook portal and select the account you wish to use. (Note: To run ads on Instagram you’ll need to use a Facebook Page. Pages are specifically for businesses, brands, and organizations, while regular Facebook accounts are for personal use.)

1) Select an editor and create your campaign.

You can create Instagram ads using a few different tools:

When choosing which tool to use, you’ll want to consider both your company size and the number of ads you plan to run at once. If you’re managing a large number of campaigns, or you’re looking for really precise control over your campaigns, you might want to lean towards the Power Editor. However, the Ad Manager suits most marketers’ needs, so that’s what we’ll use for the sake of this article. (For more on the Facebook Ads API option, check out this page.)

Once you’ve selected an editor, you’ll see an option to either view all campaigns, or create a new one. To get started with an Instagram ad, you’ll want to create a new campaign.

2) Choose an objective.

You’ll notice that there are several different campaign objective options to choose from here. However, in order for your ad to be eligible to appear on Instagram, you’ll have to choose from a slightly shorter list:

  • Boost your posts
  • Send people to your website
  • Increase conversions on your website
  • Get installs of your app
  • Increase engagement in your app
  • Get video views

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For this article, we’re going to select: “Send people to your website.”

When you select this option, you’ll be prompted to name your campaign. This may seem like a simple task (and it is) but it’s a good idea to have some sort of naming convention or set process within your company. This will make it easier for you to keep campaigns straight as you continue to create them.

Here at HubSpot, we like to name them in this format:

Company Department | Content/Offer/Asset Being Advertised | Date | Name of Creator

3) Choose your audience.

If you’re just starting out with Instagram advertising, odds are you won’t know exactly which audience you want to go after. This will come with time, and you may just have to play around with it at first. (If you want tips to help you choose the right audience, check out this page.)

During this step, you’ll find that the platform’s built-in targeting can be as simple or as extensive as you need it to be, with options such as:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Language
  • Relationship
  • Education
  • Work
  • Financial Status
  • Home
  • Ethnic Affinity
  • Generation
  • Parents
  • Politics (U.S. only)
  • Life Events
  • Interests
  • Behaviors
  • Connections

You can create what’s called a custom audience to reach people who’ve already interacted with your business, or a lookalike audience to reach new people on Facebook who are similar to your most valuable audiences.

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The ads platform also allows you to save the audience you create to be used again at a later time, which can be good if you’re experimenting and want to remember the exact audience you used for certain campaigns.

In terms of the objective we selected — “send people to your website” — we’ll want to target a more specific group of people: the type of people that are actually going to be interested in the content we present.

To do this, you’d jump down to the “Detailed Targeting” section, and search for different demographics, interests, or behaviors that apply to your target audience. Here’s an example of a (very small) audience, just to show you the different ways you can target certain people:

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To give you a sense of the audience you’ve chosen, Facebook provides an “audience definition gauge.” This gives you immediate feedback on how narrow or broad your audience is, as well as the estimated reach number of your ad. Since we didn’t add very much criteria to our targeting, you’ll notice that the audience appears “fairly broad.”

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4) Set your placement.

This step is the biggest differentiator between setting up Facebook ads vs. Instagram ads. To move forward with the Instagram ad, you’ll want to uncheck all the boxes except for “Instagram.”

Ad_Placement_Instagram.png

5) Set your budget and schedule.

You have the option to select either a daily budget or a lifetime budget for your campaign. The difference is this:

  • Daily budget sets your ad up to run continuously throughout the day, meaning that the algorithm will automatically pace your spending per day. Keep in mind that there is a minimum daily budget depending on different factors in your campaign, usually around $1.00.
  • Lifetime budget sets your ad up to run for a specified length of time, meaning the ads algorithm paces your spending over that entire time period.

The other aspect to setting your budget is setting your schedule. You’ll need to choose exactly when you want your campaign to start and finish running, down to the minute. There are also options to set parameters so that your ad runs only during certain hours of the day or during specific days of the week. You can find these options in the “Ad Scheduling” section.

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Set your optimization for ad delivery.

Here you have three options that will influence who sees your ads:

  1. Link Clicks (which is what the platform recommends): Your ads will be delivered accordingly to get the most clicks to your website at the lowest cost. This is all based on the platform’s algorithm.
  2. Impressions: Your ads will be delivered to people as many times as possible. Ever see the same ad on your newsfeed all day long? That company is most likely using this option.
  3. Daily Unique Reach: Your ad will be delivered to people up to once a day. People may see your ad multiple times, but at least not multiple times a day.

Set your bid amount.

This determines how effectively your ad is delivered. When you look “behind the scenes,” you’re competing with other advertisers trying to reach a similar audience in a constant auction.

You can choose either Manual or Automatic. Automatic leaves it up to Facebook’s algorithm to deliver your ad — ideally getting you the most clicks for the lowest cost. Manual allows you to set a price for link clicks. If a link click is worth a lot to you, try setting a higher than suggested bid, and your ad will be displayed over a competitor with a lower bid.

You can choose to pay based on impressions or link clicks. This is up to you.

Set your delivery schedule.

You have two options for the delivery of your ads:

  1. Standard: shows your ads throughout the day.
  2. Accelerated: helps you reach an audience quickly for time-sensitive ads.

(Note: the accelerated delivery option requires manual bid pricing.)

Name your ad set.

This step is for internal purposes. Simply give your ad set a name so that you can identify it later.

6) Set your ad creative.

Choose your format.

This is where your creativity comes in. Here you’ll decide what you want your ad to look like, which will depend on your original objective, of course.

On Instagram, you have a couple different options for your ad:

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Single image, video, or slideshow.

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Multiple Images (also called “Carousel”).

Up to 5 images or videos for the viewer to scroll through, at no extra cost.

Instagram_Carousel.png

 

We actually ran some tests to see which type of ad performed the best for different purposes.

Once you pick your ad type, click on it and you’ll be prompted to browse and upload your imagery, whether that be images or a video.

Upload your media.

For any ad type, the Facebook ads platform recommends you don’t include more than 20% of text. Previously, an ad with over 20% of text wouldn’t even be approved to run, but it has recently changed to more of a suggestion than anything. Learn more about the rules and guidelines here.

Some requirements for Instagram ad imagery:

File Type

  • .jpeg
  • .png

Text/Caption

  • Recommended: 125 characters
  • Maximum: 2,200 characters

For square of video Instagram ads …

  • Recommended Image Size: 1080 x 1080 pixels
  • Minimum Resolution Accepted: 600 x 600 pixels
  • Image Aspect Ratio: 1:1

For landscape image or video Instagram ads …

  • Recommended Image Size: 1200 x 628 pixels
  • Minimum Resolution Accepted: 600 x 600 pixels
  • Image Aspect Ratio: 1:1

7) Set your page & links.

Connect your Facebook Page and Instagram account.

Select the Facebook Page of the account you want your ads to come from, even if you’re not planning on running them on Facebook. (If you’ve made it this far in the Ads Manager, you are already logged into a Facebook account.)

However, since our intent is to post ads on Instagram, you’ll need to connect your Instagram account to your Facebook ad account. To do so, click “Add Account” (you’ll need your Instagram username and password to do so).

If your business doesn’t have an Instagram account, you can still run ads on Instagram — they’ll just come from your business’ Facebook Page instead. In other words, your Facebook Page name and profile picture will be used to represent your business within your ad as it runs on Instagram.

Add the website URL.

Next is a very important step: putting in the website URL to which you’re trying to drive more traffic. If you’re using marketing automation software, be sure to create a unique tracking URL with UTM parameters for this to ensure that you’ll be able to keep track of traffic and conversions from this ad.

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Add a headline.

This is not usually displayed to viewers of your ad on Instagram, but it’s always a good idea to complete it just in case. Enter a brief headline describing where people will visit.

Create a caption.

You have up to 2,200 characters — but don’t go crazy. Facebook recommends you keep your text under 125 characters, which is the amount that’s displayed without needing to click “more.”

Select a Call-to-Action.

There are several different options for your CTA button, depending on what the page you’re taking visitors to looks like. You can choose to have no button, or select any of the following:

  • Learn More
  • Apply Now
  • Book Now
  • Contact Us
  • Download
  • Hope Now
  • Sign Up
  • Watch More

For our sake, we’ll stick with “Learn More,” as we’re just driving people to our website.

Once your image is uploaded and your text is set, check out the preview of your ad to make sure everything looks right.

At this point, you’ll have the option to edit the “Advanced Options,” but only if you wish to. Advanced Options include adding tags, changing your display link, entering URL parameters, setting up sponsors, and opting in or out of pixel tracking.

8) Place the order.

Once everything is all set, you’re ready to place your order. Doing so is pretty easy: Just click the big green button in the bottom left corner.

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As always, be sure to check over everything — especially since your ads have the potential to be seen by a large audience. If you want someone else on your team to take a look at them before they go live, set your schedule to include a delay, but still place your order.

You run the risk of losing all the work you’ve done if you don’t place the order right away so we’d encourage you to place it first, and then go back and adjust the timing if need be.

9) Report on the performance.

Once your ads are up and running on Instagram, it’s important to keep an eye on how they’re doing. You can go back in and tweak most aspects of the ad, so if you catch a mistake you made or your image isn’t doing as well as you’d like it to, you can go in and alter these things.

You can look at results of your ads in two places:

  1. The Facebook Ads Manager
  2. Your marketing software

In the Ads Manager:

There’s a sophisticated and extensive dashboard that provides users with an overview of all their campaigns. Without customizing any settings, you’ll find data on reach, cost per result, and amount spent.

In the upper right-hand corner, you’ll see a button that says “Columns: Performance.” If you click the drop down menu, there’s an option to customize columns, which allows you to choose the specific data you want to see. There’s data ranging from CPC or CTR, to things much more specific like “Adds to Cart” for ecommerce stores.

Here are the categories that the available metrics fall into:

  • Performance (reach, results, frequency, etc.)
  • Engagement (post likes, post comments, post shares, etc.)
  • Videos (video views, average percent of video viewed, etc.)
  • Website (checkouts, payment details, adds to cart, etc.)
  • Apps (installs, engagement, cost per app engagement, etc.)
  • Events (event responses, cost per event response, etc.)
  • Clicks (unique clicks, social clicks, CTR, CPC)
  • Settings (start date, end date, ad set name, delivery, bit, ad ID, and objective)

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With your marketing software:

With so many metrics to track, it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture. To truly track your success, take advantage of your marketing software and the UTM codes you used in your ads to measure your ads’ full-funnel effectiveness.

Looking at the specific tracking codes through your marketing software will help you keep track of how many leads (or better yet, customers) you actually generated through your Instagram advertising campaign. This ROI information can then be used to inform other campaigns down the line.

If you’re a HubSpot customer, you can create unique tracking codes for your Instagram campaign by following the instructions here. All you’ll need to do is plug in the URL, attach a campaign, and choose the source you want the URL to be attributed to in your Sources Report.

Once your ad launches and you start getting traffic and conversions to your website, you’ll be able to easily track how many visits, contacts, and customers you’re generating.

7 Psychological Tricks to Use in Your Social Media Marketing

7 Psychological Tricks to Use in Your Social Media Marketing

With competition online getting more intense, we all need to do what we can to get ahead. In this post, we’re going to look at what psychology can teach us about marketing in order to give your campaign that extra edge that it needs.

Do these tricks really work? A lot of people think that this kind of stuff doesn’t have any effect on them. Of course, there’s a name for that assumption. It’s called the ‘bias blind spot’, and it’s actually part of the reason that psychological tricks like these work so well. How? Well, if we assume that we aren’t affected by psychological tricks, then we won’t do anything to counteract them. And that only serves to make them more effective.

Here are some key psychological principles to understand and utilize in your social media marketing efforts.

1. Social proofing

The first thing that you need to be aware of is ‘social proofing’, which is an incredibly important concept on social media. You probably already know about it – the core element of social proof is that people are more drawn to like what other people have already liked and expressed an interest in. If you can get a lot of people to claim to like something on social media then other people will automatically like it as well.

Unfortunately, this is largely outside of your control, though it does place more emphasis on building your following and encouraging engagement with your posts.

Likes are, to a degree, a vanity metric, but they do also serve a purpose. It’s important to understand this, especially when looking to establish your brand.

2. The mere exposure effect

You know how they say familiarity breeds contempt? Well, that’s not necessarily true – in reality, familiarity more often breeds affinity. It’s called the ‘mere exposure effect’, and it’s why the big brands constantly hit you with their ads, because through the simple process of repeated exposure, you’re more likely to form a connection with a brand’s presence, and become a customer a purchase as a result.

So how can I use this in your marketing efforts if you don’t have a big brand budget?

Exposure doesn’t have to cost the Earth, especially if you hone your messaging down to specific audiences and audience groups who are more likely to be receptive to your message.

If you’re about to approach a company and see if they’re interested in your product, target their key staff and decision makers on social media with your ads.

Looking to establish your business in a new region? Then geo-focus your ad content for a few weeks and boost that exposure level.

3. Reciprocity

When we’re given something – a gift, a compliment, a bit of attention – we instinctively feel the need to reciprocate. That’s why cars salesmen will give you a pen before they try to get you to sign a contract. And that’s why you should always reach out to your audience and make them feel included. Because if you strike up conversations with them, they’ll feel more connected with you, and provide more engagement in response.

It’s also why you should always be aiming to give things to your fans – they’ll be far more likely to advise you to their friends if you do. It doesn’t even have to be a big gift, just enough to activate their sense of reciprocity.

4. Similarity creates connection

We like people that are similar to ourselves – so make certain that your company exudes the same values and ideals as your customer base.

This is a simple matter of following who your customers are, finding out what they spend their time on and then posting information about those same concepts on your social media properties.

Do this consistently and you’ll find that your customers will feel far more connected to you, something they’ll demonstrate by liking your posts, sharing your content and commenting on what you’re doing.

5. People connect with people, not companies

This is part of how we’ve evolved – we like faces, people, and the human touch. As such, you should seek to ensure that on your website there is always a human element to your social media presence. This will not only breed more engagement, but it will also create commitment and connection.

Or even better – use faces that are similar in age, race, and sex to your customer base. This will make it far easier for them to feel a sense of connection with your company, as they’ll unconsciously assume that the company shares their values and their ideas. One great place where you can do exactly this is with the models that you use in images on your site.

Most companies just pick attractive young models – and that’s a good strategy if you’re targeting Millennials. If, however, your audience is some other group, then a far better tactic would be to choose models that are more in line with the age, occupation and dress sense of those that actually visit your site.

6. The tyranny of choice

We’ve been brought up to believe that more choices are always better, but scientific research doesn’t bear this out. If people are offered too many choices, they can find it overwhelming and are more likely to suffer what’s known as ‘buyer’s regret’. It can also stop them from buying anything at all as the choice conundrum may be easier to simply avoid. This is known as the paradox of choice.

Limit your choices to a few key ones. Even better, offer them one choice which is slightly worse than that which you want them to take. This will make that choice seem more appealing and will make it more likely that they’ll take the option you’re guiding them towards.

7. People share to look good

One of the main reasons people shares content is to have it reflect well on themselves. For this reason, it’s very important that you frequently share content that makes people look desirable, friendly, well informed, educated or in some other way amplifies their image.

Do that consistently and you’ll increase the chances of your social media message reaching a bigger audience.

4 Reasons Why Your Business is Wasting Time on Social Media

4 Reasons Why Your Business is Wasting Time on Social Media

I love social media as much as the next marketer, it can be an amazing medium for creating brand awareness, spreading content, and creating conversation. But social media marketing isn’t all sunshine and rainbows for some businesses.

I’ve seen a lot of businesses invest far too much time in social media with far too little reward. There are business owners that invest hours into their social channels, instead of the areas where they excel, and then they’ll wonder why they’re not seeing a return on their investment.

Today most businesses know that social media is a necessary marketing channel, and one that deserves attention. But what they don’t realize is this: social media marketing can’t do everything – it’s only a slice of the larger digital marketing pie.

I can show you hundreds of brands that have spurred success out of a strong social media strategy (ie. detox teas, teeth whiteners), but the truth is that social media marketing is not the be-all-end-all of marketing.

If you’re investing time in social media and not seeing a return, here are 4 reasons why your business could be wasting time on social.

1. You’re On Too Many Social Media Networks

How many social media networks is your business on?

How many hours of your working day do you have to invest on those social media networks?

If you don’t have a dedicated social media manager on your team keeping his or her finger on the pulse, then it may be time to reel it in.

Let’s say you started with a Twitter profile – you shared fun content daily, retweeted customers, and responded to comments. Everything was going swimmingly.

Then you signed up for a Facebook business Page, doubling the amount of mentions and content you needed to attend to. Still, you could handle it in a few hours a day, no problem.

Being the ambitious business person you are, you sign up for Instagram, then Pinterest, then LinkedIn, then Snapchat – jumping onto every platform can quickly make social media an all-encompassing task that you just can’t do well, no matter how hard you try..

The result is comments being missed, requests being ignored – and now you only have time to post content once a week.

The Fix

I’ll tell you right now, one well-maintained social network is better than 5 poorly maintained ones. If you’re trying to juggle 5 social networks, things are slipping through the cracks, and balls are getting dropped.

With the recently announced content algorithms on social networks like Facebook and Instagram that favor updates from family and friends, businesses no longer have the reach they once did. That means that even more time needs to be invested into posting content if you hope for any of it to hit your audience’s News Feeds.

Take a look at which social networks are generating the most sales or leads for your business then slowly eliminate the ones that are only creating more work.

On each social network you’ll be able to see how many clicks you’ve gotten per week/month.

To check which social network is sending the most traffic to your website:

  1. Head into your Google Analytics and click on the “Acquisition” > “All Traffic” > “Channels” tab on the left hand side.
  2. There you’ll be able to see which of your digital channels is sending the most traffic to your website.

4 Reasons Why Your Business is Wasting Time on Social Media | Social Media Today

3. Click on “Social” to get a list of your top performing social media channels.

4 Reasons Why Your Business is Wasting Time on Social Media | Social Media Today

The data will show you which platforms you need to be focused on, and which are just taking up time.

It’s a common mistake to think that not being on every hot social network is a missed opportunity, but you’re doing your business a disservice by poorly representing it with an unmaintained profile.

I strongly advise starting with only a Facebook business Page. If you find responding to comments and posting valuable content to be sustainable, add in the second most popular social network in your niche.

Spreading yourself too thin is a recipe for disaster.

2. You’re on the Wrong Social Media Networks

Who is your target audience and which social media networks do they hangout on?

Knowing which social network your target audience is on is a huge part in being effective on social media. Not knowing is a swing in the dark.

Some social networks are best suited to B2B, others B2C. Some do best with visual content (ie. YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest), others are better with informational content (ie. LinkedIn, Twitter).

Investing your time into a social network where your target audience isn’t is a complete waste of time.

The Fix

Do a quick social media audit and see which social networks are garnering the most engagement with your content. Take a look a which social media networks are sending the most people back to your website, where you can then convert them into a sale or lead.

If you’re a photographer, for example, your time would likely be better spent posting your photos to Instagram as opposed to tweeting on Twitter. On Instagram you can engage with other photographers and curate a collection of your best photographs.

The Vancouver Canucks diversify their content and only post content well-suited for each platform. In-depth content like a behind the scenes video with their players will be posted to Facebook, while news and quick updates are posted to Instagram and Twitter.

4 Reasons Why Your Business is Wasting Time on Social Media | Social Media Today

3. You’re Forgetting To Be Social

One crucial time waster businesses make is ignoring what social media was made for: being social.

Using social media as merely a broadcasting platform is a missed opportunity to engage with your audience, and often a big reason that finding a positive ROI might be hard.

Posing questions, creating conversation, and opening discussions are important strategies that will increase the reach of your content. The more your content is engaged with, the more it’ll be shown to your followers (especially after the algorithm changes). And the larger audience you reach, the more opportunity there is to convert them into paying customers.

Casper, the direct-to-consumer mattress company, does a fantastic job at interacting with their followers on Twitter. Aside from engaging with customer input and responding to comments with funny GIFs, they make an effort to go further with fun social experiments.

4 Reasons Why Your Business is Wasting Time on Social Media | Social Media Today

Experiments like LateNightSnapHacks.com, for example, which tricks your friends on Snapchat into thinking you’re out partying instead of laying in bed, provide a new and exciting way for users to engage with their fans and be discovered by new audiences.

The Fix

Remember to include calls to action in your content and ask for shares or comments to increase the lifespan of your content – shares and comments are positive signals which are among those that platform algorithms use to determine how far your content will go.

One powerful way to engage with your audience is to run a social promotion – it incentivizes active participation from your social media audience .

To date Wishpond has run over 31,000 social media promotions and found that they’re still the number one way to engage with your social media audience and turn your following into leads and sales for your business.

4. You’re Tracking The Wrong Social Media Metrics

For those looking to make sales or generate leads using social media there are only a few metrics that really matter: click through rate, bounce rate, and social media shares.

Why these metrics?

By monitoring these key indicators you can get an estimate of how much social media as a marketing tool is helping you achieve a positive ROI.

Metrics like, likes or views are great at making you feeling important but they don’t contribute to the bigger picture. If your goal is to make money through your efforts on social media you’ll want to focus on these metrics to get more traffic from your social channels to your owned property (your own website).

The Fix

Focus your time and attention on improving the following high-impact metrics:

  • Click Through Rate gives you a clear picture of just how much your target audience is engaging with the content you post. Clicks on your content show you how many people were sent directly to your website. The higher the click through rate, the more you know that your content is interesting enough to be clicked on.
  • Bounce rate is the percentage of people that click on your content, land on your website, and leave after viewing only one page. It tells you just how much your visitors are interested in your content and sticking around to see what else your website offers. A high bounce rate tells you that your visitors aren’t interested in what you’ve lead them to and don’t want to stick around to see more. You can improve it by focusing on clearer communication. By meeting their expectations they’ll be more willing to see what you’re offering.
  • Social media shares is a metric that directly affects the reach of your content. It tells you that your content is interesting enough for your audience to share it with their own networks. If you’d like to reach more of your audience, focus on having content valuable enough to share.

Tying It All Together

Social media can be a powerful tool if it’s focused in the most effective direction. Used in the wrong way it can be a huge waste of time for a well-meaning marketer.

There are 4 reasons why your business is wasting time on social media:

  • You’re on too many social media networks
  • You’re on the wrong social media networks
  • You’re forgetting to be social
  • You’re tracking the wrong social media metrics
Messenger Adds New, Snapchat-like Video Option to Message Threads

Messenger Adds New, Snapchat-like Video Option to Message Threads

Facebook has today announced a new video addition to Messenger called “Instant Video” which enables you to share real-time video within your message thread.

Looks kind of cool, right? Though we have seen similar functionality somewhere before.

Messenger Adds New Snapchat-like Video Option to Message Threads | Social Media Today

Yes, Snapchat has had similar functionality within their chat tool for some time, which they recently refined with their Chat 2.0 update. Messenger’s “Instant Video” is essentially the same, though slightly different in its presentation and delivery.

Of course, you’ve been able to connect via video in Messenger since April last year, but as noted by Facebook, that type of video connection is normally “reserved for special occasions like celebrating “in person” with Grandma on her birthday or seeing Dad on a business trip”.

Messenger Adds New, Snapchat-like Video Option to Message Threads | Social Media Today

Instant Video is aimed at enabling people to easily share quick moments and provide additional context to message interactions, as opposed to planned, live video chats.

“Sometimes you want to ask a friend’s opinion on a pair of shoes you want to buy, weigh in on what ice cream flavor they should bring home, or just want to see your BFF’s reaction to your witty message when you’re in a place where you can’t actually talk live.”

Given the focus on providing additional insight to a chat – as opposed to a full video experience – Instant Video plays, initially, without sound. As noted by Messenger chief David Marcus, this means that the person you’re chatting with can see and interact with your video content, even if they’re in an environment in which they can’t participate in a video chat.

Again, Snapchat has the same functionality, in that you can choose to watch and respond to video chats via text if you’re not in a position to broadcast. It’s a clever option that provides users with additional communication tools, while also giving them the ability to avoid intrusion – so if, as Marcus notes, you’re in a meeting at work and someone desperately needs your opinion on a purchase, you can still hold your phone out of view and watch their video without your phone suddenly blurting out all kinds of shopping mall chatter into a crowded conference room.

As you can see from the video above, the process is very simple – you click on the video option in the top right of screen and you’re immediately able to broadcast into the chat thread. If the recipient wants to respond, they can tap the video option within the initial video frame to share their response.

Facebook’s making big bets on messaging, with messaging use one the rise over the past few years. This is largely seen as a response to the over-openness of social networks, where everything is recorded and filed and held on your public record forevermore. While that level of openness is good for some things, it also can have negative impacts, and that’s lead to more people switching their conversations to enclosed message threads and interactions – essentially a more private use of social networks. This behavioral shift is also seen as the driving force behind the rise of Snapchat.

To provide some perspective on messaging use, SMS volume peaked in around 2010, with some 20 billion SMS messages being sent every 24 hours around the world. Facebook, through its messaging platforms (Messenger and WhatsApp), now handles more than three times that volume, every day.

Messenger Adds New, Snapchat-like Video Option to Message Threads | Social Media Today

And with that increased use comes increased business interest – Facebook’s exploring several ways to translate the popularity of their messaging apps into commercial opportunities, through tools like Bots for Messenger and the gradual move towards monetization for WhatsApp.

Given this focus, it makes sense to see The Social Network looking to integrate more and more tools and options into the Messenger experience – and straight away you can see how having Instant Video available within a message thread when interacting with a business could have significant benefits.

And while the option is another feature that Facebook has at least somewhat appropriated from Snapchat, as we’ve noted before on SMT, that imitation factor largely doesn’t matter to the regular user. If the tools provide functionality that people want, they’ll be popular, regardless of their origins.

It’s another small step in the evolution of Messenger, and another new option for users – and businesses – to consider in their interactive and outreach process.

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