5 Steps to Optimizing Social Media Referral Traffic

Online Marketing

Did you know that social media is now the leading source all of referral traffic to websites?

Social referral traffic from the major platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest) is showing an overall upward progression and accounts for 31.4% of all website traffic.

This should not come as a surprise—social media is pervasive and users are increasingly relying on social conversations, social relationships and social networks to make decisions such as where to shop, where to eat, what brand to go with, where to hang out etc.

While consumers do perform the habitual Google search to find out about a brand, product or service, what they see on social media ultimately determines whether they will go ahead and engage with a brand.

Statistics also show that social media traffic provides the highest level of conversions and repeat customers.

So, how do you augment social referral traffic to your website and how do you make the most of this traffic when it does come to your site?

Track your social initiatives

To make the most of social network traffic, you need to know where this traffic is coming from in the first place and how these users are interacting with your site.

Google’s Social Analytics report will provide you with very useful insights into:

  • The number of referrals coming to your site and how they are engaging with the site
  • Conversions generated by social traffic
  • How social users are engaging with different pages
  • How social users are using social share buttons to spread your content
  • Visitor flow to show the path that social users followed to reach your site

The information you obtain from these reports will help you to re-strategize your social media initiatives, improve your landing page experience or enhance certain aspects of your website to provide optimum user experience.

Leverage the power of visual content

One of the most effective ways of improving click through rates on social media is through the use of visual content.

Unsurprisingly, Facebook brand pages with photos generate 87% more interactions and tweets with photos receive 89% more favorites,18% more clicks and are retweeted 150% more times.

High quality images and videos are certainly more visible and alluring and they will get more people clicking through to your website or landing page.

The trick to getting the most from visual content is continuous A/B testing to see which images or videos are receiving the most traction.

More importantly, you need to be clear about what you want your social traffic to do when they click through the visual content to your site—do you want them to sign up, purchase or download something? Make the experience from social to landing page as seamless and as valuable as possible.

Include social share buttons in your content

Adding social share buttons allows your content to be shared in a continuous loop. For example, when you share a sneak peek of your content on Facebook and users click through to your site, they will read the post and use the available social share plugins to share the blog post with their friends either on Facebook or across other platforms and the cycle goes on.

Social Plugin activity is one of the metrics you can measure on Google Social Analytics.

Tracking this metric will show you the type of content that is mostly shared so you can create more of it. You will also have an idea about the platforms where your content is popularly shared.

Encourage your customers to provide social proof

Social proof is the currency of social media interactions.

As mentioned earlier, social users heavily depend on the conversations, comments, shares and recommendations shared by those in their network. Think about it: aren’t you more likely to check out a product that your friend or family recommends or talks favourably about?

Social proof in the form of satisfied customer recommendations, shares, likes, repins, retweetse etc. are incredibly helpful in driving high converting to your website.

Incentivizing your fans is a great way of encouraging them to share, comment and refer a friend. For example, you could give a free shopping voucher worth $100 for every two friends your fans refer to your e-commerce site.

Use social advertising to garner more traffic

A Salesforce survey indicated that 70% of marketers plan to increase social ad spend in 2015.

Overall engagement with social ads has continued to grow on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

Optimized social ads can be instrumental in driving qualified traffic to your landing pages. A few things to keep in mind when optimizing your ads are:

  • Create highly segmented ads to target a very specific audience
  • Use images to boost the ads’ visual appeal
  • Utilize appropriate and clear calls to action to boost click through rates
  • Set up remarketing campaigns

Social Media Traffic

Social has become an essential part of the marketing mix. Bear in mind that social media users habitually convert from browsers to buyers compared to other types of users. As such, it is imperative that you focus on building relationships with this user-base and create worthwhile experiences for them.


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