Is Social Media Your Only Traffic Building Strategy?

Last Updated on March 20, 2020  

So, you want traffic to your new site. What are you doing about it?

If you’re anything like the average blogger, you pretty much default to a single strategy: social media.

The plan is to get big on Twitter, Facebook and Google+, build your audience over there, and then siphon people off over to your blog.

Also related, most bloggers do one thing after they publish a new post: They share it on social media. That’s it.

See anything wrong with this picture? I do. 🙂

The Problem With Focusing On Social Media

Social media promotion for a new website does work, but it is pretty low ROI on your time. Social media is best used as a viral magnifier. If you have an existing audience, then your audience can share across their own social channels and it can indeed bring you some traffic. However, if you don’t have a built-in audience already, it is really difficult to gain much traction on social media. That’s because it is, by nature, a magnifier. And, multiplying by 1 doesn’t change the metrics very much. 🙂

Most bloggers simply share their posts on their own social channels, then cross fingers and hope some readers will do the same. Problem is, it is usually one big exercise in multiplying by 1.

Not to mention that social media is VERY noisy. Twitter is like an information firehose. Google+ is such a huge link-dropping farm now that the effectiveness in terms of audience building is questionable. And Facebook has high engagement, but EdgeRank also means that sharing a post does not necessarily mean that everybody will see it. It is really hard to get noticed if all you’re doing is multiplying by one.

Social media is best used as a viral magnifier, but you have to magnify by something greater than one.

The best way to do that is to “seed” your content strategically. You want to form relationships with people with larger followings and see about getting them to share your stuff. You want to get in on related groups and form a real reputation in there so that people will pay attention.

This does work, but it takes time. In some cases, a lot of time. And this is why most bloggers who are relying on social media alone to build up their website just never gain any real traction.

Thinking Bigger Than Social Media

You have to have a real strategy when it comes to building your blog traffic. And that strategy needs to concentrate on higher leverage options. Social media is low leverage in and of itself, and that’s the problem with it.

Let’s go bigger.

It is based on the idea that your content can be leveraged in many more ways than what you’re probably doing. Most of us – including me much of the time – write a post and publish it. There it sits, in written form. And, that’s about it. We then share it as much as we can.

But, content can be turned into many different forms and syndicated in many different platforms. The SAME content, in different forms and in different places.

Here are some ways to do that:

  1. Videos. Do a short video where you’re talking about the topic of your blog post, then refer people to your blog post for more information. Post that video to Youtube, of course. But, also consider using something like HeySpread or OneLoad to multi-post that same video to other video sharing sites. You might even want to set up a video podcast so you can get that video syndicated into iTunes.
  2. Podcasting. Podcasting has more distribution power than many give it credit for. I fully intend to get regular about my podcasting (I’ve sorta dropped the ball on this in recent months). But, it works. And, in terms of content leverage, you can do audio posts. Simply speak out your blog post, attach the recording to the post using PowerPress, and syndicate as a podcast to iTunes.
  3. Make slides. Put the basics of your blog post into slide form, branded for your site. Then, post the slideshow to SlideShare.
  4. Make a document. Use a service like ZinePal to auto-create a PDF of your blog posts, then share to Scribd.
  5. Syndicated snippets. You can set up outlier blogs on Tumblr, Blogger.com, WordPress.com, etc. And you can post snippets from your blog post, preferably re-written/spun a bit, on these blogs with links back to your main blog. Same thing for videos. If you post a Youtube video, embed the video on these outlier blogs.
  6. Paid traffic. Yes, I said it. Do not avoid paying for traffic. It works. I wouldn’t recommend jumping head first into Adwords or something like that. However, explore using promoted posts on Facebook, regular Facebook ads, Twitter ads, or even solo ads on other people’s sites. For solo ads, never direct them to a blog post. Send through a squeeze page and build that list. Ten Minute Pages makes child’s play of creating squeeze pages with high conversions.
  7. Webinars. You can repurpose much of the same content from your blog into a webinar format. And, as you build more relationships and connections, your ability to put people onto the live webinar – and use it to build your list even more – will increase. But, even if you’re just starting out and have little to no list, you can still do a webinar. It doesn’t matter if anybody is there watching you do it. Record it and use it for leverage later. You can have people subscribe to your list to watch the webinar, for example.

This is just a bird’s eye view. Once you delve into this in detail, there are just a TON of ways to repurpose, syndicate and leverage your content.

But, the point is… you HAVE to think bigger than merely tweeting and sharing your way to an audience. The chances of that working are actually rather small.

I don’t like to see any of my students fooling themselves into thinking they’re doing something to build their business when they spend so much time tweeting and sharing. It doesn’t work all that well. Social media marketing is more effective once you have some leverage. But, starting from scratch doing that is very difficult and insanely time consuming.

On a related note, the new training system I’m creating inside the Academy is based on a roadmap. And, that roadmap will be talking a lot about content syndication and creating high leverage out of your stuff. Nobody wants to spend every waking hour doing this stuff. 🙂 I intend to get into details and nitty-gritty about how you can do all this stuff, as much of it automated as possible. If that’s something you know will benefit the growth of your online business, then I invite you to join the Academy.

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  • Helen Lindop (@HelenLindop) says:

    Great post, thanks for listing all those alternatives to social media. Can you tell me if there’s any kind of penalty for posting the same PDF to Slideshare, Scribd, DocStoc (possibly even Smashwords) and other places that you can publish docs? Or should they all be slightly different?

  • Adrienne Dupree says:

    Thanks for the information. It was very helpful and made me think about some additional things I need to do. I am starting to use Slideshare and Scribd, but I need to use it more often. I am not using Tumblr so this is something I will definitely look into.

  • Gerri @ Ninetynineways says:

    I must say that lately I have been guilty of relying too much on social media for traffic and your sentiments and the list of alternatives have got me thinking about how I should probably change my current strategy (which by the way isn’t really garnering fantastic results)

  • Absolutely brilliant post, David. And since I have listened to your very valuable and informative podcasts and interviews, I can hear your practical voice talking right at me from this post. Great repurposing tips- the best, really.

    • David Risley says:

      Thanks, Laura. 🙂 I really need to get my podcast going again.

  • I’m glad you said it! Social media is too noisy. Thank you for listing all these options.

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