5 Tips for Creating and Maintaining Traffic on Social-Networking Sites
So you have your Facebook page and your YouTube channel, and you’re even on Twitter. Now what? How do you get more people to visit your pages and, more importantly, how do you get those who have visited to keep coming back?
Keeping your pages fresh with photos, videos, articles and links is a key factor in creating and sustaining online traffic. However, this can be challenging for a number of reasons. Here are five helpful tips for creating and maintaining traffic to your social-networking sites.
You probably have a ton of material that would be great to post on social-networking sites. If available, a one good resource is your organization's e- newsletter. Many times there are brief snippets or intros to articles that work well in SM because they’re short and usually include a photo of some kind.
Another option is scanning brochures or direct-mail appeals as PDFs and making them available for downloading on your SM sites. This works really well with educational materials. Even your annual report is a viable piece of content to keep the flow of information moving. Make it available to download, tweet the link and have it direct back to your official Web site for download. Many marketing efforts can be repurposed, tweaked and abridged to allow for repurposing on social networks.
2. Conversation and contribution
Everyone gets writer's block. When this happens, it sometimes helps to find outside stimuli. Odds are you aren’t the only organization of your kind. Visiting Web sites and blogs of other organizations that do similar work might help spark an idea for an original blog post of your own. Commenting on other sites also comes in handy.
When I’m suffering from writer's block it helps to just read other authors’ or organizations’ blogs and comment on their entries. Reading someone else’s work gets the mind moving and starts a dialogue. Some of my favorite writings have been spawned from comment threads in blogs where alternative viewpoints create an atmosphere for breeding new ideas.
3. Create video
Video is such a great tool to have when developing social-media sites. The kind of video that works bst in social media (luckily) is the “homemade,” original, get-to-the-point kind. Creating this kind of video doesn’t take a lot of work, and it can be easily put together using basic programs like Windows Movie Maker. By linking together photos, and adding a soundtrack and voice-over, you can create a video short perfect for YouTube with little to no video editing experience.
Video like this is good way to tell a story of a special project or campaign in a brief but powerful way. Keep an open mind. Many very simple things your organization does have potential to make effective online videos.
For example, let’s say your organization is doing a big clothing drive for the homeless. Take a video camera (or a digital camera that doubles as a video camera) with you and record as you load up the truck with all the coats, shoes and sweaters collected to take to a homeless shelter. Have a member of the organization talk about the difference these clothes make during the winter as you load up the truck. This has all the earmarks of a great YouTube video. By showing the clothing being loaded into a truck or homeless shelter you show viewers the need and tell them how they can help.
Finally, and most importantly, having a narrator explain why this clothing drive is so important gives the bullet-point explanation that tells the story in under five minutes. Don’t forget to always end the video with how the viewer can help and a link to your Web site.
Your organization's Web site and social-media sites are different, so it would make sense that the content used on them also differs. A video made on Windows Media Player might work on YouTube, but not on your organization's official Web site. It’s important to share across the organization what videos you’re using, but what is good for one is not necessarily good for all in terms of online placement. This also goes for linking to other sites.
Social media is a great place to find and pass along relevant information. You don’t always have to own the material to post it, but you should always credit where you found it. Posting a link to someone else’s original content (as opposed to posting the work in its entirety) is the way to go to avoid copyright infringements. If Newsweek does a great article on global warming and you work for an environmental agency, tweeting a link to the article gives you an additional resource to keep your visitors interested.
Social networks are ever-changing. In order to keep up with the never-ending flow of information, set up a process internally to allow for quick approval and delivery of information to be available for use. Making sure there is a clear and defined process for the receipt and approval of posting new videos, photos and stories will help expedite the process of updating all networking sites.
There are also great tools such as Netvibes that allow you to embed your Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Flickr accounts, as well as favorite news sources, all on one dashboard. This way you can update across all your social sites quickly without having to individually visit each site.
Christina Johns is senior manager of direct-response television, telemarketing and social media at the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.