social media boxes are bad, mmmkay

Yes.

Post over!

Well, not really – I’m sorry. The question is ‘how aggressively should you promote your social media profiles?

The truth is a lot of people overdo it. They pop those follow boxes in their sidebar, and at the bottom of their posts and even in pop ups!  “Like our page to view our content”.

Ugh.

Even worse, they promote the hell out of their social media and don’t even have an email list!

This may be fine for an SEO driven Adsense niche site or something small and supposedly automated, but if this is your main blog you should definitely be trying to grow an email list  ( here’s why and here’s where to get started for free ).

But let’s start with one question…

…what’s the goal?

“OK, ok…  I want to grow my social media following.”

Why?

“Uh, to market to more people and drive more return traffic to my website”

Again…. why?

“…to reach more people or make more sales.”

Bingo. You want to build your network so you can reach more people, generate more traffic and therefore make more money.

Well, promoting social media on your website isn’t exactly a highly effective way to do that in comparison to an email list.  But there’s more to it than that.

What happens on your website…

People arrive and look for the information they are after.

If they don’t find it, you can assume they’ll just turn around and leave but if you’re lucky they’ll poke around see what you’ve got to offer until they do find it… or eventually leave (sigh).

If they do find what they’re after, then after reading or absorbing the info they’ll be looking for something to do next, your obvious ‘call to action’ should sing out to them – so you promote your call to action and maybe link to some other relevant articles to keep them onsite until they do act.

What’s your call to action?

A. Make a sale
B. Subscribe to an email list
C. ‘follow’ on social media?

If you picked ‘C’, then I wrote this post just for you! You’ve got the right idea.

You want people to connect in a way that allows you to market and re-market to them, get them back onto  your website and turn that first new visit into a series of return visits. Pat yourself on the back!

Here’s the problem…

When it comes to repeat traffic social media kinda sucks, big time.

It’s a terrific tool for new traffic and a little bit of repeat traffic, but the numbers don’t add up so well when you do the research. I used to promote the hell out of my social media profiles, and had the same crappy results and these days I understand why.

So I don’t use a heap of social media widgets and boxes to try and gain a ‘follow’ or ‘like’.

First of all, they slow down your website!

Second, when people arrive on your website, what happens if they’r not logged into Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, whatever?  People aren’t going to open a tab and log in just to follow your social media profile.

An email address is much easier to leave, but social media is harder to line up, especially if the person is on someone else’s computer or phone, there’s so many reasons why it’s bound to be ignored.

Note: Share icons are different thing – they’re golden :)

If they do successfully ‘Like’, Follow’ or ‘Add to Circles’ (or whatever) – hurray!  You’ve got a fan. Next time you publish your post it’ll be sent out to your fans and that includes that particular visitor…

…and maybe they’ll see it. Maybe.

The problem is that your social media reach is thin at best.  

I have several Facebook profiles, I run a Martial Arts movie website that has over 5000 fans, highly engaged who always join in and have something to say.  Here’s a screenshot of my last link shared:

The Master

At the time of the post, I had 5,654 fans to my page, and over a few days it reached 11.9% of them. What about the other 4,977 fans?  Nope, sorry. That’s Facebook’s Page system, it’s impossible to reach everyone with the amount of stuff going on through people’s Facebook feeds.

This isn’t the case with every single page out there, but the majority of them!

But what about Twitter? Well if these people happen to be online when you tweet they should see it, but if there’s 500 – 1000 other people in your followers’ feeds then your tweet is going to get pushed down quickly, there’s about a 20 minute window on average.

Google Plus, you have a profile, when did you last log in?  Exactly.

This is why I opt for Email over Social Media because it competes with less, it is in your subscribers inbox (or Promo tab, maybe spam if you’re sending spammy content) – but it drives more traffic per subscriber than any social media follower – AND it has been shown to drive more sales than social media.

Social Media is the perfect platform to engage people within and send to your website.  Why get visitors on to your website just to encourage them to leave?  That’s where you want them to be! So don’t send them to social media pages.

So think about all of that…

To sum things up, social media boxes slow down your website offer a poor success rate of return visitors and you’re sending people away from your website to another!

It’s a pretty ordinary strategy to hit every single visitor with.  But you will have those who want specifically to follow you on Social Media, so now what?

The solution

You’re sick of hearing this, but add email subscription boxes aggressively – that’s the last time I’ll mention email.

What you really want to do is to list a series of social media icons somewhere on the page, out of the way but relatively easy to find.  You could try having them in your footer, or a thin line somewhere on your side bar or header.

I personally keep them in my footer and my following grows pretty steadily. I use a free plugin called Simple Social Icons because it doesn’t kill my page speed, it just throws up some icons with links to my profile/s. You could even just list them using plain text links or images – just pop your profile url in as a link – people can now find you on social media from your website!

The best part about this less aggressive approach is that other options on your page will be stronger and people will be more inclined to look elsewhere – only finding your social media icons if they decide to look for them.

So you get the best of both worlds!

What do you think?

Got any reason why you may think I’m wrong?  There are always exceptions so don’t treat this as gospel, but from my experience it’s the case 99% of the time.

If you have anything to add, please let me know in the comments below! I love discussion and welcome your opinion!

Otherwise, if you found this interesting please subscribe below and share this article.  Thanks again for reading!

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