Over the last 12 years I’ve been a consultant, I’ve conducted a lot of social media audits. And one trend I continue to see in many of those audits is brands attempting to drive organic traffic to their web sites or blogs from social media. In some cases, it works–specifically with Facebook and LinkedIn.
But, in most scenarios I would say including those links in your social media posts might not be the best idea. How am I arriving at that conclusion? Two words: Google Analytics.
A simple visit to your Google Analytics “Acquisition” tab will show you exactly how much traffic those social sites are driving to your site/blog. In most audits I’ve done, “social” is well behind organic search (usually #1), direct, referral, and even email in some cases.
Social media–at least, organic social media–isn’t usually a great traffic driver. For lots of reasons. People want to stay on platform. People are browsing so quickly (and many times, just looking at the pics and scanning the copy). And yeah, it might be that your content just isn’t that compelling.
The good news is once you’ve established, through data, that social isn’t driving all that much traffic to your site, you do have other options:
#1 – Use the blog content right in your LinkedIn post
In many cases you can still use that blog post content right in the text of the social media post–just don’t include the link! In fact, one blog post could result in 2-3 different LinkedIn posts. Take out the most compelling pieces of that blog post and turn them into LinkedIn posts. This way, your audience gets the juiciest nuggets from the post–and you still get the eyeballs and hopefully, engagement.
#2 – Shift your focus from driving traffic to community building.
Driving traffic isn’t working. So, instead of continuing to do something you know for a fact is not working (isn’t that the definition of insanity), why not use LinkedIn as a community building tool instead? Ask more questions of your audience (polls, anyone?). Talk more about topical issues. Be. more present in the comment streams. All with the focus around customer retention and loyalty and reputation.
#3 – Focus more on engagement and awareness
Sure social media can help you drive traffic and leads in spots. But, if you’re not driving traffic from those social media posts, maybe you start to use social for what it’s best at–reach and engagement. Think top-of-funnel–not bottom-of-funnel. Your content strategy then becomes all about useful content. Content that solves a problem for your customers. Content they can’t get anywhere else.
Just a few ideas. Bottom line (generally speaking): Ditch the links. Focus on on-platform metrics and shift your content approach.
The post To link or not to link: Should you include links in your social media posts? first appeared on Arik Hanson.