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If you caught the last couple of videos on our YouTube channel, you probably heard me talking about how we’re going down the path of growing social media followings on a few of our biggest sites. Before you drop everything and move your focus to social media, let’s look at the other side of the coin.
Using social media as a traffic source is a tough nut to crack. I know people who get the vast majority of traffic from these social channels, but this is far from the norm.
In our case, we get almost all of our traffic from organic search, mostly through Google Search. To me, this is the best traffic source because it’s both free and consistent (for the most part).
With that being said, we’ve tried our hand with all of the big social media platforms at one point or another, including Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and even TikTok. While we did find some success for a while on Pinterest with our oldest two sites, I think it’s safe to say the others were all failures.
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The problem with getting traffic from social media is that a lot of it is based on virality. If you have a pin on Pinterest take off, you can get a huge spike in traffic overnight. But how long will that spike last?
Not only that, but how can you repeat that spike over and over (without using paid ads), so you at least see some consistency in the traffic coming to your site? I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t like the idea of depending on posts going viral to see traffic and revenue.
Because of the lack of consistency with traffic from social media, and the significant algorithm changes that have happened with the best ones for traffic (Facebook and Pinterest), we shifted our strategy away from even attempting to gain traffic from these sources a couple of years ago.
Instead, our approach has been to double down on what works and put all of that potentially wasted time and energy towards improving our organic search traffic instead. Early on with a site, it’s better to focus on what moves the needle the most.
While this does mean that we’re less diversified in our traffic sources, it also means that we’ve been growing our overall traffic at a much higher rate than we would have if we had split our time between organic search and social media. For us, this has been a good tradeoff.
That’s not to say there aren’t potential benefits of growing out social profiles. In fact, if your goal is to create a large authority site (as in a brand), having a large social media presence is sure to help.
That’s actually been the goal with each of our sites since day 1, but before going down that path, our focus has been on growing our traffic and revenue through organic search.
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What we’ve found is that you can absolutely find great success without using social media platforms at all. However, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be part of your long-term strategy.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to finding the right balance of your time and resources and deciding when to tip that balance to one side. You have to determine what’s to gain or lose by shifting your energy from one area to another.
If you can easily produce a healthy amount of content for your blog each week and have time to spare, posting on one or two social channels could prove to be a worthwhile investment of your time. If you’re struggling to publish one post a week, you’re much better off focusing all of your time on creating content instead.
As always, stay flexible. Especially now, as things are changing fast. Keep your eyes peeled for new opportunities, and don’t be afraid to test things. Just make sure to put the majority of your efforts where you’ve found the most success.