Social media sending less traffic, less clicks?

While analyzing website analytics on this blog and on other sites, I’ve noticed that, in year-on-year comparisons, website links within social media streams on Facebook and Twitter are getting less clicks. Despite more followers and more content activity.

Reasons?

I think many of us are nearing saturation point.

Sharing and liking functions are everywhere. More networks. More info. On top of all of the other to do lists and requirements and optimizations and check lists and productivity methods. The time I spend on browsing and exploring has decreased. Meanwhile, the supply of web content is infinite.

Gone are the days where I was in social media discovery mode. I haven’t downloaded Vine. Or tried Highlight. I didn’t even visit Pinterest since the re-design.

In addition, Facebook decides where to display posts, based on some secret algorithm based on some secret mixture of likes and previous behaviour. Maybe nobody sees my posts to start with cos i don’t have any fans/likes?

Another reason is that very often I no longer need to click the link to go to the site. I can read the article in my preferred app or reading environment.

A surfeit of social media?

Maybe. But IMHO there is also less interaction and engagement. The excitement of interacting online is no longer new. It’s pervasive. Ubiquitous.

And there’s the very real fear of losing privacy. And trolls. And spam. And corporations owning and reselling our data.

Free and open

Let’s not take our connected world for granted. Let’s not forget the benefits of connecting and linking with others.

Let’s acknowledge and thank our sources. Simple things like leaving a comment or adding a backlink. Creating and adapting rather than consuming.

What does it mean for communications at your day job?

First and foremost, do not assume that anybody is interested in your press releases, product announcements, emails or company fan page. We’re not. Remember, everybody has a tight schedule.

If you want to fail, assume they’re interested.

Give more than you take.

Make it easy to find and read your message. You need to be aware of best practises for good content, usability, on-page SEO, online advertising.

Be flexible. Try different distribution channels. If you think your potential audience is on Linkedin or on Pinterest, try it. Try new things. IMHO, you’ll need a mixed strategy of traditional, email-based and social media channels.

Keep playing. Keep testing. Keep iterating.

Related articles:
http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/b2b-social-traffic_b35539

http://blog.kissmetrics.com/email-crushes-social-media/

All The Marketing Statistics You Need To Know

Preparing my next social media talk

I have been invited to speak on social media somewhere in Germany. (Im Ausland!!!) Apparently this gathering of people doesn’t use new media applications yet. (Really? Truely?)

This is my abstract:

Erst gab es Blogs und Flickr, dann kam Twitter und Facebook, und jetzt gibt es G+, Pinterest, Foursquare und Klout.

Immer mehr Web-Anwendungen drängen auf den Markt und buhlen um unsere Online-Aufmerksamkeit.

Wie nutze ich Social Media für mein Unternehmen?
Lohnt sich der Aufwand für mein KMU?
Wie manage ich private und berufliche Kontakte?

I have approximately 30 mins. Which means about 12 to 15 slides. I am planning 4 main sections:

1) What is social media?

2) Using new media tools for my company

3) Using new media tools for personal reasons – develop your micro-brand

4) How to get started – Chiperoni’s recommended checklist

Okay here we go! Details:

1) What is social media?

Social media is a misnomer for online apps, that use current web and mobile technologies to publish information (text, audio, video).

[…]social media isn’t a PR tool; it’s not a marketing tool ; it’s a communications tool and a media making/distribution tool set.

Social media is fast. It requires no techie skills such as FTP, HTML, CSS. Everyone is a publisher. Within 3 minutes I can set up an account on Facebook, WordPress.com, Twitter, or Tumblr and vent my anger or frustration or delight about a product or service or person. This is referred to as user-generated content.

Screens of examples: blogs, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Klout, Foursquare

Nobody can say what social media tools will prosper and what tools will peter out a la MySpace and co. But the principle of real-time will remain.

Social media has substantially changed the way organizations, communities, and individuals communicate.

News finds me.

It’s not about stats, no. of likes, or followers.

Note to Social Media Mar­ke­ting Dorks: The hard currency of the Inter­net is not Face­book “Likes” or Twit­ter “Ret­weets”, as flavor-of-the-month as they might be. By them­sel­ves, they’re worthless.
The hard currency of the Inter­net is “Social Objects”.
i.e. Social Objects for peo­ple to SHARE MEANINGFULLY with other people

2) Using new media tools for my company

I assume that a company wants to raise awareness and influence a buyer’s decision. 😉

In the 90s we accessed the printed version of Zimpel to find out which journalist wrote about microengineering and sent out faxes. Today lots of journis are on Twitter. See Leumund’s list of Swiss journalists on Twitter

Very obviously, as a Marketing Communications specialist, I am going to adapt and move to Twitter. Especially if I am a small or medium-sized business.

Huge benefit: As an SME, I can circumvent the gatekeepers and get access to my stakeholders directamente. Press releases are no longer for the press only, but for everybody interested in your company’s products or services.

Huge benefit no. 2: SEO. More surface area for Google to find me. (Analogy: ocean of data – more islands pointing back to my company website)

Huge benefit no. 3: when a shit storm is raging against my company or an external communication crisis comes along, I already know how to use new media.
Example: SWISS during volcano crisis.

Huge benefit no. 4: costs are still lower than print, billboard or radio/TV advertising.

BUT, social media is not working for all companies. You need to find the right platform and the right strategy / tone of voice / mix of useful content vs pure advertising. Everyone needs their own tailor-fit strategy.

3) Using new media tools for personal reasons – develop your micro-brand

My personal benefits have been:

  • Networking
  • Learning
  • Reflection
  • Knowledge management
  • Positioning myself as a specialist
  • Fun

For every online comment you receive, there are about 200 visitors that didn’t say a thing about your post. Very few people comment online, but many people will read your entries and comment offline when you meet face-to-face. Or even e-mail you photos of Nutella alternatives from their last vacation to post in your collection.

4) How to get started – Chiperoni’s recommended checklist

Inspired by Su Franke, David Meerman Scott and Elise Bauer…

Before you dive in and set up your social media accounts, please consider the following checklist:

  • Do some research beforehand – which new media platform is suitable for my topic? Is my potential audience using this web application? Can I add value to the existing online conversations?
  • Look at the legalese – who owns my content? What limitations are there in the terms and conditions?
  • What information about my company or my personal life, am I prepared to make public? Would I say the same kind of things in a real-life, face-to-face meeting or in front of an audience?
  • How do I handle private contacts vs business contacts on my social application? Do I know enough about the privacy settings? What happens if I make a mistake and I set the wrong privacy for an entry?
  • How important are online contacts / networks for me?
  • Consider the effort – you will need to post at regular intervals to gain any kind of traction. Prepare a pipeline of topics / an editorial calendar. Set up Google Reader with a list of sources that write about your topic.
  • Frequency is very important
  • Be authentic
  • Be a thought leader – develop useful content. Most of us have been overexposed to advertising. I am jaded. I am cynical. I will challenge and question any kind of advertising posted on the internetz. Instead follow Elise’s ideas on thought leadership.
  • Find your social object.

See David Meerman Scott’s book on the new rules of PR and marketing. There’s an excellent free e-book to get you started.

I strongly recommend Su Franke’s talk on networking.

Especially Su’s last slide is important: once you start your social media home, don’t leave it uninhabited.

Last slide – further reading:
all of the above links and some more!

Your comments? Additions? Feedback?