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

Twitter for the masses

I saw this retweet pointing to Jeremy Toeman’s article Will normal folks ever use Twitter?”. (By default that makes me un-normal….)

never

He makes an excellent point which matches my own experience. Most people don’t see the added benefit of using Twitter. The uses are difficult to grasp. Especially since Twitter turned off the SMS service for the rest of the world, which is the single feature that got me started on Twitter. Connecting the mobile world with the web world – at no extra cost – was a killer app in 2007. Unfortunately it didn’t last. Read this 2008 article, What Twitter’s global failure means for Africa by @whiteafrican.

In addition to not understanding Twitter uses, many people don’t like reading online. Reading deadwood media is more relaxing for the eyes, still more portable, less battery-dependent.

My suggested uses
Listed below are some of my Twitter use cases.

Search
Twitter Search is great for non-mainstream, niche topics. Many bloggers have added Twitter to their publishing toolset. Un-normal people everywhere in the world that are at the scene, on the ground have access to mobile phones and send out tweets. The data is raw, not confirmed, and unfiltered, but it gives a voice to the unheard and a different opinion from mainstream media outlets that dominate western opinion (commonly known as the gatekeepers). Google now searches Twitter and displays recent tweets:

google-search-for-twitter

The use:
In addition to all the mainstream media I hear and read, I read tweets on currents affairs as a supplement.

Traffic
Twitter generates traffic for your website, photo stream, blog, online shop. If you want to be noticed by the early adopter market segment, Twitter is the place to be. I would compare it with blogging in 2004 to 2005, when it was easy to google bomb yourself into the top 10 search results. One thing is certain, web traffic streams are constantly changing. Maybe Twitter will be discarded. The key is good content. Regurgitating or copying content that is not your own will not help you in the long run. Writing yet another review on an over-hyped topic is destined for oblivion. A good example how to build a web audience in a consistent way is Handmade 2.0.

The use:
Since generating traffic for websites is part of my day job, hanging out on Twitter helps me to figure out the changing traffic streams.

Tech help
I use Twitter to get feedback and help on technical topics. I share my knowledge and experience.

The use:
Share knowledge, learn!

Connect
Still fascinating after 14 years on the Internetz: connecting with others. Discussing. Reviewing.

For example, every Sunday evening on German TV there is a murder mystery called Tatort. It’s an institution for some. A distraction for others, ironing clothes for the work week ahead. With Twitter you can review the latest Tatort in real-time.

The use:
As in the C.S. Lewis quote: We read to know, we are not alone.