If you’re trying to figure out how to spend your time effectively to get traffic to your website or blog, you might be wondering if you should be investing more time in social media. There’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, but there are some distinguishing factors between traffic from social media and traffic from organic sources (e.g. Google). This article will focus on differences between social media and organic traffic and which one to focus on you!
The chicken or the egg?
Just like the chicken and the egg, you can debate endlessly if you should focus on organic traffic or social media. It has been shown that a large number of social media shares can boost your organic traffic as social media popularity can be a ranking signal.
On the other hand, you can also imagine that a popular article on organic traffic isn’t something that people would look for social media, so in some cases, social media doesn’t make sense.
Your website niche matters!
There are many areas where an article can thrive on social media. This includes travel, news, crafts, parenting, or anything that can constitute hobbies or advice. For many blogs, social media is often the easiest way to get traffic. (For my other website, Pinterest is a major source of traffic.)
If you run a business, it might be that people simply don’t look up your topic on social media and/or blogs aren’t well-read in your field. For instance, if you run a supply part company, you might have more difficulty finding an excited general audience on social media, but you might find a niche group of fans interested in the topic somewhere on the internet (e.g. forums or Facebook).
If your goal is to get interested clients, social media might not be the right place for your business while organic traffic might be a better (and more reliable source) of clients. It’s not to say that social media is bad for business, but your ideal client might not be browsing Pinterest for your services if you sell automobile parts. However, if you sell household goods, you might find Pinterest to be a great source of traffic.
Of course, everyone would love to get 100% organic traffic, however, organic traffic can take a while to build as it can take 3-6 months to rank. In the meantime, social media is a good way to get eyes on your posts. Similarly, those additional backlinks from social media are a great way to boost your link profile in the period of waiting for your articles to rank. People also might find your content through social media and link to it naturally.
In general, organic traffic tends to be the best out of the traffic sources as it tends to be niche focused and if your articles/pages are relevant to the searcher, you can believe that your user will spend longer on the page compared to social media. That said, posts geared to social media aren’t a bad thing, but it’s good to be aware that something that you’re working on has little potential for organic traffic as the query is so competitive.
Pinterest is a popular social media for many entrepreneurs and bloggers. On Pinterest, users
Facebook can be a great source of traffic, especially when a post goes viral with people or entities sharing your link. I find that Facebook is generally a less reliable source of traffic as it does cut down on the reach and many readers click through for a specific page (similar to Pinterest). Similarly, some just skim articles or pages, which can mean that the time on page can be significantly lower compared to organic traffic. I’ve written about whether Facebook sharing groups are worthwhile here.
One of the best niche publication is Flipboard, which is similar to a magazine from various sources. Users can add your RSS feed to their magazine or “add” an interesting article to share with others interested in a specific topic. I see some traffic from Flipboard and it can be high quality compared to some other social media platforms (e.g. Twitter).
Should you focus on social media or organic traffic?
I recommend assessing your niche as well as testing some of your articles/pages to see how they do on social media. It might be that the time that you’re spending on social media does not make sense with your business model and you could be using that time to more effectively do other relevant tasks. (It’s best to create a marketing plan to help you advance your business goals!) It might be that it’s more efficient to create SEO-optimized content as social media isn’t a key place for finding your readership or customers. (Some businesses owners choose to hire social media experts in order to avoid doing these tasks while maintaining an active presence on social media.) I recommend thinking about your business model and what is right for you.