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There’s a lot of talk these days regarding the value of Social Networking as a business tool. At this point, one clear truth has emerged: anything valuable requires a substantial investment of resources. In the case of Social Networking the investment is in time and creativity.
To effectively use Social Networking sites like Facebook and Linkedin requires a substantial investment of time. You need to build up your friend list or network – that takes time. The quality of your network counts, so if you don’t have many friends – and who has time for them 😉 – you’ll need to spend some time making them – online and offline. Then there’s the content you add to your online world. On the web, content is king. Unless you’re a creative writing type by nature, coming up with original content that someone (other than you) wants to read can be challenging.
Nevertheless, when you’ve got a small website and you’re trying to increase traffic, Social Networking sites can be a great strategy. But, how does it compare to other web activities – like writing and submitting online articles to sites like Buzzle.com and Ezinearticles.com?
Writing articles also takes a lot of time. But, you don’t have to worry about getting them out into the world if you submit them to website that does it for you. So, which is a better use of your time – Social Networking or writing online articles and submitting them to the various online article websites?
Fortunately, you can use marketing measurement and web analytics programs to quickly answer this question. Here’s a screen shot of web traffic coming to one of our client’s websites from Referring Sites.
In the image to the left, you can see that the number one referring website for this client’s website and for this time period, is Buzzle.com. Buzzle.com is an online article submission site. A bit below, you can see that Ezinearticles.com is also one of the top referring websites for this client.
If you are a small business trying to grow, one of your top goals should be to get NEW TARGETED visitors to your website. Set conversion goals aside for a second. How can you tell if a visitor is “targeted?” Look at metrics like Time on Site, Pages / Visit, Bounce Rate, etc. You can see in the screen shot above that both Buzzle and Ezinearticles both produced “conversions” – which is fantastic!
How does this compare to the Social Networking sites?
Let’s take a look:
This same client does get some traffic from Social Networking sites like Facebook and Linkedin, but not much and the visitors don’t seem to do much when they arrive.
So, where would this client’s time be better spent? The answer is fairly obvious at this point, don’t you think?! Now, we’re not saying that submitting online articles is always more effective than spending your time on Social Networking sites. If you’re not great at writing or you can’t think of a good topic to write about, your time might be better spent on Facebook.
The takeaway points are:
-Both Social Networking & submitting online articles can be great ways to drive organic traffic to your website – directly from the sites as well as from the increased search engine visibility that can result from the activity. But it’s up to you to decide where to invest your resources.
-You can use marketing measurement tools and web analytics tools like Google Analytics to provide you with quantifiable data – that combined with your gut intuition, will help you to make better decisions.
If you’d like help using Social Networking sites to grow your business, writing online articles or getting Google Analytics set up correctly on your website, drop us a line!
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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