The Best Social Media Exposure?

Advertising online to bring attention to your small business is tricky. Maintaining an active presence on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ has been one inexpensive way to attract eyeballs, but that game is changing…

Getting Noticed on Social Media

Facebook has dismayed many small businesses lately with changes to its algorithms that severely limit the “social reach” of business Pages’ posts. Now, when you post a status update on a Facebook Page, it is likely that less than 16 percent of your fans are going to see it in their news feeds.
Facebook is throttling this free marketing channel to force businesses (and even non-profits) to buy ads if they want to communicate with their patrons and prospects. The social media king makes no bones about its intentions: the free reach will continue to shrink over time. This squeeze has many disgruntled Page owners looking for alternative social media marketing channels.
The alternatives are out there: Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Reddit, YouTube (a Google property), and even LinkedIn. Which of them provides the reach that Facebook does, and the all-important referral traffic that magnifies the exposure to eyeballs achieved by sharing content?
Social Media Advertising
The answer, unfortunately, is “none.” By a huge margin, Facebook is the social media referral king, as these stats from Shareaholic.com grimly demonstrate. During the first quarter of 2014, Facebook increased its share of social media referrals to 21.25 percent of visits to Web sites in Shareaholic’s network of over 300,000 measured sites, a gain of more than five percentage points. Shareaholic says its network gets 400 million unique monthly visitors on “sites ranging from independent lifestyle blogs to publishing companies to commerce sites.”
Pinterest, too, showed a sharply accelerated gain in referral traffic, jumping 2.31 percentage points to 7.10 percent overall. Every other player might as well have stayed in the locker room.
Twitter was the only other source of referrals to break 1 percent of traffic, with 1.14 percent in March, 2014. The rest of the also-rans – also-limped, really – were Stumble Upon (.99%), Reddit (.21%), YouTube (.09%), Google+ (.08%) and LinkedIn (.04%).
YouTube and LinkedIn lost effectiveness during Q1; their shares of total referral traffic declined 52.38 percent and 20.77 percent, respectively.
StumbleUpon’s share of referrals grew an encouraging 14.91 percent. Twitter and Reddit posted negligible gains. Google+ “surged” over 53 percent, which looks impressive until you note that it started the quarter with one-half of one-tenth of one hundredth of all referral traffic (0.05 percent). You can read Shareaholic’s latest quarterly report here.
Google+ just celebrated its third anniversary. The world still looks askance at it, wondering what it has been doing; what, exactly, it’s supposed to be; and when Google is going to pull the plug on what seems to be a social media network on life support. It’s not a “ghost town,” as the New York Times recently called it. It’s not a significant source of referral traffic for Web sites either, obviously.
For Google, it’s a single user account that unifies user activity across all Google properties, thereby enabling a more detailed profile of the user and more effectively targeted advertising. Google wants everyone to have a Google+ account, and is gradually making it a requirement for full use of its other services.
For the tens of millions of active Google+ users, it’s an “un-Facebook,” as Cyberkrinn from the District of Columbia wrote in comments on NYTimes.com. That’s not to say there are no cat pictures, but Google+ does not put people in time-out for asking strangers to be their friends, as Facebook is wont to do.
The big thing that Google+ is not, is a marketing channel for business Web sites. It’s not intended to be one, and it’s business model does not depend on it being one. So Google+ will never be an alternative to Facebook for referral traffic.
So the bottom line for now is that Facebook is the place to go for social media exposure and advertising, and it’s all about being the biggest. But making the most of your ad dollars can be tricky. 5 Minute Marketing is one company that can help you design an effective Facebook marketing campaign.
Are you advertising your small business on social media? Tell me about your experience…


More Posts about Social Media:

  • Social Marketing With Live Video Streams

  • 400 Free Tools For Business Building

  • Social Marketing With Twitter Website Cards

  • Tools for Social Media Marketing

  • The Best Social Media Exposure?

Comments

  1. I’d just like to add a note about Twitter, which shows poorly in the statistics but remains a very useful tool for no-budget organizations (as well as offering “promoted tweets” for advertisers).
    People don’t make friends on Twitter by tweeting “buy my stuff” but it’s a wonderful tool for developing an audience of people who might buy or recommend what you offer. The key is to post things that interest the people you are trying to reach, using the hashtags they care about, to follow and interact with people in an honest way so as to accumulate your own followers over time. Then, when you post something new on your blog or website, announcing it in a tweet will bring those followers where they can learn more about your products and/or services.
    In other words, it’s a targeted marketing process rather than a means of sending a sales pitch to the world at large. It worked well for authors, online publications, software, non-profit causes, etc. even before the recent change to accommodate large pictures. I suspect the change has meant better results for those offering physical products, and better odds for others who can post an engaging picture or infographic that their messages will “go viral” within the community they are trying to reach.

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