What if your website got a big bump in free traffic every time you post an article?
Free Social Traffic, Like clockwork. Social media winners leave nothing to chance, setting up a social seeding plan to ensure their content gets a fair shot at greatness…
“If you build it, they will come” doesn’t apply to online content. You can write rock star content – but if the only person who reads it is your intern, you’re not selling anything. Sure, Google might index it for organic search – in a couple of months….
But you can use a social seeding plan to make sure new content is noticed by the right people – NOW.…
What Is Social Seeding?
Social seeding is a digital marketing tactic where you set up a systematic plan to get your content shared on social media. The goal is to generate attention and sharing among the target audience, generating a wave of free traffic back to your website and engagement with your brand. All it takes is some scheduling and relationship building.
Social seeding is particularly powerful because there is the opportunity for the people sharing the content to create what psychologists call “social proof” in the minds of the recipients. Humans are naturally inclined to trust news and offers that are recommended by people they know.
For example, imagine getting a telephone call from a telemarketer selling business software. You’re probably not going to listen to them, are you? I wouldn’t. Who knows what you’re really buying? But if that same message came as an article shared by my best salesperson, telling me that it sounded really useful…. I’d probably check it out.
We’re going to plant the metaphorical seed for that interaction by sharing the right piece of content in the right place. You do this by posting a link on social media with an appealing headline and intriguing image. Assuming the conditions are right, the seed will grow and blossom into a healthy plant. Ideally one which generate sales and links. Without the help of the seed, your content won’t reach many users.
Benefits of Social Seeding
So why use social seeding?
Do you like nearly free traffic? I certainly do. There is a small cost to social seeding: you need to set up your content sharing plan and identify where you want to drop the links. However, anything after that is totally free. People see your content and visit? Free. Other people see your content get shared and visit? That’s free too. Goes viral? Free.
It takes time to build up organic search traffic. It takes money to buy pay-per-click ads. Social seeding gives you a way to drive free organic social media traffic quickly.
If you want to give things a little extra push, you can ask an influencer, a social media account with a large following, about sharing your link as a paid promotion. In return for a small payment, they’ll share you link and say a kind word or two about your brand. This is a tactic that many top brands have used to get new products noticed quickly.
Because of its positive impact on engagement signals like average page views and time on page, social seeding may boost your website’s search rankings. As more social media users visit your website and access its content, search engines will take notice.
Target the Right Social Media Networks
There is one iron law in real estate: Location, Location, Location.
The same applied to social media. For social seeding to be effective, you need to carefully target the social networks and sub-groups you use to promote your content. Think carefully about your audience and make sure it lines up with potential buyers.
Some of these choices are going to be obvious:
- If your target audience is primarily women, look at Pinterest. According to a Business Insider Intelligence report, over four in five Pinterest users are female.
- If your website’s audience consists of middle-aged professionals, on the other hand, you may want to target LinkedIn.
- Young adults have their own networks, which are rapidly evolving.
Of course, you can still perform social seeding on Facebook and Twitter as well, which are used by most audience demographics. If you want to pursue Facebook traffic, you can also target very specific user groups. Dropping a well crafted post in the right user group is the holy grail of social seeding, since almost everyone is in your target market. This is even more powerful if you’ve got a good reputation and happy past customers decide to drop a good word in the comments. Even more social proof for your ideas.
Give Them Something To Talk About
One Simple Rule: If your content sucks, don’t bother posting it.
Seriously. Social traffic has the attention span of a hyper-caffeinated Jack Russell terrier. Most of the time they skim the headlines instead of reading the article. Lead the article with a hook: you ideas need to be sharp, relevant, and intriguing. Save press releases and filler content for another channel.
Research tells us most people share articles based on the headlines. So make sure that headline is super engaging. And encourages relevant members of the audience to read deeper into the piece.
Don’t post click-bait. But do think about the angle you’re leading with. This is a common technique used in affiliate marketing to get the audience engaged with the piece.
The FlyWheel Effect – Build a Following
Don’t get me wrong. You’re going to have to do some work to get this started.
But there’s a bigger opportunity here. Work on convincing your users to follow your brand’s social media pages and profiles. This helps you regularly get fresh content in front of them. For free.
A famous SEO blogger described his link building technique as “I hit publish and send out the link on Twitter”. Their followers did the rest of the work, sharing the article and building links back to the original website.
You can use a few other things to help build a social media following:
- Add hashtags to posts.
- Comment on other relevant social media profiles and pages.
- Include “follow us” buttons on your website and in emails.
- Diversify your social media posts by publishing other types of content besides links to your website.
- Share viral content from other social media users that’s relevant to your audience.
- Customize your social media profiles and pages with branded graphics.
- Respond to comments left by other users on your posts.
Start Sharing Links Your Website’s Content
After attracting some followers on social media, you can start sharing links to your website’s content. On most social media networks, you can share links simply by copying and pasting the web page’s URL. When you paste a URL into the Facebook post box, for instance, it will automatically pull the title and an image from the linked page. Users can then click either the link or image to visit your website.
Twitter works in a similar manner, though it doesn’t pull a title or image from the linked web page. You can copy and paste web page URLs into the Twitter post box, and once published, users can click the URLs to visit your website.
Keep in mind that you should only share links to your website’s content and not the actual content itself. If you publish an entire article on Facebook that’s already published on your website, there’s no incentive for users to visit your site. You can include an excerpt of the content in a social media post, but you shouldn’t share the entire content.
Create a Link-Posting Schedule
Social seeding isn’t something that you can set and forget. To generate any meaningful amount of traffic from this digital marketing tactic, you must regularly publish new links to new content. Failure to proactively post new links will likely result in fewer followers. When users discover your stagnant social media profile or page, they’ll stop following your brand.
To attract and retain more followers on social media, create a link-posting schedule. Social media marketing solutions like HootSuite or Buffer allow you to create and schedule posts for your social media accounts in advance. Alternatively, you can publish new links on social media manually. Just remember to keep your social media profiles and pages active by sharing new links on a regular basis.
Social seeding can guide your website on the path for success by increasing its traffic and, potentially, its search rankings. Each link you share on social media creates a new opportunity for users to find and visit your website. By regularly sharing links on the right social media networks, more users will find and visit your website.