Social media traffic is decidedly different from search traffic, newsletter traffic, or general link traffic. Knowing how to capitalize on this potentially huge traffic influx is critical for social media players. This session will look at ways that social media outlets can be monetized.
- Rand Fishkin
Michael Gray, President, Atlas Web Service.
Alexander Barbara, CEO, ReidBrown Enterprises, Inc.
Laura Fitton, Principal, Pistachio Consulting.
Rand who is moderating this time, says it is important to monetize our social media endeavours sometimes.
First up is Vanessa Fox, Features Editor, Search Engine Land, Entrepreneur in Residence, Ignition Partners. Vanessa says page Views have no worth unless you maintain and operate a CPM ad model. Many a times, people focus so much on page views singularly that we lose sight of the other significant stuff. Vanessa pulls out the page views for her sites. Apparently on the 6th of September, her page views went over the room. This apparently was the day, the Vanessa Hudgens scandal broke out. Apparently viewers wanted to see nude images of Hudgens, not Fox. Heh heh.
Hook 'em and keep 'em, says Vanessa. She stresses on the significance of maintaining traffic by making viral material while also having other content to keep people interested. The content you have should be of prime interest to the people who visit your site. They should want to stay.
Vanessa on converting visitors into customers:
- Foremost, your viral marketing must be relevant for your site.
- Make it easy for your visitors to see what your site has on offer.
- Provide multiple links to other pages on your site.
- Think about your goals are and funnel your site's users into a conversion path.
Lastly, Fox says that Search Traffic has more value in comparison to Social Media Traffic as Search Traffic is equivalent to determined views while Social Media traffic equals to web browsers who have no exclusive target interest.
Next up is Graywolf aka Michael Gray, President, Atlas Web Service. Michael opened by saying social media fshould be used for sales and conversions. This is an advanced tactic Apparently, sales should only be part of your vision and not the enitire project.
What types of products work?
- Products (physical and virtual). These fare better than services.
- Consumer goods. Almost always better than B2B)
- Impulse purchases
- Low or "door buster" prices. People are always sensitive to prices.
- Technology related items generally do better.
- Thisnext.com: The site has products for which they have a specific gift guide.
- Techiediva.com: Shows what people purchase during holidays. For eg: They targeted Cybowe Monday.
- Style Dash.com: Shows how to dress like celebs for less. Also featured are pages of affiliated links.
- The offer you have must be clear, especially restrictions or quantities.
- Always anticipate demand and have the right amount of stock.
- The worst thing you could do is failure to deliver products.
- Monitor and keep a check on what people are saying about you. If needed, do some damgae control.
- Incorporate video and podcasts. Experiment but know the space you are getting into before you jump the gun.
Apparently, SMM is the most effective way to generate sales for products & gadgets, and not really for services. If used well, Digg can also bring in sales.
Manage expectations for long terms of success:
- Make up your mind on whether a hybrid or dedicated delivery channel is best. Finalise on what is right for your audience.
- Give people the option of receiving content which ever way they want: email, RSS, SMS, whatever.
- Use trends and current events in terms of offerings.
Alternative Content: Video
- Will it blend? iPhone
- eBook – some guy used a video of a sexy woman and sold many books
- Diet.com – When people see others lose weight, they'd be more compelled to buy.
Alternative content: podcasts
- Drop links in your podcasts.
- Ricky's Picks (Disney podcast)
Alternative content: Twitter
Third speaker of the day is Alexander Barbara, CEO, ReidBrown Enterprises, Inc, with a case study.
Alexander put up a site on Digg about a health and wellness post which was aimed towards women. Alexander and the writer worked on list-type articles and gave their best. The article was submitted in Digg twice.
Wednesday afternoon (3PM): The post received 38 Diggs. Within 5 days, the post received over 28,000 visits.
Monday morning (11AM): The same post received 57 Diggs and reached the home page. Within 5 days, the post received over 19,000 visits.
Point being, whether your site can handle the incoming traffic or not. When you are on the Digg homepage, it is common to receive 60-100 hits per second. If yours is a shared host, webmasters will shut down your site thinking it's an attack- DDOS attack. If you are uncertain on whether your server can handle the traffic, redirect it to some other sites. Use mod_rewrite or a temporary 302 redirect to a static page. Another option is Google cache or use the free Coral cache.
On the question of quality of traffic, Alexander pulls out a CTR of the number of ads. He recommends avoiding advertisements for the first two days or so and then put them back on the 3rd day. This shows a better conversion rate. Another common phenomenon that takes place is the increased number of RSS subscribers. Usually, the same people will unsubscribe some time later.
About monetizing traffic, there are two ways to do it.
Direct monetizing: CPM based model beats others like AdSense, targeted ads etc.
Indirect monetizing: This is a better way of receiving links, subscribers, links etc.
What we learned:
Know your audience. Understand both your site and Digg audience.
Choose your monetization approach well.
Be prepared for traffic.
Last speaker from the panel is Laura Fitton, Principal, Pistachio Consulting. Fitton will talk about how to create long-lasting values through social media. Apparently, Laura was a stay-at-home mom wth two kids who started blogging and connecting via social networks in March. Now, she consults people.
Apparently, ads are ailing. Many people make money through via helping others sell. However, there is more money to make in making others buy. Social media works because it helps you understand how you can help others buy stuff. Most important thing for people to do is listen. Markets are conversations. Conversations suck if you don't listen. If yours is a big brand (she take s the example of Dell), people are talking about you. Set up Google alerts to keep track of what is being said about you and engage everyone.
Social media drives traffic. If you become part of a social network, you bring in people who are interested in buying. Laura personally uses Twitter for business (Fitton has 800 followers). She suggests twittering about sales, and specials. Social media makes money but on a long term, it builds value and helps in business. Your company should have lasting value. What value does your business have and how can social media improve it? If you use a gimmick to bring people in, it'wll work but only temporarily. It's about teaching a man to fish and create lasting value.
Fitton says social media is nothing new and that it is all about knowledge. NO tricks, tips or shortcuts will do. Gaming won't do because in social media, it's your customers who write the rules. If they are unhappy with you, they'll leave.
Fitton takes the example of Facebook Beacon. Once the poster child of social media who screwed up bad. This is a warning. Beacon informed your friends about your purchases. It pissed off Charlene Li, channel partners, bloggers, pundits, Move On, mainstream media, etc. Careful not to violate your own terms and conditions. Overstock is getting sued for this.
Focus only on that which matters and lasts. Help. Listen. Make yourself useful. Build love around your values and this will last.
IMAGE SOURCE: Andy Beal