The Truth About Social Conversion
Social media conversions are amongst the biggest reasons for most sites’ success.
Without a doubt.
Design Seeds has averaged one to two million pageviews per month these past seven years. The first three years of the site, traffic averaged about 10% those numbers. It was conversion points on social that made the site’s success a reality.
Twitter was the first network to make Design Seeds go viral. Next was Facebook, when Pages were an amazing place to build community. It was ultimately Pinterest, in 2011, that made it explode. Literally. I moved the site to a designated server in the beginning of 2012, after two months of traffic repeatedly taking down the shared server it was once hosted on.
In 2012, over 60% of traffic to the Design Seeds site was from social networks, with over 65% of social network traffic being Pinterest alone.
Today, while still receiving about one million pageviews per month, only 28% of traffic to Design Seeds comes from social networks,
So if the site receives sustained total traffic numbers, what gives with the shift in traffic from social media?
Networks have dramatically changed to minimize conversions so people no longer leave their networks.
The rub is that networks want you to give them your content, and give up your independence of owning it.
It’s a conundrum because we need people to visits our sites, or we don’t have a business. We also need social as it’s a means of discovery. .
The challenge is figuring out how to engage on the networks, while working around their built in detours keeping folks from getting to our sites.
So the key in all this, is how to maximize conversions. As I pointed out in the intro, Design Seeds is receiving a percentage of traffic it once did from social, so I needed to figure out how to engage the reader so they want to return to the site, and just as importantly, share with friends so they visit as well.
Maximizing conversions is accomplished by successfully identifying and targeting points, and understanding reader expectation from their experience so you can deliver to, or exceed, expectations.
Conversion points can be a follow, like, comment, sign-up, download or click.
Conversion points are when “something” happens in reaction to a post.
Creators and brands need to define what their expectations are for conversions, then build and strategize content to facilitate it.
Figuring Out Your Conversion Points
One of the healthy OG understandings about social media is that it is free advertising.
We all have to advertise, or no one would find us.
Advertising does not mean selling. Advertising means storytelling. Sharing our brand story.
For every business, how the story is best told, requires entirely different approaches.
Since I work predominantly with creatives and design centric clients, compelling visuals mean conversion, and Pinterest is currently the leading network for most conversions.
The key to social conversions, is considering how to present content and incentivize the reader to spend their valued time with you on your site.
Converting in a Recession
Per my Design Seeds example, and explaining the modern landscape of insular social networks, it is admittedly a social recession. Conversion is challenging, but not impossible.
We need to adjust our expectations and business models to the available tools. And although social is in a recession, it is not in obcelence.
With a thoughtful strategy, and well planned execution, social is still a valuable tool for any brand.
An irony of algorithms that what makes them work against content creators, is the very thing that can also make them work for us. Algorithms benefit content that triggers a reaction (a like, share, comment, profile visit). The opportunity is to harness that reaction to fuel your targeted conversion.
For example, I only post outlinks on Facebook. I never post a photo. Not ever. Because what good does it do for my business to have content dwelling on Facebook and never having people visit the site?
Not a thing.
Having invested all the value on the Design Seeds site, I need to help folks discover the full possibility of the site as resource by sharing content in a compelling way.
I made the decision years ago to get less likes and shares (photos posted on the network draw more likes and shares compared to outlinks with a preview photo), and it was a decision that has paid off exponentially.
Networks indeed do want us to mistake activity to achievement. They play to the most base of egos, where likes are the currency. People are paying to have their posts seen by more people in hopes of getting more likes, but there is no conversion in that game.
When scheduling content, I consider what times of day I post, targeted frequency, what days are more productive, and what is occurring (seasonally, holiday, etc) that will best connect with my reader.
Frequent posting is a detriment because it can sink your algorithm (how many folks see your post). So in a strategy incorporating conversion points, take advantage of posting less frequently to maximize the quality of your content can fuel engagement. And if you can align your desired conversion points with the rewards that fuel the algorithm, you have found gold.