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How We Grew Social Media Traffic by 170% in 3 Months

This past January, I took on a new role: Social Media Manager for Search Engine Journal. One of my first projects was to put together a comprehensive social strategy. The thought of putting together a detailed guide covering a variety of platforms was a bit daunting, but I ended up discovering that if I put in the time, supported my conclusions with research and used an iterative group review process, the results would be well worth the effort.

After many revisions, fine tuning, and more edits, the guide finally came into fruition. (It helps to have an engaged editorial and operations team providing feedback, direction and moral support!) We put it into practice immediately. By using it as a roadmap, we were able to increase our overall traffic from social networks by 170% for the period January-March 2014 (220K visitors) versus the prior period October-December 2013 (81.5K visitors).

What We Did

First off, we kept goals limited to just three months out. It was hard to make projections our first time out the gate, and so we wanted the ability to adjust goals (some of which were achieved and some were not, as it turns out) as well as re-confirm what’s most important to us as a brand.

Two of our goals: a 5% month-over-month increase in Twitter followers, and a 10% month-over-month increase in Facebook fans.

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Those short-term goals proved to be a useful tactic. As you can see from above, while we met our Facebook goal of increasing 5% monthly, we fell short on Twitter. Because of this, we are re-evaluating what we’re doing on Twitter and figuring out how to shake things up. In April, we began trying new things, such as broadening our posting times, re-sharing popular posts more regularly and adding more hashtags.

We also launched a new LinkedIn page which brought almost 10,000 visitors to the site, and Google+ has also proven to be a huge success bringing us nearly 50,000 visitors from January-March, an increase of over 700% from the three months prior.
traffic How We Grew Social Media Traffic by 170% in 3 Months

Soooo… How Did We Do It?

It occurred to us that our readers might be interested in checking out our strategy.

So we published it, in its entirety.

With the exception of some cleanup, it is essentially the same version we’ve been using internally.social media banner How We Grew Social Media Traffic by 170% in 3 Months At almost 7,000 words, it was too long to publish here in this post.

In practice, although there are times we don’t stick 100% to every word, it serves as a useful baseline by which we’ve been able to manage and grow our social media presence, as well as traffic to the website from social networks.

Your Mileage May Vary

With so many “best practice” articles, guides and white papers out there, it can be difficult to assess what works best for you, your company, or your client.

Since we’re a media publisher and don’t have as much visual product collateral to share, we focused more on Twitter and Facebook rather than Pinterest and Instagram. If you’re a fashion or food-related company, for example, it may make sense to do the opposite. (And although we don’t place as much focus on Pinterest, our website traffic stemming from there has increased over 500% the last three months.)

The best social media strategy for you must consider the context of industry, goals, and audience. As a media publisher, impressions, follower counts, RTs etc. are valuable metrics for us. However, if you’re an e-commerce brand, the amount of revenue derived from social is going to be of higher importance than your fan count by itself. The bottom line is to always take into account what’s best based on your company, your industry, your bottom line.

We will be updating the guide regularly, as well as publishing posts on our progress like this one. Would love to know your thoughts, and what’s worked or not worked for your own methods involving social media.

See SEJ’s internal strategy guide for social media, here.

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Debbie Miller

Blogger and Social Media Marketing Professional at Social Hospitality
Debbie is the Founder of Social Hospitality, a blog and boutique marketing firm focusing on social media, blogging, and SEO. Debbie is the Social Media Manager for Search Engine Journal and the Content Editor for Maximize Social Business. She is also the Digital Communications Manager for HyperDisk Marketing and a Social Media Instructor at UC Irvine Extension.
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27 thoughts on “How We Grew Social Media Traffic by 170% in 3 Months

  1. LinkedIn is the opportunity I’m most excited about. We were late to the game, only adding a company page for SEJ within the last 6 months, but we’ve seen promising gains/reach ever since you came onboard. Can’t wait to see what the next 6 months brings! Great job Debbie+team.

  2. Congrats Debbie! Set those short term goals. Give yourself something to reach in a short amount of time to gain confidence in yourself, and organization, on social. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hi. Thanks for sharing with us your social media strategies. I know this is just a minor typo-error but I noticed that you have written the word “their” in a wrong spelling. Under Twitter Observation Strategy, last paragraph in Chapter 1.
    Anyway, thanks for sharing and I am thinking of testing this strategies out.

    1. Thank you for pointing the typo out! We’ve fixed it. Glad you found the guide useful.

  4. Hi Debbie Miller,
    Thanks for sharing this effective social engaging strategy. Facebook and twitter is quite well for driving traffic but there are some more attractive features in google+ and pinterest. I wish to learn some effective strategy of these sites from you. Thanks …

  5. Social media has definitely changed the landscape for many organizations looking to spread their wings online. The amount of possibilities for good exposure the big platforms have created is amazing.

  6. This is a great case study with some really valuable tips and strategies to maximize social media efforts. I shared this with my community because it really goes in depth the differences and advantages of using the various social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ etc. I often get asked which social media channels people should focus on… and I simply say all of them because they all have their unique benefits.

    1. Thank you, Anthony! I’m so glad you found the information useful for your community. You’re right – all social media channels serve different purposes and the “one to focus” on varies from business to business.

  7. Thanks so much for the transparency, Debbie! I can’t wait to go through SEJ’s social media plan for inspiration. I am the social media manager for Granify.com. but I am just getting started in the industry so I can use all the help I can get.

  8. I have to say it is so difficult to keep on top of all the social media out there, but I like your advice about keeping things small to start with. Just look to increase followers a little at a time and see what happens. Some great advice about Twitter, the more hashtags seems to work brilliantly as long as it’s not over done!

    1. Thanks, Neale! Totally agree – it’s hard to stay on top of everything. Keeping things small helps everything stay manageable but also gives you a baseline and something to work toward. Agreed, hashtags can be very useful when used efficiently and not overdone. Best of luck to you!

  9. Wow, inspiring stuff. I’m trying to ramp up the social impact of my travel site, but my goodness, there is so much competition out there. A little thinking outside of the box is necessary, I think.

  10. Hi Debbie Miller!
    WOW, Its a nice article. In this representation, Its shows 5% month-over-month increase in Twitter followers, and a 10% month-over-month increase in Facebook fans.Thanks for sharing with us your social media strategies.

  11. Debbie,

    fantastic resource, although I personally would have preferred a PDF. Still I can understand the enormous SEO benefits you’ll get from doing it as webpages.

  12. Excellent post with some great tips and strategies of social media marketing which can be helpful to increase social media traffic flow in short term. It become a very important to follow the right strategy for effective social media marketing.