It can never be overstated that people converge on social networking sites with the major aim of building relationship and sharing aspects of their lives and careers for other people to see. For businesses, social media offer opportunities to share content and information. From images, to videos and audio files, there is almost no limit to the information we can share using popular social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Google plus, Linked in and other pseudo-social sites like Instagram.

Social networking helps build instant virtual communities and creates relationships that are continually renewed after every visit.

Defining and Polishing your brand

The brand is the most important step any individual, group of people or corporate entity must shape and understand before relaying the message. It is defining yourself, what you have to offer and who is in need of whatever services you have on offer. For instance, a lifestyle magazine website would have to define what sort of website it is and the kind of articles, information and everything else it would share on its site.

 Evaluate your content

Now that you have understood you brand and what it is you offer. It is time to take a closer look at your content to determine if it is useful or compelling to the audience you have targeted. It is imperative therefore that the contents of your site appeal to your audience in a way that they would find useful and persuasive enough to bring them back after the first visit. Google analytics is a very useful tool in helping you understand the nature of your content.

Sharpening the message for your audience

Social networks are notorious for their short-term attention span. On Twitter, where the average user  follows about 400 accounts, your tweet is competing with tens, hundreds and possibly thousands of other tweets per minute! This means, you have to grab their attention really fast with the words that strike the right note. You have to perfect the art of the tease that would hook your audience.  Some of the organizations to have perfected the art of the attention grabbing updates are news organizations like CNN, Huffington Post. In Nigeria, this process has been replicated by news organizations including already established print media giants like Thisday, Vanguard and Punch and TV stations like Channels TV who currently enjoy massive traffic to their websites in hundreds of thousands as a direct result of their social media activity.

Schedule for regular updates

It is crucial to schedule your posts, updates or tweets to deliver regularly to your social audience. Scheduling services for social networking sites have become an indispensable tool in getting out information that leads to traffic for your website. Twitter seems to have the largest selection of scheduling applications and tools and include Tweetdeck, Tweetadder and many more. To cover a wider range of social networks, sites like Hootsuite are indispensable because they cove r other social networks like Linked In, Google plus, Facebook and many others.

Be Social/ Interact!

You have to constantly remember, it is a social network and the whole point of being on one is to interact, have relationships, share! Share! Share! This means that posting links, teasers and updates are not enough, you have to be part of the conversation, it is personal, keep it conversational in a way that does not go against your brand.

Use buttons on your website

You should include buttons that direct to your social network account. This way, your readers can follow you instantly and receive regular updates that dire ct them back to your site from your posts or updates.

Email signature

In your email signature, include links to your social network profiles from Facebook, Twitter, Linked in, Google + and any others.  It generally increases your profile and trust-worthiness in the eyes of the receiver that you are constantly available and it is possible to reach you on different relevant portals

What do you think? What other ways can be used to drive social media traffic to a website? Please share!