This morning I read an article by the BlogOnExpo blog, which discussed "Why 100 Organic Visitors are better than 10,000 Social Media Visitors"
Basically, the article made an argument that the quality of "social media visitors" in comparison to the quality of organic visitors is notably lower. (While the referral of "social media visitor" in this case is quite confusing, I'm sure in this case it was meant to refer to "social media bookmarking" visitors like Digg and StumbleUpon users). In any case, you are a skimmer the main assumptions I got out of this article were the following:
- Social Media Visitors (Social Bookmarking Visitors) come once and probably never again.
- Visitor's from social bookmarking sites are not as valuable as visitors from referrals or organic searches - length of time on site, page depth, and participation is lower overall.
- Overall Takeaway: Invest more time in your "organic" visitors than your social media visitors.
Coming from an angle of a social media agency, I can't help but to think this is a short-sighted view - yet a fairly popular attitude that exists towards the value of referrals from social media bookmarking sites. For many, these bookmarking sites seem to provide a boost in traffic, but nothing more over the long term.
Before adopting this same attitude, I would argue that the value of social bookmarking sites are strikingly different for every business model and every business objective.
To use ourselves as an example: around 50% of our traffic comes from referring sites - most of these being StumbleUpon users. While at first, it was tempting to write this off on the above assumptions - we've found that a large audience of StumbleUpon users have an overall interest in social media, and are actually the users that stay on our site the longest (at around a 30% bounce rate). In our case, this increased exposure into our target audience is beneficial.
This is where knowing where your audience is participating in social media comes into play. Understanding that social bookmarking sites have different audiences can mean more valuable referrals and an increase in brand awareness among an already established audience. For instance, a company that is targeting a highly technical audience with a new technology or product offering may find that tailored content (not spam) promoted to Digg can increase product and brand awareness. Another company that is trying to push a promotion to price-sensitive consumers may find that Dealigg is the way to go.
The takeaway? If you look at social bookmarking sites as all the same or useless for every business model - you will never find value. However, if you can find and participate in the social bookmarking sites where your audience is in, you may reap the rewards of more valuable referrals.Dealigg, digg, social bookmarking, Social Media, social media agency, Stumble Upon
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