When I started my new project on Jan 4th 2017 that's focused on product discovery and content creation within a particular industry, I established a presence on most of the major social networks. Even if I didn't have time to properly nurture the user base of each network, my thought was that it was better to establish a presence at the beginning on all of them and do the bare minimum (essentially just posting my new updates to the site) than not have any presence at all. It only takes a few extra minutes after each blog post is published to post them onto the networks. That being said though, I wanted to really focus on one or two of those networks and build up a solid presence.
Naturally for me, Facebook became my top network because I use Facebook more than any other social network for personal and business reasons. So since I spent more time on it anyway using FB Groups and updating my other Pages, inadvertently I gave my FB Page for this project more attention than say, Twitter, which I'm never on. And because of that Facebook became my top referring social network to my site.
Next I needed a #2 network. In hindsight, this seems like a stupid decision (but hindsight is 20/20 right?), I moved onto Instagram. I decided to steadily post and re-post (with attribution) images several times a day, follow relevant profiles related to my business, leave comments and likes (real ones, not Instagress BS comments), run a couple contests for product giveaways, and so on. After months of putting time and energy into Instagram, my following never even broke 1000. Half naked Instagram “Models” would put up profiles with 4 photos, engage with no-one, and have 20,000 Followers in a week. And all I seemed to get were spammy profiles following/unfollowing me on the regular and bot comments like “Great post!” “Nice one!” “Great shot!”
And aside from the ridiculous amount of Spam engagement on Instagram, I wasn't getting any return on the time I put into it. Less than 10 visits per month and usually closer to zero. And the worst part was that I was struggling for new content to post on Instagram. On my blog, I was putting out 3 or more new posts per week, but I lacked the ability to link to those blogs other than in the one URL field on my Instagram profile that no-one was clicking on. I tried posting new graphics advertising the blog posts with “Click the link in our profile to read this new post.” But the steps involved with that method converting into traffic were (1) having the user see my new post, (2) click on my profile, and then finally (3) click on the link to visit my site. There were too many barriers in the way of a click. I eventually quit. And by quit, I mean, I post an occasional update or image on there to keep my profile active in case I decide to do something with it in the future. But it went from something I thought about all day long to something I post an image on occasionally when I feel like it.
So I moved onto something else. And that something else was Pinterest. I read about the success that other bloggers were having with generating traffic back to their blog from Pinterest and decided to make Pinterest my #2 traffic source (second to Organic Search). In less than a month, I went from 7 visits/month (for the entire month) from Pinterest to over 100 visits/day on average, with peaks of well over 1000 visits/day.
How did I do that exactly? I'd been on Pinterest since I started my site, but until recently, I was using it in the worst way possible. I had just a few boards made which weren't optimized for search, and I'd only post my new blog posts using the same horizontal image that I was using for Facebook and Twitter (which f you're familiar with Pinterest you know that horizontal graphics are not Pinterest-friendly). So I studied up and learned what to do. I created more boards on my profile and optimized them for search terms, I started posting other people's quality content, I joined group Pinterest boards related to my industry, I joined Tailwind and started scheduling my posts across multiple boards, I created vertical Pinterest friendly graphics for my old and new posts (sometimes multiple Pin graphics per post to split test), I joined FB Repin Groups relating to my industry and participated in Repin exchange threads, I joined Tailwind Tribes, I started my own Tailwind Tribe, I optimized my individual Pin descriptions for search, I made custom board images to make my profile more attractive, and so on. The traffic I saw from Pinterest after one month (which in my case converted proportionally into affiliate income given the nature of my website), is 1000x greater than the traffic I saw from Instagram after 5 months. And I'm just getting started. By the end of the year I plan to be well over 1000 visits/day on average from Pinterest with peaks of over 10,000 visits/day by continuing the system and process I've created.
So now that I've got a good system going with Pinterest, my goal is to consistently follow that system and improve upon it. Like any network, you can't just pop in, post 100 things, and then disappear for months. A steadily active and engaged profile on Pinterest will continue to push my Pins to the home feed and build momentum, which results in traffic.
I'm part of a Pinterest strategy group and a woman recently was asking about which Pinterest class was the best that she should take. I posted my results and said, “This is what I've been able to accomplish without taking a class, just by reading all the free information I could find available about Pinterest, reading Tailwind's blog, reading Pinterest's help section, and studying the most active profiles in my industry to see what they were doing wrong or right.” And another woman kind of got on me and said something like, “We're proud of what you accomplished, but some people in here are looking to get 10,000 – 25,000 visits per day from Pinterest, not 100-200.” And my response to her was, “Find me a class that teaches you how to go from 7 visits/month to 25,000 visits/day in 30 days and I'll take that class too. Until then, your goal should be to go from 0 to 100. And then 100 to 1000. And then 1000 to 10,000 and so on. If your only milestone is to go from 0 to 25,000 and you want that to happen in 30 days or even 90 days, then you're setting yourself up for disappointment.”
In summary, Organic Search is still my #1 source of traffic, Pinterest is now #2, and Facebook became #3. Here are all the networks that my traffic comes from:
- LinkedIn (and I'm not even on LinkedIn)
And my question to you is, what else is out there? What new or growing networks exist that are geared towards product or content discovery that may be worth building a presence on? You should never have all your eggs in one basket, which is why I diversified from relying on Organic Search to making Pinterest my #2. Now I'm looking for a reliable #3 and it doesn't have to be on that list above. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.