6 Simple Ways to Grow Your Audience Using Social Traffic

You created a brilliant piece of content. It became popular and you received thousands of visits to your site. But how many of those users took action? How do you plan on staying in contact with them?
Your content should be optimized to convert social traffic into long-term audience members. Collecting and building your audience can help reduce the costs of your content marketingcampaign.  Already having an engaged audience base can make it much easier to get a campaign off the ground through social media marketing or email blasts.
Think of it in terms of an e-commerce email list. Users sign up because they are interested in your products. When you have a new product, you use your email list to share that product with your customers in hopes some of them will convert or share the new product with someone who might be interested. You will see a much higher conversion rate using your email list because the audience has already shown interest, likes your products, and likes your brand.
If you didn’t have that email list, you would have to start from scratch with every new product, hoping someone will come along, discover it, and share it. Think of your content as the product.Every time you create a new piece of content are you starting from scratch, hoping someone will come by and discover it? Yes, you can pay to get that initial boost, but what if you could get that boost organically? You can, by building an audience using your social traffic.
You want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to get a social user to take an action on your site. Whether it be an email sign up, following your social profiles, or clicking through to another piece of content, below are 6 ways to turn visitors into long-term followers.

1. Email Sign Up

A great way to build a following is to use your blog  for collecting email addresses. There are various ways of collecting user email, from pop ups asking them to sign up for your email list, to small bars that appear below your content as you scroll, to calls-to-action at the end of the content.
Be upfront about what your intentions are with their email address, and don’t abuse trust they have bestowed upon you by sending them a high volume of emails. At the bottom of our blog posts, we list exactly what someone can expect when they sign up for our newsletter…
Make sure you test different formats and locations. You want to make sure your method of getting a user’s attention isn’t obtrusive and annoying. If you are using a pop up, consider setting a timer to have it activate only after the user has been on the site for 30 seconds, or once they have scrolled to the end of the article. This tells you they are interested enough in your content to stick around on your site, and more likely to welcome a pop up offering them a way to receive more of your content.
Email collection tools:
  • Optiskin – multiple options for display
  • WP Super Popup – only pop ups

2. Social Profiles Call-to-Action

Converting visitors into social media followers allows you to keep your brand in the forefront of their mind, share new content with them, and get real-time feedback. Below are some ideas for how to format and use call-to-actions on your site to grow your social media following.

Below Blog Posts

Simply write a call-to-action sentence below your article asking people to follow you for more interesting posts. Here’s an example of the type of call-to-action

Site Footer or Sidebars

Display visual social buttons in the footer or the right column of your blog. Use contrasting colors and design to make these buttons stand out. And don’t be shy, tell users what action to take with a simple, direct call-to-action.

Pop Ups

Use a pop up call-to-action plugin that asks the user to sign up for your newsletter, subscribe to your RSS feed, or follow you on social media. This can sometimes be annoying but it makes the conversion the main focus. Again it might be better to have it set on a timer so it only appears if the user has been on the site for a little while.
You can also use these to give a choice of actions, like this pop up on the Shoemoney site that gives an alternative to giving your email address:

3. Related Posts Widgets

The biggest obstacles to overcome with social media traffic is the low time on site and high bounce rates. Social users are coming to look at that one piece of content, then click back and look at more links on their favorite social site. The longer they are on the site, your chances ofconverting a visitor into a follower increases.  Once someone has read through to the end of your content, you have an opportunity to get them to click through to another piece of related content.
source: Mashable.com
I have found the best converting related sections use images that entice the user to click. A visually appealing thumbnail will make a user want to continue clicking and reading. This method does so well it’s become an ad model for companies like Outbrain and Nrelate.
Related Post Plugins:
  • Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
  • Related Posts Thumbnail

4. Referrer-Based Call-to-Action

This is an old trick, but still a good one. Similar to how one would create content for a specific social community, tools like WP Greet Box helps you create referrer specific calls-to-action.
Your normal call-to-action is a box that asks users to share and sign up for your email list. What if you were able to target users based on the site they came from?
You have the power to craft and target your CTA based on the referring site. This ability can increase your chances at getting that conversion.
If the user was from Facebook, you may have a better chance of getting them to like your page versus following you on Twitter. If the user came from StumbleUpon, it might be worth more to have them like the page on StumbleUpon verse sharing it on Twitter.

5. Badges, Awards and Comments

Following in the footsteps of platforms like Foursquare that encourage user interaction through a point system and badges, sites have started to use a similar reward system in their comments section.
For example, Huffington Post rewards users based on their shares and comments. They even provided a “follow” function so you can stay up to date with your favorite commenter. This increases the number of shares each piece of content receives, the number of comments, and it increases the chance of a discussion in thread. Overall, it increases the number of users visiting your site and engaging.
Having users constantly coming back to check on comments or to respond to other comments, increases the  chance of the user eventually converting to a follower. A system like this takes money and time to develop, but an plug in like IntenseDebate can you get you started.
If you don’t have large amount of comments coming in, create more content that asks a question or creates a discussion.  You can help start and fuel the discussion just by getting involved.  Respond to users who comment and they will be more inclined to comment again. Leaving a commenter hanging means they probably won’t comment the next time.

6. Ad Remarketing

So you have tried it all, and your site visitor still slipped through your fingers.  You can either wait for that user to return on their own through an organic share or you can use paid media to remarket to that user.
Google Adwords Remarketing has been around for a little over two years. It basically gives the site owner the ability to tag a user, then add them to a target database then show those users specific ads on any site they visit using the Google Ad network. You can even tag users based on what sections of your site they exited from.

If you’re not actively using it as part of your strategy, you can setup Google Adwords to collect users’ IDs as they visit your content. You can set various parameters on when to collect from the user (such as length of visit) and which database to add them to. Once you have an established database of social users that showed interest in your content, you can create related visual ads and try to draw the user back. They even allow you to set a time limit for the ads. For example, if the someone doesn’t come back after 30 days, it will remove them from the database.

Example of a Remarketing Campaign

Let’s say I created a visual comparison guide on organic manufacturers showing their different certifications, offerings, etc. You visited the page where I was hosting my guide after seeing the link on Reddit, thought it was cool but lost track of it because you didn’t subscribe, like, share it, etc.
Now, I will clip part of the graphic and use it as a display ad. You decide to do some research on organic foods. Since my content is related, and you are in my database, a snippet of my visual guide appears reminding you of it. While you are on related sites, you will continually be reminded of my guide. Hopefully you will click through and use my content to help you make your decision.
This is when you can use a plugin like WP Greet Box to tell the user they have been here before, and maybe they should consider subscribing to your site or following you on social media to keep seeing related content.


A majority of these methods have been around the web for a while. But surprisingly, I’ve seen many blogs still not implementing any system for audience building.
Once you’ve grown your social following, keep these tips in mind to ensure your fans continue visiting your site and sharing your content:
  • Treat your social profiles like an email list; users trust you enough to follow your updates so don’t abuse it.
  • If you are looking to drive traffic, share it once and give it time. Data has shown users will click through to your content if you tweet less frequently.
  • If you’re looking for followers, share a lot of great content every couple of hours.
So, now you have started to grow your followers but how do you maintain that growth and how do you use social media communities to expand your audience even more? Stay tuned for part 2 of this series where I will show you various ways to achieve those goals.
What are you favorite tactics for getting visitors to take further action on your site? Let us know in the comments below. 


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