According to the numbers, over the past 12 months, the number of referrals from social networking sites to blogs has doubled. Social traffic is becoming more important than search traffic according to some. How do WordPress users adjust to this reality and exploit it to your advantage?  The core strategy should be to embrace and focus.

Embracing the Social Trend

Some bloggers have shut down their blogs and moved to Facebook fan pages. Others have kept their blog and complemented with fan pages as stop-gap measure. Either way, there is a perceived threat that you are losing traffic to Facebook. It could very well be a real threat unless you embrace the trend and make it work for you.

Focus Your Social Media Efforts

In an effort to please all readers and maximize reach into social networks, bloggers are integrating a plethora of social tools. One favorite is the AddThis plugin which offers some 100+ options for sharing. In my opinion this approach will clutter your site and distract the user. Pick a winner instead. All indicators are that Facebook is becoming the de-facto standard for social syndication.

Courtesy Gawker Media

After their launch of Open Graph in April this year, Facebook has grown from 15% to 35% of all social networking referrals. This assumes that Gawker Media is a good reflection of the industry average. My personal choice will therefore have to be Facebook, however StumbleUpon is another good candidate. Twitter is already prevalent but it is a typically a disappointment in terms of referrals. There are two reasons:

  1. Twitter is undoubtedly the noisiest channel on the web.
  2. People in general are not spending any significant time on Twitter.

What are my Tools?

With Facebook, you have some excellent tools. You also have some great plugins for WordPress integration. Most likely you already use several of these tools today. The key is how you use them and how you combine them.

The Facebook Fan Page

The fan page is a great tool for dialog and brand promotion (yes, you are a brand and you should cultivate it):

  • Do use the fan page as a personal relationship tool by engaging your audience in discussion and dialog around the topics you are focused on. Use it as a place to share news about you, your brand and your site. The purpose is to create an “exclusive” community where your dedicated followers get the inside scoop on everything you.
  • Do not use the fan page to push your RSS feed and manage relationships at the same time. First, your relationship efforts will drown in your content updates. Second, you are creating an intermediate (proxy) between your audience and your blog. Thirdly, the updates are indiscriminatory, lowering relevance which results in fewer revisits to your fan page and web site. Instead use a Like button for your feed (see below)
  • Do one or the other of the above.

Get a Like Button for your WordPress Site

In its basic form, the Like button provides a one-time sharing function. There are tools that connect the Like button with your RSS feed, thereby providing a way to connect directly between your site and the Facebook News Feed (no Fan Page intermediary). Explain to the user that you want to connect for updates in conjunction with the Like button. Use a text widget to insert the button HTML on your site. If you want to connect your RSS feed to your fan page instead, Pheedo offers a solution with Dlvr.it.

Get a Like Plugin for my Posts

Let people “Like” your posts. There are WordPress plugins that allow you to automate the insertion of Like buttons. The Like button offers a one-time sharing event. It can also connect with the user for ongoing updates related to the topic of the particular post (a.k.a “Like for Tags“).

We recently did a case study on CNN.com. If they implemented these strategies, they would see 25%-40% increase in page views over time. CNN is already a user of Facebook social plugins but they are currently not using them as described in this article. The increase in page views is significant from a revenue perspective, most likely seven figures.

Note: This article includes opinions of the author based on working with the blogging community to develop social syndication tools. Your reactions to these opinions are greatly appreciated.

This article was contributed by Rikard Kjellberg, a Silicon Valley blogger and co-founder of IngBoo, who works on social syndication solutions for publishers. Rikard also writes on his personal blog (scandihuvians) and on IngBoo’s corporate blog.

The above article was contributed by a member of the WPHacks community. If you are interested in participating, you can find our guidelines for contributing an article here.

  1. Shuji Ozeki says:

    Hi Rikard,

    Thank you so much for your valued advice. I find them very helpful as I am seriously trying to be able to use the social media.

    Recently, and at last I have begun using WordPress and facebook as effective marketing tools for my culinary services as a Japanese cooking teacher/food guide-translator/owner-chef.

    with appreciation,

    Shuji Ozeki

    • Rikard Kjellberg says:

      Ohio Gosaiyimas (it is morning here)!
      Given your topic (culinary/food), you should definately connect with your readers in Facebook. Now, I do know that Japan have a different profile as it relates to social networks but I believe Facebook is becoming quite popular. You should seriously consider your social media strategy and implement tools appropriate for your market.

  2. Aasel says:

    Thanks for good advices! Have you tried any methods to evaluate the effect of social media in marketing? i.e. the Balanced Scorecard as described here: http://facebookmarketing.de/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/smbc.pdf

    • Rikard Kjellberg says:

      Ein bischen aber mein Deutch ist nicht gut (Some, but my German is not good). Social media marketing is going to be increasingly important, which is only natural. With social networks you have the possibility to exploit “computerized word-of-mouth” mechanisms. Facebook has clamped down on some of this since it has extremely high value. If you examine their business strategy it is largely centered around monetizing the viral opportunities within the social network. Basically, any company now has to pay for viral propagation.

  3. Arif Majidi says:

    thanks for a great advice, million peoples are move to facebook….

    • Sparsh says:

      Yes, you are right. one of my friends has suggested me to use facebook to get traffic. and now i am using facebook for that. it’s a really effective social networking site.

  4. Tony says:

    I just started using the FB fan pages and I am seeing results. I wasn’t sure that it would work but it is helpful. I recommend this method to anyone.

    • Rikard Kjellberg says:

      That is great news Tony! Would you mind sharing how you are using the Facebook fan page? Is it for promotion, for your RSS feed or both?

  5. agung budidoyo says:

    Hi Rikard,

    Thank you so much for your valued advice. so far I only use addthis button to connect with social media and networked blog to add RSS in my facebook wall.

    I often see blogger add “Like button” every post, how to get it?

    Thank you

    • Rikard Kjellberg says:

      Agung, there are a few plugins for WordPress, one being Facebook Like for Tags, which my company has developed. It is enjoying great traction with thousands of downloads. You can check it out here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/like-for-tags/
      I am of course assuming that you have your own WordPress installation.
      You can also get a basic Like button from Facebook directly. The basic Like button provides one-time sharing and not the lasting engagement. For Facebook, go to http://developers.facebook.com and search for “Like button”.

      • Agung Budidoyo says:

        No, i mean , It seem give rate for popularity of the post. Than “like buton” will show how many reader that like my post.

        Regard,

  6. Hillary Bost says:

    I never really thought about it that way. I have both a blog and a facebook but I never really mesh the two. I am wondering if I should have a fan page when I get bigger. and just leave my personal facebook and my blog separate.

  7. Scentsy says:

    We have incorporated fb into our wordpress blog, but marketing within the two has been challenging for us. We found some useful ideas in your post – thanks.

  8. Ryan says:

    I do Agree! over the past months social media has become one of the major trend to drive traffic to your site especially Facebook. Most of the Blog sites today are incorporated with Facebook Plugins and Apps.

    Thanks for sharing btw! :D

  9. Andrew@ Audit Software says:

    Thanks for sharing that post. Great information. I never thought there is so big value in Like buttons. But now I absolutely will go and put one to my WP blog.

  10. Lappanion says:

    I have 1 fan page already but I only have like 600 fans so far. Natural growth without any spamming ;)… I know there are a ton of techniques that can get you 1k and more fans a day…

  11. Thanks for good advices!

  12. One thing they say about marketing activities is that it should be measured. The issue with social media is where do you stop and do the measuring?

    Or do you continue to engage your audience and continue to measure on an ongoing basis?

    Most of the traffic referred to my website comes from StumbleUpon and not FaceBook. And we only get about 150 unique visitors a month.

    Any advise would be very helpful.

    Regards,

    Ashish.

  13. Mags says:

    Thank you for sharing, Rikard. I would also add some social related plugins for comments. I use Disqos, which is a comments platform that helps you build an active community from your website’s audience. It is fully integrated with Facebook, Twitter etc, so it lets people login, comment, and share using social services they already use and like. But there are many of those plugins, this one works for my blog though.

    • Rikard Kjellberg says:

      Mags, I really like Disqos as well. The key question is if the discussion will be on the site, in Facebook or both? What I see happening is that a discussion creates a sub-community on the fly. People join the community simply by adding a comment. In a way, this is what happens now since you do get emails when people add comments (like I just did for yours). However, I would like to see the whole discussion as its own entity, accessible in Facebook, Twitter AND on the site. We can look at “Discussion” as its own fan page or social object if you like. Disqos does some of this today.

      • Mags says:

        I think you mix it with Chat Catcher as Chat Catcher was pulling data from different sources and putting it on your blog (the plugin has been shut down though) (not sure if if this is what you meant though so may appologies if I misunderstood)
        Disqus is doing a bit different thing (a kind of an oposite). As a “commenter” you create your account on Disqus. If you take part in a discussion and you put a comment on someone’s blog where Disqus is installed, it pulls this information to your dashboard on Disqus so you know/ remember where the comments have been left and you can always get back to them as the link is also attached on Disqus. So for me it is pretty useful as they also notify me if there is any follow up comment…

  14. Joshua says:

    So what kind of feedback are you getting on your implementation of facebook like? I am trying to decide if I want to put facebook like on my site or not because I am already running two share programs and will be running light social as soon as I get around to adding everything on it.

    • Rikard Kjellberg says:

      Joshua, in general, the Like button reduces the barrier to connect. It is an easy, one-click function to express interest in your content.
      By associating the Like button with your content (by placing it with the post), you make it very easy for the user to express interest. If you have categorized/tagged your content well, then the user will get timely and relevant updates in their news feed (provided they use Like for Tags). The data speaks for itself here. If you have an increase in “Likers” over time and good click-back rates, you are doing things right.
      We believe that Fan Pages should be relationship tools where you engage in dialog with your fans and promote your brand. If you clutter this with your content updates, you dilute the power of your PR. We recommend keeping them separate. However, we (IngBoo) also provides a way for you to promote your fan page with each news feed update. This is a great way to segment your communication and grow your fan base.

  15. Thanks for good advices!.

  16. Vivek Parmar says:

    have to agree that facebook is one of the best contender when it comes to social media.
    getting 80% traffic from facebook what i need apart from search engine!!

  17. Ares says:

    Social media is very important for SEO. Facebook and Twitter have big influence for position in Google.

  18. Sandro says:

    Having a Facebook fan page for own blog is definitely a to-do thing. It should increase the number of visitors quite a bit.

  19. Alex says:

    Never really had any success with Facebook fan pages at all. I suppose you need to spend a lot of time with tit to make it work well and be profitable for your website. I might however consider it in the future, thanks for the post. =)

  20. Hillary Bost says:

    Great strategy for using social media and wordpress, thanks for the info.

  21. gra logiczna says:

    Social media strategy is very important because WordPress is very good tools for SEO. If we have good idea how use it, results is fantastic.

  22. Carol says:

    I started using Facebook fan pages a few months ago and I think they are absolutely fantastic. I also started testing the PPC equivalent offered by Facebook and the click prices are stunningly low – I think this could be a great strategy for lead generation.

  23. Bill says:

    I fully agree, offering too many choices to your audience just distracts them and they end up taking no action at all. So far, Digg works quite well for me.

  24. Homeland says:

    Hi Rikard,

    Thank you so much for your valued advice. so far I only use addthis button to connect with social media and networked blog to add RSS in my facebook wall.

    I often see blogger add “Like button” every post, how to get it?

    Thank you

  25. Sarah Jane says:

    I never really thought about it that way. I have both a blog and a facebook but I never really mesh the two. I am wondering if I should have a fan page when I get bigger. and just leave my personal facebook and my blog separate.

  26. Robin says:

    great article, I didnt go thru all the replies, but your “tweet this” button didnt work.

  27. Carol Rose says:

    I never thought about using these tools so much. Although I have always used “Add This” plugin from the beginning.

    I am just wondering if anything other than the like and tweet button would actually not clutter the page…for example if you look at mashable – homepage is full of social sharing…wonder if it makes any sense at all

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