By analysing Dave Chaffey’s (2011) Digital Marketing Channels model below it can be stated that a fundamental aspect of social media marketing is to drive traffic to the company’s web domain.
One way of increasing website traffic from social media is through the use of links on social media posts, directing the user to the company’s web domain. Hughes (2017) suggests that by using links on social media effectively, you can increase website traffic and improve the organisations brand awareness. Linked to Chaffey’s (2011) model above, increasing website traffic through social media is fundamental, so links on social media posts should be in place to achieve this.
Another reason for using links on social media is to lead the user into action (Neti, 2011). Neti (2011) suggests that if the social media post is promoting a product for sale then it should be placed with links, so the customer could potentially make a purchase. This is what’s known as a “call-to-action”, which refers to a statement designed to get an immediate response from customers reading the social media post (Culnan, McHugh & Zubillaga, 2010). Without links on social media posts, customers who wish to purchase the product advertised would have to navigate themselves away from the site and manually search for the product, thus reducing the potential of a customer purchasing the product (Krasinski, 2018).
What do good examples look like?
The importance of using links on social media has been explored; if used effectively links on social media can drive website traffic, increase brand awareness and create a “call-to-action” to allow the customer to make a purchase. Below are a few examples of companies that use links effectively:
Culnan, McHugh & Zubillaga (2010) have praised Walmart for their effective of use of links on social media. According to Culnan, McHugh & Zubilaga (2010), Walmart effectively link together their website to their social media channels to facilitate two-way linkages. The picture above is a good example because this Tweet directs users to their web domain, whilst giving users more information on where they can make a purchase, providing an effective call-to-action.
This example from Adidas is one of the most effective examples of social media links I have come across. On Instagram, Adidas have successfully created a “call-to-action” to allow users to immediately see the product, the price and be directed to the web domain to make an immediate purchase. Adidas have almost created a user-journey to allow the customer to reach the web domain from social media, which is a fundamental practice when analysing Chaffey’s (2011) Digital Marketing Channels model.
How can it be measured?
The importance of links on social media and examples of effective practice have been mentioned, however, it is also fundamentally important to be able to measure the effectiveness of social media links to the company’s web domain.
Woodward (2017) suggests that Google Analytics can be useful to measure the effectiveness of social media links. Using Google Analytics, companies can truly grasp how customers reach their web domain. Google Analytics effectively can breakdown Chaffey’s (2011) Digital Marketing Channels model and show company’s the sources of their web traffic. To find out the basics of Google Analytics please watch the short video below 🙂
According to Cleary (2017), Google Analytics can be used for specific social media channels. This could be useful for a company to analyse which social media sites are the most effective, which could be very useful when coming up with new social media campaigns.
Many companies use a platform called ‘Bitly’ to effectively shorten links to make them into a more user-friendly format (Cleary, 2017). Bitly has also become a very useful tool for measuring the impact of each links. By using Bitly, companies can get basic link analytics with a free account or they can purchase an enterprise account depending on the companies need, for more information please click this link to their website.
What are the risks?
One of the risks of using links on social media is potentially irritating customers with spam and unrelated content (Hollatz, 2017). Relevance in links is often fundamental, as users are more likely to follow a link if it is relevant to the social media post (Digital Marketer, 2017). Take the Adidas example mentioned previously, the Instagram post features new Adidas football boots, and the link that accompanies the post is the platform where you can purchase the product, which is a relevant link to that post.
Hughes (2017) analysed effective linking on social media sites and his article can be found here. In his article, Hughes (2017) explored how links should be used on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. On Facebook, Hughes (2017) mentioned the importance of including a visible link and to keep the description short, 15 words being the ideal length for a link description.
On Twitter & Instagram, Hughes (2017) found that shortened links work the most effectively, for example using Bitly to shorten URL’s to make the post less cluttered. Finally, links on Instagram and Twitter should lead users to a specific page on the web domain, for example Adidas linking users to the direct product page on Instagram in the previous example mentioned.
Chaffey, D. (2011) ‘Digital marketing channels’. Smart Insights, 22nd August 2011 [Online] <https://www.smartinsights.com/reach/attachment/digital-marketing-channels/> [accessed 3rd April 2018]
Cleary, I. (2017) ‘How to Track Links Shared on Social Media’. RazorSocial, 12th July 2017 [Online] < http://www.razorsocial.com/link-tracking/> [accessed 3rd April 2018]
Culnan, M.J., McHugh, P.J. and Zubillaga, J.I. (2010) How large US companies can use Twitter and other social media to gain business value. MIS Quarterly Executive. Vol. 9, No. 4, pp. 243-259.
Digital Marketer (2017) ‘How to Increase Website Traffic with Link Building’. Swan Websites, 18th April 2017 [Online] < http://www.swanwebsites.com/increase-website-traffic-link-building/> [Accessed 3rd April 2018]
Hollatz, K. (2017) ‘7 WAYS TO DOUBLE YOUR WEBSITE TRAFFIC THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA’. ThinkSEM, 10th May 2017 [Online] < https://thinksem.com/blog/7-ways-to-double-your-website-traffic-through-social-media/> [Accessed 3rd April 2018]
Hughes, J. (2017) ‘A Multi-Platform Guide to Effective Linking on Social Media Sites’. Pretty Links, 27th October 2017 [Online] <https://prettylinks.com/2017/10/effective-linking-on-social-media/> [accessed 3rd April 2018]
Krasinski, A. (2018) ‘How to Increase Website Traffic Through Social Media’. Constant Contact [Online] < https://blogs.constantcontact.com/increase-website-traffic-through-social-media/> [accessed 3rd April 2018]
Neti, S. (2011) Social media and its role in marketing. International Journal of Enterprise Computing and Business Systems. Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 1-15.
Woodward, M. (2017) ‘28 Social Media Backlinks To Increase Your Rankings’. Matthew Woodward, 30th November 2017 [Online] < https://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/tutorials/22-social-media-backlinks/> [accessed 3rd April 2018]