Many businesses are gleaning insights into this years’ activity in order to plan for 2017. If you haven’t done so yet, include Google analytics with this evaluation. The results may be surprising. Here are a few revelations from the Strella Social Media traffic reports.
Strong content never dies. Of the top three most popular blogs on our site, this year, two of those blogs were written in previous years – in 2012 and 2014 respectively.
The Accident That Changed My Life Forever was written in March 2012. This year, alone, it drove 2,161 hits to our website. This single blog post is still the most popular of all time, acquiring nearly 7,600 hits since it was published.
Watch Out For Big Brother: Getty Images Strong Arms Unsuspecting Small Businesses was published in September 2014.
5 Social Media Rules of Thumb was the only 2016 blog to rank in the top three.
Social media works in surprising ways. Of the top social media channels driving website traffic, the second most popular is a channel that I’ve never used. In 2016, Facebook drove the most traffic followed by… reddit?! I’ve never even created a profile for this social site. Moreover, this site outranked Twitter, with nearly 15,000 followers. It’s surprising that Facebook is number one, given that I have only 1,700 followers, a low number in comparison to Twitter. This further proves why fan or follower counts only should be considered as vanity metrics, rather than a true indicator of reach.
Content ignition counts. Being known counts. Social media still counts. Despite my work in the industry, social media drove less traffic than referral sources from third-party sites – 15% less, in fact.
Content syndication sites like BizSugar, where I publish my content nearly every week, have resulted in subsequent inclusions in publications like Small Business Trends, the top driver of referral traffic in 2016. This showcases the power of content ignition, something I’ve mentioned in previous posts.
Among the hits produced by Small Business Trends in 2016, the lead driver of traffic resulted from a post featuring my exclusive interview on how to start a social media business. Again, this was a post that was not published this year, but in February 2015. Our clients often tell us they aspire for industry thought leadership. The internet provides a tremendous opportunity for this, but we must first generate authority. This is all part of being known on the web and it will be a hot topic in 2017. In fact, stay tuned for the release of Mark Schaefer’s forthcoming book, Known.
Social media still played a prevalent role in driving traffic to our website and increasing brand awareness, but not necessarily as a result of the company-run social media channels. For example, one of the blog posts referenced in Small Business Trends acquired only about 40 social shares from the Strella Social Media website, but over 1,400 shares from Small Business Trends. Social media clearly has an impact on reach, but it’s not always a result of our own social media efforts – we are still reliant on outside communities to ignite our efforts.
As you plan for 2017, current-year web traffic insights are worthy of analysis. I would love to know if you have any surprising revelations, as a result of this review.