When you’re just starting out online, one of the most burdensome things to think about is your budget. You’ll see established marketers discussing the returns they make on their investments in paid traffic options, but your budget doesn’t allow for that.
An easy alternative that’s quite effective is to learn how to tap into the traffic that social media networks will provide for you. Used properly, meaning you’re not spamming people and risking your account getting banned, they can help you build a rapport with a loyal following who will actively share your links and ideas among others in the niche.
The best part about social networking sites is that they’re free – and in some cases, will even pay you to share your insight with their users. The more fans you collect, the more social proof you’ll have that will attract others.
It’s like a snowball of relevant traffic, and it won’t cost you a penny.
Using Facebook to Find Your Audience
There are different social sites that work best for different audiences. Sometimes a site attracts a specific demographic. For example, People 30 and up use Facebook more than teens, who turn to TikTok, SnapChat and Instagram to follow their brands.
But Facebook has a lot of benefits to online marketers in many niches. When it comes to businesses, it’s a free place where you can create a fan page or group that you can deliver your expertise in and where others can engage with you.
When someone sees something you’ve posted on Facebook, they can easily hit the Share button and cause your message to reach more people than the ones who were following you directly.
Facebook has a lot of social proof on it – allowing people to Like, Love, or Care about a post. They can also laugh at it, which can be good at times, or even get angry about it – something else that can also be good if you’re bringing awareness to something that you want to change.
The emojis are proof of engagement and it helps your newcomers see how effective your marketing messages are. There are many marketers who get engagement by writing things like, “Press Like if you agree and Love if you want to learn more.”
Others write a simple teaser about a topic and then say, “Comment I’m in if you want me to send you more information.” Some people think this is corny, but you’ll see lots of people chiming in to get more information, so it depends on the niche.
With Facebook, you’ll be able to share ideas directly to your audience in short posts, share videos that you wake, post images such as infographics or motivational quotes, and share posts from your blog to drive traffic from the social site directly to your own website.
Allowing Instagram to Showcase Your Authority
Instagram is an image-based social media site that works very well for branding yourself as a niche leader. You can include a hyperlink back to your blog or lead magnet page – wherever you wish – in your bio, and in each post, let people know that they can click the “link in bio” for more information.
This site has a variety of tools you can use to get engagement – it’s not just about static images. When you do post images, you can share more than one per post, and people can swipe through them.
While you can’t share different links for each post, you can brand your images with URLs if you want to enhance the traffic abilities of each picture. Side from images, you can use quick traffic generation using Stories.
Your stories posts appear at the top of the followers’ feeds and they can click on your story and see whatever information you’ve shared. Sometimes this will be a static image that you hyperlink out to a post and sometimes it will be a video.
Instagram allows you to post video streams on your account, too. Instead of a static picture, your posts can be video clips where you share insight, give your followers a call to action, and more.
You might also want to use your account to start using Instagram TV. With this built-in tool, your followers will see a one minute clip of your show and then click to keep watching if they choose to do that.
This allows you to make longer video shares on this social networking site. The great thing about this tool is that Instagram allows you to see insights for your efforts. So you’ll be able to see what percentage of the video people are staying around to watch, for example.
If you also have a page on Facebook, you’ll be able to share your IGTV recordings on that, helping you to grow your audience on both platforms. If you’re uploading from your smart phone, your video can be 15 minutes, but if you’re uploading from a desktop, it can be up to an hour.
It must be at least 1 minute, long, however. Some niches do really well on Instagram – especially ones perfect for images, like cooking, beauty, travel, pets and more. Use the search feature and see if your niche is popular on Instagram and scout out the competition to see how you could improve on what they’re offering.
Siphoning Traffic from Pinterest to Your Blog
Pinterest is another image-based social media site that doesn’t have videos on it, but is wildly popular with consumers in a variety of niche markets. You can promote services, digital products or tangible items on this site.
It’s perfect for marketers who are vendors or affiliates. The best part is, you can develop your own Pin strategy and easily duplicate your Pins with ease and speed as time goes on.
Every time you create a blog post, you can make a new Pin for it to share on this site. The images work best when they’re vertical in nature, and you can even use free tools like Canva that have built-in templates to use to promote your ideas.
Some people don’t realize you can make more than one Pin for a page you want to promote. So one blog post might have 2 or even 10 Pins that you create. You never know which one will get found or generate a better response by your audience and this gives you the opportunity to test out a variety of phrases, looks, branding and calls to action.
Make sure you’re using a Pinterest business account. It’s free and easy to do. They’ll walk you through the steps and you simply answer a few questions to get started before it’s approved.
Some people think they want to stay in consumer account mode, but then you’re missing out on the analytics the site provides for you about how your Pins are performing, and you won’t be able to promote your Pins if and when you have the budget for it.
Analyzing the results of your efforts is crucial to your success. There’s no reason to continue doing something if it’s not effective – it’s a waste of your time, so with analytics, you can cut out what’s not working and focus on what is.
As with most social networking sites, findability is key, so you want to make sure you master the art of utilizing the right keywords and phrases so that your target audience can find your Pins whenever they are on the site.
You’ll want to learn how to strategically set up boards within your Pinterest account, too. Some people mistakenly post everything to a single board, or do it randomly, but you want to methodically categorize your boards to appeal to Pinterest users.
You want your Pins to stand out, so understanding the colors, text and branding that works best in your niche is important. Look at your competition to see which Pins get the most engagement and whenever yours get comments, make sure you respond and build a rapport with those Pinners.
Using YouTube to Share Your Insight and Expertise
YouTube is a great free social networking site that many people use for free traffic and even to make money from. If your channel is popular, YouTube will send you a notice asking if you want to monetize it, so you’ll have a choice to make.
Many marketers don’t know that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, next to Google. According to Mushroom Networks, “YouTube processes more than 3 billion searches a month. 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute. It’s bigger than Bing, Yahoo!, Ask and AOL combined.”
That’s a significant audience to cater to on this site. And it has just about any niche you can imagine. People go on YouTube to watch videos about survival prepping, marketing, anti-aging tips, parenting, dog training, and more.
It’s for all ages and both genders, too. You’ll find people uploading videos more than once a day, weekly, or a couple of times a month. You’ll need to find which schedule works best for your niche.
When you create a channel on YouTube, you’ll want to use professional branding graphics for your channel as well as each thumbnail for your videos. These are important parts of the marketing strategy that help you get views.
People can subscribe to your channel and even choose to get notifications whenever you have a new upload. Like many things with marketing, you need to encourage them at the beginning and end of the video to give it a thumbs up, subscribe to your channel and click the notifications option or many won’t know to do it.
The call to action is crucial to your success. The great thing about YouTube is that they allow links on each of your videos, so you don’t have to rely on a single link like you do in an Instagram profile.
YouTube videos can be a variety of lengths. Besides music videos, people go on YouTube to watch product reviews before they buy something, as well as how to videos to learn something.
Some of the most popular videos are unboxing videos, where marketers who are affiliates for a company or platform order a product, and when it arrives, open it up in the video and discuss the item in detail.
You can create a channel that discusses products you want to promote, digital courses and how to guidance. For example, if you started a survival blog, you could discuss a box of MREs (meals ready to eat), link to your blog post about it where you’re promoting it, get them on your list with a mention of a free lead magnet report about food storage supplies, and sell them a paid course on how to grow a survival garden of their own.
There are all sorts of ways you can make money from a YouTube channel – and if being on camera scares you, you can record the screen using screen capture tools like Camtasia or record the products without your face being on camera.
Tapping Into Niche Trends with Video Streams
There are many sites and tools you can use to stream videos to your followers. You’ll need to look on each one and see if there’s a following for your niche. These are great when you want to make a quick video to talk to your audience without doing a heavily edited video.
SnapChat is free, quick and easy and you can sign up for a SnapChat account. This is a highly popular social media site for millennials, so if they’re in your target audience, you should be marketing to them here.
Instagram Reels is a newer creation that was launched that lets you publish 15-second video clips that you can create with effects and other creative elements. Not only can you share these with your followers, but you can also make them public and findable through the Explore feature.
TikTok has been very popular with videos, also to a mainly millennial demographic, but its future is uncertain legally in the U.S. However, if a deal is able to be worked out, it’s a platform you might want to consider setting up an account on to reach your target audience.
Facebook Live is a tool you can use to stream videos live from your profile or page. This is helpful if you want to generate a live stream from a mobile device or your desktop using a camera.
Whenever you go live, your audience can engage with you through the emojis or by commenting. This gives you the ability to answer their questions or chat with them and form a bond with them.
YouTube doesn’t just allow you to upload completed videos. They also have YouTube Live, which is free and allows you to chat and engage with viewers in real time. Your channel has to be verified in order for you to stream live.
Twitch is another live streaming platform that some people mistakenly thought was only for gamers. It’s grown into a platform that many niche marketers use to build a relationship with their fan base and it’s free to use.
Regardless of which social networking site you use to generate traffic and sales for your online business, make sure you take time to learn the proper etiquette. Never spam your audience and instead use it to generate good will and a loyal fan base who clicks on your links and trusts your messages.