I’ve been trying to become more active in a web developer communities which I used to frequent these last few weeks. Now in more than one case I’ve seen topics of conversation go to Twitter and MySpace and Facebook as a means of “Driving lots of traffic to my site”. Heck that may work, but is it what you want?
Let’s say you go to your favorite fishing spot and after moderate success someone says “You can catch a lot more fish if you use dynamite.” And the poor, poor sucker you are tosses a stick of dynamite in the water. Boom goes the dynamite, and dozen upon dozen of fish float up to the top of the water for you to scoop up. Now you’ve got countless times more fish than you wanted…. but you were only fishing for bass, and you’ve got yourself no less than 15 different fish varieties. You may have countless fish, many more than on a normal day, but how many more bass did your tactic get you? A marginal increase? Some is greater than many.
Now that ridiculous example follows exactly over to social networking and using social media to drive visitors. Now these conversations i’m finding involve someone asking how to use Twitter or Facebook, and the user is getting several replies telling the original poster to create a massive amount of friends or followers and that by having that huge volume of people, that will translate into more people at their site. That may work, but like the fella with buckets of fish… If you are only looking for a particular niche of visitor you are trying to get to your site, your massive friend pooling technique will only result in a moderate increase in traffic.
Here lies the moral of the story: It is better to slowly grow a closely targeted group of followers and friends who are more likely to be interested in your content from the start, than try to simply pool together a large group of people who may, or may not be interested in your content. Targeted users are much more likely to not only click through to your site when you post a link, but also these targeted followers also provide you with a higher likelihood that they will become a continued visitor because you share a mutual interest and they fill the niche you are targeting.