I don’t even remember who posted the link this morning to this post: How to Increase Your Traffic From Facebook by 650% in 5 Seconds. It was written and posted on WPMU.org in May, and I hadn’t seen it, but now it’s really got me thinking. The meat of the article is that their site got a 650% increase in traffic from their Facebook site in one big spike. And that spike coincided with their turning off automated posting.
Automated posting involves linking your blog to Facebook and Twitter (and other social media sites too) in a way that whenever you make a blog post, it will automatically be cross-posted in those locations. That way, you don’t have to do all the manual work, but you’ll still get a lot of coverage. And thus, you’ll be very efficient in increasing your traffic.
But what WPMU noticed was that this cross-posting hadn’t increased their traffic, particularly. It was when they turned off the automation and started taking the time to post the blog link manually on social media sites that their traffic actually increased. This goes against the “efficiency” mantra that most marketers teach.
Siobhan at WPMU speculates that there are two possible causes for what they saw when they turned off automated posting. These posts tend to get, as she says, “mushed up” with other posts from the same source, on Facebook at least. How often have you seen it in your own feed: “See 11 more posts from…”? More importantly, how often have you clicked to see those other 11 posts? (Compare my first photo with the second, below. See what’s different?)
But also, Siobhan says that manual links on FB and Twitter stand out more, because you can add your own comments, or better still, pose a question that people will feel psychologically inclined to leap in and answer. So the post won’t just whiz by in a long news feed, but will be more visible. And…draw more traffic!
Back in April, designer and developer Terran Birrell had the same idea: Why not to Automate Everything, though his take was slightly different. He objects to how the automated posting programs usually just take the blog title and add a shortened link. No creativity or anything. And he believes the human mind can almost always come up with a more creative way of promoting a well-written blog post, again so it gets people’s attention and doesn’t just slide on by in a newsfeed.
So what do you think? Are automated posts the best way to get your links onto all your social media sites? Or do those few extra moments of posting manual links, with those added human touches in the accompanying comment, serve to get attention and bring more traffic? Have you noticed that switching from one mode to the other (in either direction) made a difference for you?