Is there a correlation between the number of social media followers a person or brand has and the amount of visitors and pageviews that it generates on their websites? The short answer – NO! Well at least for me.
Scott Jenkins and I were passing emails back and forth last week (I always think of Scott as Hodge from his former comic strip). He was looking to potentially increase his presence on Google Plus and noticed my follower count there and wondered if that has increased my overall pageviews as my numbers have increased. Honestly not so much because as Google Plus has increased, I have lost the pageviews I used to get from StumbleUpon and Digg (which are both dying a slow death).
Average Daily Visitors
People tend to assume that because I have a bunch of engagement on my site that it means I must have a ton of visitors. Well I am about to reveal my numbers for the first time publicly. When I was posting three times per week two years ago my average visitors was about 400 per day. Now that I only post once a week, it is in the 200’s. Here is how my numbers break down of where people are coming from to get to my site during May:
As you can see Social Media only accounts for about 16% of my total traffic with Search and Direct make up the majority. Looking just at Social Media you can see the effects of referrals from this year compared to last year.
Google and Reddit have increased while Stumbleupon, Facebook and Twitter have decreased.
While Google Plus was the majority of visitors for May, it has more to do with that being my Charity Challenge month and a larger influx of support with links to my site than typically.
So why waste time on Social Media?
Simple answer is that different ones may give you things other than direct traffic. The majority of the people who have converted to regular readers and commenters on my site, found me via Twitter (or me being social on other blogs).
Reddit gives you a thick skin (haha).
Google Plus has given me more commission work than I ever had directly on my blog or via other social media/search efforts. And here is the secondary benefit. An additional outlet for people to see my work and another outsource for engagement. I have several people who will engage with my posts on twitter or facebook but it is the exception versus the norm.
To be honest, I was of the belief that a social media platform should only serve to drive traffic to my site. And for those that display ads it is a potential worry if people are engaging with you outside your site, you won’t make money. But as I said I am doing better than display ad dollars (the majority of which is going to charity btw) and gaining another level of engagers who might in the future want to buy a t-shirt or book.
And the data pans out. Since July 2011 when I joined Google Plus, Beartoons.com had 495,971 pageviews. In the same time my posts on G+ have had 8,652,696 views.
This is what I do as a cartoonist. If you can give up control it might work for others. It varies a bit by social media but my posting schedule for Google Plus:
Day 1 – Post a link and teaser to my site (at times I might reshare this later in the day for those who are in different time-zones)
Day 2 or 3 – Post the actual cartoon on Google Plus. I have tips on what I find is the best way to do it but that is for another post. This step is for those that prefer to engage without leaving G+. But I make sure to put the link to my site in that post as well.
Important: I am getting bad at remembering at times on twitter or FB, but it is important to check your status at least daily so you can engage with those who comment. I see a bunch of cartoonists who post a link, have people comment and then you don’t hear back from them for days if at all.
So how does this play out to your own experiences?? Anyone want to confess what numbers they are getting on their own site and what they think helps/hurts?