Delivering content to a certain section of an online audience is naturally a task more arduous than delivering content for a website which focuses only on bringing traffic in high volumes. You know your audience is watching you, you're responsible and every single member of the community counts. Social media is undoubtedly the strongest weapon a niche content portal can have.
Our company brings out news and focus stories in the field of adventure sports in India. Being the only website that collates this content in India, social media is what we thrive on. More than just focusing quantity, we focus on quality. So the fans who engage with us on Facebook and Tweeple who interact with us on Twitter are also our strongest voices who help automatically build traffic. Not only does this help us in building a stronger community and being the voice for it, it is also redefining how people perceive extreme sports- making them shift from being an armchair outdoors person to a real life adventurer. That's the goal. And social media is a tool that helps us nail it almost every time.
Here's how we're doing what we do best:
Focus on community building
I cannot emphasize any less on the fact that for any niche content portal to survive, the community partnerships are crucial. The stronger your community of followers, the stronger the effect of the content you produce. If a certain section of the community drops out or stops following you, you're back to square one.
Be a reservoir of 101's
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or any other channels are useless unless the content created is interactive or informative. We make sure that we don't jump the first step of creating content that has more relevance in the current state of affairs in the industry and needs immediate attention.
Encouraging sharing with hashtags
Every day of the week has certain hashtags that are reserved for that particular day. Over time, people get used to reading specific content that we pre-decide in the content calendar and publish. Eg: On a Wednesday, kayakers who follow us know that #WhitewaterWednesday is the hashtag for that day. We encourage them to use it in their tweets when we release any stories on kayaking . Following this practice definitely gets us more traffic than usual.
Collaborate events with existing brands in the space
We love doing small workshops on climbing, kayaking etc. and the fact that the space is still super niche, we get existing outdoors brands involved who in turn use their own social media channels to promote these events to their fans and audiences. The traffic gets a spike specially around these events.
Tips on how to get more traffic through social media:
Giveaways and contests are perfect for spiking traffic. These can be in the form of sweepstakes, voting contests, photo/video contests etc.
Some of our stories deserve a little more attention than the regular news stories. And we don't shy away from spending a little to advertise. Make sure you study the buyer persona well before you start a campaign. We generally promote the story every once every two months across various buyer personas. This also in turn helps us understand the trends and interest in sharing across different countries/cities.
The trends have changed and so has the algorithm for one of the biggest social media networks, Facebook. So what it really just boils down to is how much effort you are making to reaching out to your select audience. The numbers don't count so much. The engagement rate does.
Include links to your website in all the profiles. We make sure that every time we release something on Twitter, the accompanying photograph has a link to the website. It does its job, subliminally, so let the links sit there.
Share a weekly tip with a good looking, striking photograph to accompany it. These could come simply from the emails one receives or the FAQ's that come from the audiences directly.
If the content is not dynamic enough, any amount of efforts you put in the social media are going to go right out of the window. So handpick the most happening news stories and share them.
Since I'm sharing tips about building traffic. I would love to tell you about how closely social media effects our work and content. We have managed to raise 1.5 lakh Rupees for India's only Paraclimbing World Champion, Manikandan Kumar without the support of any crowdfunding websites. The campaign #HelpManiClimb was maybe not a trending hashtag but it definitely generated enough buzz for us to raise money for him through social media itself. He has now all set and left for the Paraclimbing World Championship 2014 in Spain on the 6th of September. All within a span of 2-3 days.
This for us is a bigger inspiration to continue doing what we do without having to worry about bigger numbers like others in the ilk.