Molly Buccini

Hey there – Molly Buccini here with this week’s Content and Coffee . Today we’re talking about the unexpected source of most of your referral traffic.

Most of us assume search is the best way to get people to our sites  – so marketers invest big in SEO. But a new report from Shareaholic suggests that we may want to start dividing and conquering, because social is the leader of the referral traffic pack, and it’s also eating into organic traffic’s lead. 

So who is the frontrunner? It turns out social media made up 31.24% of all traffic to websites in Q4 of 2014.

This is a huge shift in the way consumers are using the internet. Facebook – despite more competition and waning reach for brands – boasts more than a quarter of overall referred traffic – and its share of traffic is up a whopping 277 percent since December 2011.   

If you’re now scouring your analytics data and see that this report is completely out-of-line with your visitors, the question you’d need to ask yourself is: how do I bring my social audience back to my website?

When it comes to bridging the gap between your social presence and your website, Unicef’s Chief of Digital Strategy Jim Rosenberg said it best: “Social media is your embassy and a good website is your home country.”

On search, users’ only option is to click the link that leads them to your website, but on social strategists need to carefully balance engaging and interacting with their audience, while also encouraging them toward  the website.

This balance can be achieved through a combination of different social post types: visuals and videos, discussions and highlighted user generated content, and finally posts that provide links back to the website’s landing pages or blog posts. Companies that strive to give their audience answers they’re looking for on social will earn the clicks back to site pages when they seize the right opportunities to share links.

What are you doing to bring in those social referrals? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter. Thanks for watching – and tune in every Monday for a new edition of Content & Coffee.