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Community Tip: Are you leaking traffic to Social Media?

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(Author note: This an independent discussion by the author. The views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of IPS.) 


There's a concept in subscription and business-oriented website design called traffic leakage.  It's an idea that you've worked hard to attract or pay for traffic, and you want to ensure that your landing pages / tour pages don't lose traffic while funneling users to the sign-up page.  

This is an idea that all communities can learn from.  The idea: you've worked hard to attract users with your compelling content and community.  How do you stop users from leaving?  

Open your community in another tab.  Answer these questions in the poll (and be honest!):

  1. In your homepage header OR footer, do you have any social media links? 
  2. Did you actually update all of those accounts in the past 7 days?  


My guess is that, like most community admins, you posted links to all of your social media in your community.  Because that's what you're "supposed" to do.  Because social media is all the rage.  But have you actually updated all of those accounts with informative, educational, insightful, clever, or useful information specifically on those platforms in a timely manner?  Probably not.  

I recently visited several online communities, some IPS and some on other platforms.  Goodness gracious.  They had more social media buttons than they had actual menu sections.  It's like they were collecting social media buttons like they were collecting Pokemon.  They had every button you could imagine: YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Discord, DeviantArt, Tumblr, Instagram, and even Etsy!  But when you visit these social media pages, none of them were updated!  Nothing had been posted in YEARS, and if there was a post, it was a generic re-post from the community.  By the way, the Etsy arts-and-crafts store for a gaming community was totally empty.  

gotta catch em all pokemon GIF



Social media buttons are okay .... but only if you're going to be active in those social media accounts. 

If you're not, then remove those social media buttons.  You're losing traffic to something that reflects poorly on your brand.  Keep your members and clients in the area where you're actually spending time on to impress and delight them.  


TL;DR Collect Pokemon, not social media buttons.

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  • 2 months later...

Yeah... I've just been avoiding social media for the past 15 years.

Sometimes I feel like an old fart who hasn't caught up with technology, but Social Media is a lot to manage. I don't know if you have any advice for social media marketing or social media management. I asked around and one thing they recommended me was using Hootsuite, but I feel like I need a staff member in charge of that. It's a whole different thing and it's really hard to manage a website while at the same time trying to maintain social media presence. A lot companies just spam social media sharing new blogs, articles, etc. but I feel like that adds no value to the end users so you might as well remove the social media buttons and not bother with it. If you're not a human octopus like Daniel Diaz who can play multiple instruments at once, my advice would be to focus on 1 channel.


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  • 2 months later...

Thanks @Joel R for this thought. I agree. If SM buttons are used, the channels should be active. Thinking of my own presence, I must admit, not all my SM channels are updated, even though I restricted the number of them...I will need clear one or the other. 

And, keeping those channels active, requires time. Something most of us do not have enough of it.
So less is probably more. 

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We have 5 social media buttons and each account gets updated at the minimum of twice a day by our social media team with any important news/updates/announcements, events, member spotlights, and sharing member content.  It is also secondary support for members who can't access the site for whatever reason, including when we have our own technical issues.

15% of our new traffic/members come from our social media campaigns.  We'll never hide them!  😜

Tips to anyone who needs help in the social media department:

  • Don't be afraid to shop around for programs that allow you to post the same content to all of your socials at once.  These are LIFE SAVERS.  While you do have to change a few details between certain platforms you want to post to, it is still insanely faster and easier to use these programs than to manually manage each social channel individually.  I can't recommend a program because one size does not fit all and really suggest you do your research.  There are free ones available, but the ones that have a fee are well worth it if you're really serious about this.
  • Do not.. DO NOT use social media as a replacement for users to visit your site and see the content directly.


    While sharing your community content isn't inherently bad, you want to build your posts to encourage engagement with the website still.  Don't give them the whole pie in a twitter post.  Let them take a bite of a slice and entice them to visit your community to really dig into whatever it is you're sharing. 
  • Engage. With. Your. Users. Offsite.  Don't create a brickwall where your socials are only used to shove information down people's throats and remember that communication goes both ways. Check out the people who like your posts, respond to comments, create a friendly environment.
  • Lastly, don't ignore or censor negative feedback.  It's just as important, some could argue more important, as positive feedback.  Open up a dialogue and speak with anyone who is unhappy about something.

Disclaimer: I am not a professional.  My experience with social media comes from a year of running the socials for a corporate company and the 3 years I've been running my current community.  Before I took over, our social medias were dead and posted to at the most once a month and they've come a long way.

Edited by ahc
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