Social Traffic: What Can It Do For You and Why Should You Care

Social traffic is the kind of traffic that comes from social networks. It is one of the default channel groupings in Google Analytics.

When you share a link on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, and someone clicks on it, that is reported as social traffic in your Google Analytics account.

But that’s not all there is to it.

What is Social Traffic: A Technical Definition

For a traffic to be categorized as social inside Google Analytics, it has to match the hostname in the document referrer to a list of known social networking sites.

Sounds complicated? A little bit. But you don’t have to worry about it. Google does everything automatically for you.

Sample social network traffic from Google Analytics

Importance and Use of Social Traffic

Growing the traffic coming from social media is important because of three things:

  1. Reach more people
  2. Sign of engagement

By posting on social media, you get to reach more people than you would normally have. Unless you have built up your SEO, or have an engaged email list, or budget for ads, the quickest way for you to get traffic to your website is through social media.

If you constantly get social traffic, it’s a great sign of brand affinity. Take a look at this Google Analytics account. Social media traffic accounts for the majority of the traffic to the site at the beginning.

Social traffic makes up majority of traffic

People keep coming back to the site. The brand posts primarily on Twitter and Facebook. It’s fans and followers then spread it further. People who see it click through and read the posts.

That’s the power of social media. You can use it to generate traffic and business to your site while you build your other channels. For example, SEO and organic traffic takes a while to build up.

Social traffic enables quick wins while organic traffic ramps up

While organic traffic ramps up, the traffic from social helps bring in leads and customers now.

How to Increase Social Traffic

There are various ways to increase your social traffic. Here are a few of them:

  1. Post Links
  2. Be Funny, Entertaining, Educational, or Controversial
  3. Use Rich Media
  4. Post Multiple Times

Tip #1: Post Links

The only way people can visit your website is if you post links on your social media accounts.

Sure, if you keep posting images, they might visit your profile and find your website. But seriously, do you even do that yourself?

And why make it harder for your audience? Why not post a link directly so they can read your post?

It’s the reason why Facebook Instant Articles and why AMP exist—to make pages load faster so people can read the content faster without all the ads and messy code that slows down websites.

Tip #2: Be Funny, Entertaining, Educational, or Controversial

Remember that on social media, you have a ton of competition as well. The algorithm isn’t your friend. At least, until you’ve proven that people keep engaging with you.

Have you noticed that the people and brands you often comment on, like the photo, share, or read are the ones that keep showing up on your feed?

It works the same way on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and every other social media sites.


Because their goal is to keep you in their platform. That’s why if they keep showing you posts that will give you a reason to get hooked.

It’s also why sharing native content is better than links. Native content simply means content directly posted from the platform itself.

A video posted on Facebook gets more views and engagements than a link to YouTube with the same video.

That’s why your posts have to elicit emotions so you get your target market to engage with you.

Tip #3: Use Rich Media

Another tip you can use to increase your social traffic is to use other types of media. That includes:

  • Images
  • Gifs
  • Videos

Or any combination of those. For example, you can use a video but it’s composed only an audio file and a photo.

There are a lot of ways you can apply this. The idea is to take a single piece of content then repurpose it.

Tip #4: Post Multiple Times

The final tip that you can use to increase social media traffic is to post multiple times. No, it’s not spamming if you’re not constantly selling.

If you’re posting funny, educational, or entertaining content, people will enjoy it.

But, as mentioned above, your enemy is the algorithms of social networks. It’s been said that only 5% of your audience get to see your posts on Facebook. And bigger brands can expect a much lower reach.

So if you only post once, there’s a very high chance that people won’t see it. That’s why there is nothing wrong with posting multiple times.

If you follow too #3, then you should worry about duplicates or annoying your audience. There’ll be variety in your posts.

That’s why new software tools like Meet Edgar or RecurPost are gaining momentum in the last few years. They make “reposting” your content easy by automating it.

You create a library, set a schedule, then it goes through it and cycles through your post until it runs out. Only then will it go back to the start. So, if you prepared 50 posts and decide to post only once a week, it will take a year before you post the same thing again.

Over to You

Social traffic is an important traffic source you shouldn’t neglect. It helps build your brand and reach new audiences.

By engaging with them, you learn more about their likes and dislikes. You find out what makes them tick.

You can use these insights to better serve them. You can create content that’s more catered to their needs; or launch new products or services based on you audience’s feedback.

But the biggest benefit you can get from social traffic is you can still get leads and customers and revenues from the get-go. It’s the fastest way to build your business as you grow more sustainable and higher ROI channels.

How are you using social traffic in your business? Are you putting all your eggs in one basket? Or are you using social as part of a more holistic strategy?

Ariel Lim

Ariel Lim

Management consultant / MBA / Inbound marketer who helps startups generate leads, create and execute strategies.

1 thought on “Social Traffic: What Can It Do For You and Why Should You Care”

  1. Thank you for mentioning RecurPost in your article, Ariel. We completely agree that social traffic is becoming more and more important as most of the people are active on at least one social media platofrms.


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