If you’ve ever been in charge of marketing for an e-commerce site you know just how tough it can be have success engaging with social media influencers or potential SEO link-building partners.
This is particularly true if said e-commerce site does not have any social-friendly content formats (e.g. blog posts, videos, infographics, etc.). What’s more, the very nature of an e-commerce site can sometimes work against you in that static product pages do not make for very enticing link bait or social influencer currency. Sadly, these very common conditions can result in a demoralized social media marketer (or link builder) that is limited to only the most basic of techniques (things like paid engagement campaigns or directory submissions).
But the good news is that more often than not, e-commerce sites have access to a steady stream of potential social (and SEO) influencers available to them. And this steady stream is usually untapped and sitting right under their noses, just waiting to be found via advanced analysis of referring site data.
Still not sure of what I’m referring to? Let me give you a concrete example:
Let’s say I’m a blogger writing a blog post on weird christmas gifts. I’m going to need some examples, right? So I’ll probably do some searching, and when I come across a nice example (like this iPhone-compatible toilet paper holder) I’ll likely link to it from my post. And if my site has any semblance of influence (and site traffic) chances are that at least one of my readers will click on the link and be referred to that e-commerce site, which means that my site will be listed as a referring site in his/her analytics data.
This happens more often than you think, and it’s one of the ultimate forms of social media engagement (an unsolicited link or mention). Moreover, it comes in many forms (blog post, blog comment, forum thread, review site, etc.). And best of all, the individual or business entity responsible for the link/mention is indirectly expressing a desire or willingness to become an influential ambassador for your brand. In other words, if they were willing to link to you or mention you without being asked, they will likely be willing to do it again (and perhaps on an ongoing basis).
But here’s the catch; you have to be looking for this unsolicited engagement in order to cash in on the full social media (and SEO) value it can provide in the long-term.
For example, I’m 99% sure that the owner of the e-commerce site with the aforementioned iPhone toilet paper holder will not notice that I linked to him/her today. Why? Because like most e-commerce site owners, he/she is likely not filtering through his referring site data to check for new referring sites.
Mind you, it’s not enough to simply review your referring data on a daily basis (although that’s probably fine for smaller sites that have minimal referring traffic). Instead, the key is to filter referring data so that you can isolate sites that have referred traffic for the very first time or for the first time in a long time. For very large, enterprise-caliber sites it’s a good idea to review referring traffic data on a daily basis so that you can identify new referring sites and strike while the engagement iron is hot (e.g. within a day or two of the link/mention occurring).
This technique actually works for all sorts of sites, not just those of the e-commerce variety, but I chose to focus on its value for e-commerce portals because this particular technique circumvents the common e-commerce obstacles that I mentioned at the beginning of this post.
If you’re not already mining your referring site data in this manner, you know what you need to do. From here on out, every day could be filled with social media engagement gold that’s yours for the taking, and that has been slipping by you, unnoticed, until now.