The current UK public panic at the petrol pumps started me thinking about the certain similarities with social media. Before you decide that’s a stretch bear with me
Some years ago when I took my first look at analytics I was shocked to discover there was no ‘long tail’ when it came to traffic stats. When you post on a blog or add something to a social network site the impact usually last for a very short time, it’s quite normal for 90% of hits to be in the first 24 hours. That basically means that if you want to engage through social media you need to do it regularly and preferably on a daily basis. Pioneer PR blogger Richard Edelman knew it with his daily ‘6AM’ blog. The founders of BEBO knew it (Blog Early Blog Often).
There are some exceptions, traffic from search tends to increase over time, but it’s no substitute for new content, and without new content your page rank will decline. Social networks, where the content is ephemeral, are on course to drive more traffic than search: for a few days if February Facebook drove more visits to The Guardian than Google did.
The message is simple – if you wanted to fuel traffic you have to make sure that sure that you are providing new content all the time, if you don’t your visitors will fill up somewhere else.