Social Media Drives Small-Business Web Traffic

Larger Sites Much Less Dependent On Social Media To Boost Web Traffic

Social MediaPopular social media services like Facebook and Twitter send small-business websites more than 50% of all the traffic they receive, a new study shows. The study results, compiled among Chicago-based sites by Northwestern professor Rich Gordon and Syndio Social CEO Zachary Johnson, illustrate why leveraging social media can be so critical to small-business marketing. "Especially for small sites, it is now as important to have a Facebook page as a home page," Gordon and Johnson wrote. Small business owners should "devote time and attention to winning 'likes' of their Facebook page, and update the page frequently."

By contrast, according to data, larger sites are much less dependent on social media to boost web traffic. Widely-viewed websites draw just 14% of their page views from sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, the study revealed. In another distinction, smaller sites also rely much more heavily on community partners to win Web traffic, demonstrating the need for local businesses to team up with their neighbors to help build their brands. "For small and medium sites, 24.8% of the referring traffic comes from other Chicago ecosystem sites," the authors say. "Small and medium sites are more than 11 times as reliant as large ones on traffic from within the [local] market."

In yet another study finding, the authors say the most effective small-business sites link to other sites, building a culture of reciprocity that increases page views. It is a mistake, analysis shows, for businesses to avoid linking to other sites for fear visitors might not return. "There is a statistical relationship between the number of links a site provides and the amount of traffic it drives – and that the relationship is especially strong for the smallest sites," the authors wrote.