Your website is great — engaging, insightful, and filled with information that can lead a customer through the sales funnel to the ultimate point of purchase. But how can you drive potential customers to that perfect site?

Many businesses believe SEO is the trick to securing website traffic, but the methodology for optimizing your keywords seems to change often, and a first-page ranking today can quickly fall to a second- or third-page placement tomorrow if you don’t keep up with the competition.

To drive traffic to their website, businesses should be turning their attention to social media — a veritable gold mine of website traffic leads for a company.

The numbers don’t lie – social media drives website traffic. A significant majority of social media users (81%) click through to a company’s website, including 21% who click through at least once per day.

81% of people click through to businesses' websites from social media

And the younger the target audience, the more effective social media can be.

For example, 90% of millennials (ages 18-34) are likely to click through to a company’s website from social media. Generation Xers (ages 35-54) are not far behind at 80%, while baby boomer conversion rates fall to about 61%, which is still a significant majority within that age group.

Generational Differences in How People Contact Businesses

However, those click-throughs don’t come automatically. A company needs to use the correct tactics to drive traffic to its website from social media. And those tactics will need to vary depending on the target audience.

The two most popular methods for social-media-to-website conversion are offers/promotions (27%) and images (25%). But although these are most likely to persuade people to visit a company’s website from social media, the tactics each attract a different audience.

Social Media Content That Persuades People to Click Through to a Website

Let’s start with the younger generation — millennials. Remember, this generation is constantly in “instant gratification mode,” and their attention spans grow shorter and shorter. In fact, millennials have an average attention span of 12 seconds. A business needs to be able to grab their attention almost immediately.

To that end, a business needs to use something quick and flashy to get them to click through. That is where strong social media visuals come into play.

Images play a larger role in millennials’ decision to click through to a company’s website from social media, as 33% of the age group will take that step based on a strong or intriguing visual.

Images drive 33% of millennials to visit businesses' websites from social media

The visual strategy is less effective on Generation Xers (21%) and baby boomers (12%) but still may convert some of those targets depending on the call-to-action.

Driving millennials from social media to your website requires visuals that are both effective and captivating. Think of a billboard on a major highway; as the millennial speeds by, you have just a few precious seconds to grab his/her attention. So, your image cannot be too complex, too abstract, or too lengthy to process.

Some effective image strategies include:

  • Infographics: These images present a decent amount of information in a compact package to drive interest in your products/services
  • Screenshots: Millennials love to see where they are going before they get there, so provide a preview of their visit to your website
  • Quick viral videos: These need to be brief and interesting to lead to a website conversion
  • “Behind-the-scenes” photos: There’s nothing like showing your staff fulfilling orders or playing ping-pong in the break room to garner interest
  • Quotes and memes: From the sincere to the outrageous, these text and image combos can capture attention if used correctly

On the opposite end of the target spectrum, baby boomers are more interested in value than flashiness. They are looking for some sort of bargain, and they are willing to jump through a few hoops to get more bang for their buck. If you give the right incentive, they will click through to your site.

Offers/promotions are particularly important for driving baby boomers (38%) to visit a company’s website from social media, more so than millennials (22%) and Generation Xers (29%).

Offers and promotions drive 38% of baby boomers to visit businesses' websites from social media.

Some effective strategies for offers/promotions include:

  • Exclusive discount ads and codes
  • Targeted ads depicting people similar in age
  • Customer testimonials
  • Celebrity endorsements

Meanwhile, the Generation Xers are in the middle, both figuratively and literally. As shown above, both the visual and offer/promotion strategies can attract a decent number of Generation Xers and get them to click through to your website from social media.

Social media can be a solid forum to drive traffic to your website. In order to complete the conversion, however, your business will need to use different strategies to attract different audiences — images for millennials, offers/promotions for baby boomers, and a mix of both for Generation Xers.

Using social media to drive traffic to your website is not easy, but it is essential. If you can’t do it alone, there are many digital marketing agencies that can help you create a successful social media strategy.

Kristen Herhold

Kristen Herhold


Kristen is a writer for The Manifest and focuses on social media, digital marketing, and advertising business trends.