Social sharing buttons on a web page content could singlehandedly determine how far it can go in reaching its target audience. Given the tremendous amount of exposure promised by these social media sites nowadays, social sharing has become a big aim for any business involved in online content marketing.
I am particularly moved to share this post based on experience from my recent tweak of the social sharing buttons on this blog. As you know I used to have only the native social buttons for Genesis theme on this site before, which is about six of them (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and StumbleUpon). Whether on your computer or mobile, these share buttons display the same way that you can easily use them to share my content to these respective social channels.
But I have discovered lately that the readers of my blog would rather add a picture to the blog posts before sharing on their social networks. And this is practically impossible on a platform like Twitter, for instance, where only the texts are pulled when sharing with the use of its social media button. I found one of my posts on Twitter that got a lot of Retweets and Likes simply because the sharer used one of the images on the post to share the content. I had imagined what the person would have gone through before adding an image to the post, may be, she must have initially downloaded the image from the blog post and then uploaded it to her Twitter content. Or she could have used a sharing tool like Buffer to pull the featured image directly from the blog post, and to do this, she must definitely have its Chrome extension installed on her browser.
You don’t have to let your readers go through all this stress before being able to add images to your content to share with their social audience, this will discourage many of them. And the fact remains that, posts with images or any media get shared on social media more than forty times as any other types of content. The social web space is jam-packed with a lot of information that users are already spoilt with choices, any content that is a little less appealing could be easily shunned for the next available flashy article that is staring them right in the face. You don’t need to be told that your readers would rather share your content with images than always sharing them as a boring text to their streams.
Getting the right content foundation laid is the first step to encourage more social shares from your audience. Let’s see how to do that and some of the other things that would make social sharing a breeze for your readers.
Include images into your social sharing plan
Since you are not going to be there when your readers are sharing your post to tell them to upload the images, the best way to do this is to integrate sharing buttons that can automatically pull one of the images in your post or that allow sharers to easily choose their images and upload right within its interface. One of the best tools in this regard is Buffer. I love Buffer not only because it allows you to schedule and share your content into multiple channels at once, but also because it lets you upload an image to include on each update.
This is particularly useful for sharing to a platform like Twitter that doesn’t pull an image snippet when you click on its social media button. Buffer is the main reason why I’ve decided to use a third-party sharing tool on this blog rather than sticking to the native Genesis’s share buttons. This is to cater to my readers who wish to add images while sharing my post on Twitter and other networks. You will be missing a lot of social media traffic if Buffer is not included in your social sharing plan.
Check to see your snippets are fully optimized
The markup data for your website for a particular social media platform shows you what your site will look like when shared via the social sharing buttons. This can be useful to determine what is displayed about your site content to the users on each channel. You can use the insight to optimize your social media and further increase your click-through rate. One particular tool that is powerful for analyzing social snippets is smo.knowem, this shows you the structure of your site when shared on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. You can also see your site’s overall SEO score that shows you relevant data in Title, Description, and keywords.
How it works is that you go to the link above and type in your site’s URL. This tool will analyze your markup code for Facebook’s Open Graph protocol, Twitter’s Summary card data, Google+ authorship, and LinkedIn. Then presents you with the rough estimate of what your site will display when shared to these platforms.
My SEO needs to improve as you can see below I only have a score of 33.3% for my optimization markup.
But I did relatively much better with my social snippets as I bagged 100 out of 100 in my Facebook Optimization score below. And such is the case with my other social media channels: Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.
Click to Tweet
This tool allows you to turn the key quotes in your content into tweetable links for your readers to easily share to their Twitter audience. You probably must have seen a blog post where a portion of it was quoted asking readers to “click to tweet”. To do this for your site, simply visit the address ClickToTweet, sign up with your Twitter and authorize, then copy a portion of your blog post and paste into the message box to generate your link. You will get something like this after placing the link on your content.
Readers of your blog can easily tweet any memorable quotes you have specified in your content. And this tool provides you with stats to see the number of clicks for each link that you can analyze to better tailor-fit the right quotes to your audience next time.
Unlock more shares with content locking
What does this mean? It simply means you can turn a part of your blog post to a bait to encourage more social shares from your audience. It works by you simply padlocking the most useful information in your blog post and providing the key to your readers in the form of social shares, in that, anybody that shares your post will be able to access this locked portion of your content. This has shown to produce incredible results in terms of the number of social shares a post can drive. People normally will come, read your post, and jet off to the next available content, especially, if your content doesn’t fit into their sharing plan on social media. But you can make them want to have one stop at your social buttons by using a tool like SocialLocker to lock up a key part of your post, with only clicking on your sharing button they will need to unlock it – after all, sharing is sexy!
Bind your readers to sharing with a captivating headline
Have you thought about how your headline can tremendously influence the virality of your content on social media? People normally will make the first decision about sharing your content based on how your headline has helped to connect them. If it appeals to their emotions and quite poised to a matter of significant interest to them, you will see a lot of people engaging your content back and front with multiple social counts for your gaze. You can use an emotional headline analyzer to get the score for your headline’s emotional appeal and see how you can improve on it to captivate more of your readers.
Social proof means social sharing
Do you believe that people will share your content more when they see your sharing counts flying high in hundreds or thousands of social shares? Well, that is most often the case as you will discover that the more viral your content moves on social media the higher the percentage of your readers who are sharing it even further. By showing your sharing counts or providing a proof of your extensive social media following, you are increasing the odds of people willing to share your content the more. Knowing the number of your social shares will also help you keep a tab on the traffic flow from these channels as your blog traffic continues to soar.
There are many social sharing buttons that are available on the web, of these tools, these are the few that you can key on their advantages of showing you share counts and other statistics: SuMome, Shareaholic, Warfare, Cresta, Simple Share (for Genesis theme, like the one on this blog) etc.
Provide option for image sharing
You will definitely have images within your post that catch many interests of your readers that they will like to save for the second viewing. Instead of only downloading those catchy images of yours to their local files, you can provide them with an option to also share them to their social networks. You can make it easy for them to share your images using an image sharing tool that places an option to share right on your images. SumoMe’s image sharer will show Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest’s buttons right on top of your images when hovered over.
Request automatic shares from your audience
Do you know you can help your readers automate the process of sharing your post on their social media? It means each time you publish a post it is automatically shared to their social streams even before they are aware of it. The fact remains that people are constantly scouring the web for content curation sources to engage their social media audience, it will be a wise move if you let your readers know there is a way they can automatically post your content to their social media. After all, they already like it.
Ask for automatic shares by showing your readers how to use a tool like Dlvr.it where they specify the source and the destination. The source would be your blog and the destination would be their social profiles. They can choose to share to multiple channels or just one.
Another similar tool to automate social sharing is Twitter’s feed. This is more like feeding your blog to their social media profiles so that whenever you publish a post their social media streams are automatically updated. This can also post to multiple sites at a time.
Over to you,
What steps have you taken to improve your social shares? How effective have they proven in getting you more blog traffic?