Ways to Share and Get Shared Through Social Media
Sharing posts through social media is something you do regularly. But are you among the small minority who do it effectively?
If you are, you’ll notice your social sharing increases blog traffic. If you aren’t, you’ll hardly get any traffic at all. Let’s look at 10 ways to get people to share your content. We’ll assume you already know about quality and including rich media such as video in at least some of your posts. But what about the basics?
1. Pay attention to pacing and post/discussion life.
One common mistake even experienced bloggers repeatedly make is not taking into account:
- Post life
- Discussion duration
In fact, both have different lengths on different social networks, with Twitter typically possessing the shortest, and LinkedIn and Google+ both demonstrating the longest.
Find out the life of your post shares by using social media and blog analytics at your disposal – as well as a good dose of common sense. Be observant. While it’s okay to comment on a post from last Tuesday because it interests you, as an overall strategy this approach is not the most effective.
Keep in mind the old cliché, “strike while the iron is hot”. Post comments while the discussion is still active… and give your visitors and readers time to discover your post and react to it before you rush to post-and-promote your next one.
2. Pay attention to how you shorten – and create – your post URLs.
If you belong to the category of bloggers who hardly draw a trickle of traffic, your bit.ly stats will probably look like this:
And if they do, it’s ten-to-one odds your social media links look like this:
Take a second look at networks like Twitter. Notice that the people with the most interesting tweets have gone away from URL shorteners like bit.ly and ow.ly (though they do have their uses… on occasion). People are now using shorter link filenames – often including keywords or psychologically-proven trigger phrases.
One way to increase click-throughs and shares: Begin your post filenames with a simple trigger phrase that catches attention, such as “how-to”. Also, make some personal comments on the blog post you’re attempting to share.
Even typing something as prosaic as “reading about this” takes your tweet away from the dreaded canned-post appearance and gives it a personal slant. It reads as an endorsement to the other person’s post.
3. Pay close attention to headlines and graphics.
- Question: What type of blog posts do people share most on social networks?
- Answer: Their posts… and posts that have catchy headlines and attention-arresting graphics.
It’s Psychology 101: Any post that entertains and hooks them, they can’t wait to share. And it’s not always the most clever headlines that grabs attention. (Just look at all the “How to” blog posts that are shared.)
Another type of successful headline includes the word “you”.
Of course, you have to deliver on what you promised when they reach your blog post, or you won’t get a second chance!
4. Be sensitive to social network culture.
Don’t share the right post on the wrong social network. Some social networks are more suited to certain topics and types of posts than others. If you share the right post with the right networks (in the right way), your shares will steadily increase.
Here’s a rough guideline…
- Post business-related and focused topics to LinkedIn. No posts about your kids and dog.
- Share useful posts via Twitter
- Share entertaining and longer posts via Facebook
- Share all of the above on Google+ — though dramatic “art” photographs are trending right now
- Share entertainment and youth-related content on Pheed and MySpace
- Share hobbies on Yahoo!
- Share everything on Digg
5. Use the tools.
There are dozens of widgets and apps to help you generate shares. What these resources do is make it easy for your reader to share – and that can play a deciding factor on whether or not they do share your post.
Here are some of the most popular…
- LinkedIn share button builder
- Shareaholic publisher tools
- Twitter buttons
- Embedded Twitter timelines and tweets
- Customized twitter widgets for your blog
Combining your shares with a personal call to action can give your automated resources a boost, so experiment with that, too.
6. Be the question to the answer “I must find out what this is about…”
It’s no secret you should mix and match your posts, tweets, and feeds. One type of post you can try on occasion (especially if your post name is so long, you’ve had to use a URL shortener) is the “teaser” post.
That’s where you make a comment that is deliberately obscure – but irresistibly curiosity-arousing.
Here, actress Emma Watson does it to drive people to a photo, but you can easily apply the same technique on any social network to drive your fellow social networkers to one of your blog posts.
Just make sure that the post on the other end delivers a “WOW” factor!
7. Join Active LinkedIn Groups and share your post URLs.
Not only will you make new contacts and expand your reach when you join a LinkedIn Group, but you can also include direct links to your blog – as long as what’s on the other end will interest them irresistibly. (For example, answering a question on how to do something with a link to your blog post that shares the answer.)
Don’t overuse this tactic. Only pull it out of your hat when it is the perfect solution for the questioner.
Questions and statements that particularly lend themselves to this tactic:
- “Where can I find…?”
- “Can anyone tell me how to…?”
- “There seems to be little information on…”
- “How do you…?”
- “What if…”
If a Group’s culture allows it (i.e. there’s a precedent), you can also simply share the URL to any post you know the group would be passionately interested in reading.
Just be sure you’re saying something original, fascinating – and helpful.
P. S. Don’t join too many Groups – that’s like having fifteen children and finding enough hours in the day to spend quality time with each one: It just logically can’t be done!
Most experts cite 3-5 as ideal.
8. Find relevant conversations and jump in.
This doesn’t mean “belong to 100 Facebook Groups”. Au contraire, it means to be selective and put daily effort into finding conversations you can genuinely contribute to and enjoy participating in.
Your passion and engagement is something you can’t fake. Well, you can… but results will be so much stronger if you “walk the walk”. When you tap into a conversation you care about, your responses are less likely to come off as preachy, dull or forced. And, what is more, you are becoming part of a community – and communities are what social networks are all about.
Being part of a community adds to the social proof of anything you say… and any links you share. People get to know your face and name. That adds to the likelihood that they will click and share on your blog post links.
And if you’re part of an active, closed social network community, such as a Group, this goes double.
9. Share when your primary audience is online.
The first post about any topic – particularly blog links – is typically the one that will gather the most click-throughs and shares, so post it while your prime audience is online. That way, you will be at hand to read and respond to comments – and thank people for sharing.
Many people say you should never automate your posts, but what happens when you have a strong secondary or even primary audience from other countries or time zones…who are online while you’re fast asleep at 3:30 a.m.?
You can use a social media manager such as HootSuite to manage your automated posts… or install an app, if your particular social network has one.
10. Ask them to share.
Ask readers on social networks to share your link right in your social posts.
When they click through to your blog post, ask readers to share it, “Like” it or recommend it on Facebook, Twitter and any other relevant social network you’ve installed buttons for.
This blogger has the right idea, but the request is a little tentative:
The trick is to make asking for the share feel as natural to the reader as taking another breath. Try to make a smooth segue into asking; or else place a standard, carefully-crafted “resource box” at the end of each article.
There are many other ways to get readers to share your social media links and your blog posts. The key lies in keeping things all about your reader’s needs, interests, and online community culture.
As long as you do, your tracking results will steadily improve.