But do you optimize the content shared to ensure it has the maximum chance of the best exposure on Twitter, Facebook and other channels?
In a recent post we covered a process for performing a social media audit which helps you understand what is working or not working with your social media efforts.
In this article we take it a step further and look at social media optimization techniques to drive even better results.
Are you ready…. here we go.
1. Encourage more sharing through better imagery
Imagery on a blog is extremely important. When you go to a blog post you might read the headline first but it is likely that if there is an image on the same page your eye will be drawn towards it.
I believe that every single blog post should always have at least one image but more is better.
Some people are fine just reading text but others like to see visuals. That’s why when we’re explaining tools we’ll always show a visual which gives people context and an idea of how the tool actually works.
To encourage more sharing through imagery, think about the following.
a) Create an image that describes what the blog post is about. If the image is pinned or shared anywhere then at least people get an idea of what the content is related to.
Here are 3 images recently pinned to Pinterest from our website. You can easily see what the content is about.
We use Canva to create the images but you could use other tools such Pixlr or Picmonkey. Read this post on the visual web tools we would recommend. Create 4 or 5 different style images and then just recycle them with different blog posts.
When you recycle them you can just change colors or fonts. This means you don’t have to think about creating new images all the time, which is a pain!
b) Make sure you also make it easy to pin the images. We use a WordPress plugin called JQuery for Pin It. When you hover over an image it displays an option to pin the image. This is a very effective and simple way to increase shares.
2. Encourage more sharing through sharing icons
You need to strongly encourage visitors to share out your content to social media channels. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you provide sharing icons for every social network available but you do need to make it very obvious that you want people to share.
Neil Patel is an expert internet marketer and through his research he found that on his site if he provide less options of social networks to share he gets more shares. He currently only displays Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
Here are some tips in this area.
a) Give people multiple options to share. There are many options for the palcement of sharing icons. At the start of the post, as they scroll through the post and even an option at the end of the post.
Here is an example of the social sharing options on our blog:
The main reason we have the social sharing at the top is to give people multiple options to share but it’s also required for mobile users. The floating share bar on the left hand side doesn’t work on mobile devices so by also having the sharing icons at the top ensures that mobile users are taken care of.
b) Leverage social proof. If you come to a blog post and only 5 people have shared the content you are less likely to share it.
If 100 people have shared then that is social proof. It tells you that the content is popular.
On some plugins (e.g. Flare) you can disable the count of shares until they reach a certain level. This is quite useful when you first publish a post.
3. Automatically add relevant information to content shared
Did you know that when people share content to Twitter you can attach an image to it that will appear within the Twitter stream?
Similarily, did you know that when people share to Facebook you can provide additional relevant information that is added to the content?
There is a social media optimization tool from a company called Knowem which analyzes website pages and to see if you are optimizing the content correctly for social media channels.
Here is a sample part of a report:
As you can see from above there is some optimization which is great but there is some Twitter information missing.
To understand the above let me explain some terms:
- Open Graph Protocol – This is a standard way of describing information. The purpose is to help products understand, interpret and act on this information. For example, if you share content to Facebook you can send details of this content through the Open Graph protocol and this helps Facebook display the content in the best way possible.
- Twitter Card – This is information you attach to a page shared that helps describe the page. For example, if I’m sharing a post with an image in it I can tell Twitter about the image. When you are viewing a tweet on Twitter.com Twitter can now display the image within the Tweet stream.
In the Knowem analysis of my page above, you can see there is some Twitter information missing (e.g. no twitter title or description) so it’s important to add this in.
When you run the report from Knowem you can also drill down and see individual reports for each social network to see if there’s any improvements required.
This tool does not cover Pinterest but within Pinterest itself you can now add additional information to content shared from your website, which are known as article pins. This means you can now describe what the content is about.
Cynthia Sanchez (Pinterest expert) recently talked with a developer who created a WordPress plugin to support this. Listen to it here.
4. Grow Fans or Followers
I’m not a fan of displaying a social media icon on your website which redirects someone from your website to another social network. Once you’ve redirected them they are not likely to come back to your website.
But you can grow your followers/fans directly on your site. Here are some examples:
a) Let them follow you without leaving your website. In a recent post on WordPress plugins my friend Kimberley Reynolds talked about a WordPress plugin she really liked called SZ Google for WordPress. This provides a range of Google+ functionality you can put on your website. One piece is a box which profiles your company on Google+ and lets your visitors follow you without leaving your website.
b) Make the most of your thank you page after subscribing. After someone subscribes on your website you should bring them to a thank you page. On this thank you page you have a great opportunity to get your subscribers to take action.
They are just after indicating they like you and your content so much that they will sign up to your email list. That’s a big commitment so it’s easy to get them to take a smaller commitment after this.
It’s the same as you buying an expensive suit or a dress and then you buy a load of accessories to match it that are actually quite expensive but don’t appear to be compared to the price of the suit!!
So what can you get people to commit to?
How about showing a Facebook Like box and get them to become a fan of your Facebook page before they leave your website. You will find that your conversion rate will be at least 25%.
5. Ensure there is a link back for email shares
This is one I haven’t implemented on my site yet but I am investigating the best options.
There are still a lot of people visiting your website, copying sections of content and sharing it with their friends. But when they share with friends there is generally no link back to your website.
But there are tools that can help.
If you are on Jeff Bullas’s website and copy a piece of content sharing icons will appear. You can click on the email icon and this is what gets displayed:
When this gets shared there is a link back to Jeff’s site in the email. Also Jeff is able to monitor analytics to see what sharing is happening on the site.
Jeff uses a tool called Po.st. This helps optimize the benefit of content shared.
No matter what we do there is always room for improvement. This article outlines how social media optimization can help with social sharing and building fans/followers.
Here’s 4 actions, pick one!
- Leave a comment, add your feedback or just tell us if you like this article
- Implement some improvements based on above.
- Read this article on how to perform a social media audit
- Share this post, that would be very nice!