Social Media Optimization Techniques to Squeeze Better Results

Social Media OptimizationDo you deserve to get more sharing of your valuable content on social media channels?  Well if it’s valuable content then of course you do.

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.

 

pinterest images

create pinnable images

 

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.

It’s not enough just to have sharing icons at the top of the post.  There are plenty of plugins which can help with this including Digg Digg, Flare and Po.st

Here is an example of the social sharing options on our blog:

 

social sharing

Social sharing should be very visible

 

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:

 

knowem social media optimization

View the social media optimization for any page on your website

 

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.

 

Twitter Card

You can see the image displayed 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.

 

SMO for Facebook

Here’s the results for Facebook. At 100% there is no further optimization 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.

 

Google Plus Follow

Get people to follow your company profile 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%.

 

Facebook Like

Display this as part of your thank you message

 

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:

 

Jeff Bullas

Sharing over email is controlled and monitored

 

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.

 

What’s next?

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!

 

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  • Mark Peters

    Thanks Ian, another great post. I think KnowEm can not only be used to optimize your own content – but also for doing competitive research. For instance you can see what keywords your competitors are after with their blog posts.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Yes Mark, good idea!

  • http://90DayEntrepreneur.com/ Brandon Schaefer

    Man, this is a bunch of stuff to digest… each one of the highlights may well be a full post in itself. Great stuff and incredible information! Thanks, Brandon.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thank you so much my friend!

  • SmartySEO

    જોરદાર પોસ્ટ :) @iancleary:disqus

  • http://www.antavo.com/ Zsuzsa Szabo

    What I also like is letting pwoplw comment your posts with google plus. This is how Ana Hoffman at Lead Generation Café does it.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Hey Zsuzsa, yes that’s a good way of generating activity on Google+. But I’m reluctant to move there yet!!!

  • http://www.blog.segretariaufficio.it/ Elisa Taffarel

    Awesome article! I always learn something new. Def love KnowEm. Thanks for the great job.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thank you so much Elisa, I really appreciate your feedback! Ian

  • Jill Holtz

    Great article Ian, like the attention to detail e.g. making best use of the Thanks for Signing up page. * scurries away to check what ours says *

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thanks Jill, the thank you page is a really useful page!

  • Amy Yoffie

    Great article. I am going to be trying out your suggestions. Just one question: How did you create the Facebook Like box that you showed?

  • Nandini Rathi

    Great post Ian! “Make the most of your Thank You Page” is indeed a very simple but pretty useful tip site owners often overlook. In fact, most people use a default Thank You page rather than personalising it like you said.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      You’re right Nandini, the vast majority of people don’t really put a lot of work into it!

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