You know that effective social media promotion is one of the most important factors to building a successful blog. The problem is that you’re not quite sure what you should be doing to better promote social sharing on your blog.
It’s a dilemma I’ve faced on many different fronts – with different clients, and on my own blog. I’ve tested more social sharing plugins than I would care to mention, and piloted all sorts of different tactics to increase the number of shares per post.
It’s fair to say I’ve learnt a thing or two, and now I want to pass those lessons onto you, so you can work towards increasing shares on your own blog.
1. Write Shareable Content
It may sound obvious, but it all begins with your content. Writing the kind of posts that compel people to share can be a more effective step than the other four combined.
The obvious question is “what is shareable”? I could write a book on the topic (someone probably has), but let’s stick to the basics:
- Be controversial
- Be compelling
- Tell personal stories
- Have a personality
- Offer something different
- Write about social media
- Write a hugely informative list
When attempting to put together shareable content, make sure that your content has one or more of the above attributes. The key point is this – you have to offer something above and beyond the plethora of competing posts that will also be published on that day. And don’t just limit yourself to the above list – experiment with different ideas and note the results.
Let’s take a look at some examples of popular posts I have published:
- 5 Reasons Why Responsive Design Is Not Worth It – a controversial post which received around 5x time the average number of shares.
- The One Who Got Away – this very personal story attracted a lot of shares from Digg.
- The WPMU 100 – The Top WordPress Related Blogs On The Internet – this huge list of WordPress-related blogs, published to a WordPress-loving audience, attracted a lot of social sharing.
2. Ask Your Readers to Share
This is a simple one – ask your readers to share your content. Don’t do it every time, but when you’re looking to get some extra exposure for a post, just go ahead and ask them to share it.
Afraid of irritating your readers? Don’t be. If a polite request to share a post if they like it is met with irritation, you’re dealing with someone who is hardly likely to hang around on your blog for any length of time anyway. As long as you keep it polite and don’t overdo it, there should be no cause for irritation.
You would be surprised as to how a simple request can boost sharing. There are a few other reasons as to why my Leaving Work Behind 100 list fared so well in terms of sharing numbers, but one of them was the fact that I simply encouraged people to share it at the bottom of the post:
3. Ask Bloggers to Share
For the most part, bloggers are a thankful lot. If you give them in a mention in the post, many will be grateful and happy to share. There are of course exceptions, and times when you will be met with a negative reaction, but there is nothing with asking other bloggers to share your content, under the right circumstances.
The thought process should go as follows – am I benefiting the blogger in some way? If the answer is yes, then don’t be afraid to drop them a line and ask if they would consider sharing your post if they think it would be of value to their audience. The answer will often be grateful and positive:
Evidence of how successful this strategy can be found with my recent 22 Success Stories post. I asked each and every one of the 22 success stories mentioned in the post to share, and the vast majority did. This led to excellent sharing numbers across both Facebook and Twitter.
4. Install Digg Digg
As mentioned above, I have tried plenty of sharing plugins in my time, but I have always come back to Digg Digg (and haven’t strayed away for many months now). In my opinion, it is by far the best option for WordPress users when it comes to social sharing plugins.
Why? Because it is very visible, and easily accessible for your readers. You can see Digg Digg in action on this very blog, unobtrusively scrolling alongside the content.
Furthermore, you can also set the plugin to display social sharing buttons at the top and/or bottom of your posts. The key to social sharing is to make it as easy as possible for your readers, and Digg Digg achieves that.
5. “Tweet Me” Links
This is a personal favorite of mine, and one that I have demonstrated to be hugely successful in boosting sharing numbers by more than 25%. Here’s an example:
ManageWP bet me I wouldn’t tweet this (tweet this).
It’s that simple folks – just give people the option to tweet a quote from your blog (with a link included). Obviously the above is a rather cheeky example – the key is to write something that people will want to share (or goad them into doing so, as above!). It could be an inspiring quote, a valuable piece of advice, or something else altogether.
This strategy combats “sharing blindness”, where people ignore the sharing buttons on your blog because they are always present. Embedding tweets in this style places the opportunity to share right in front of the reader’s eyes.
At present, the easiest way of embedding tweets in this style is by using Click to Tweet.
Use Your Imagination
I deliberately included “tweet me” links as the final tip because it demonstrates how thinking outside of the box can boost your social sharing. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ideas to see how they affect your sharing numbers.
Do you you have any strategies that you use to boost social sharing that I have not covered here? Let us know in the comments section!