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A Marketer’s Guide to Increasing Social Shares on Your PostsPublished by James Parsons • Category: Social Media

Inevitably, there’s a certain disconnect between the goals and ideals of a blogger and a marketer. As a blogger, you just want to get your voice heard on the Internet at large. As a marketer, you want to promote your posts, grow an audience and, in most cases, sell a product or service. Fortunately, the ideals that support a marketer are the same that help a blogger reach their goals. What follows are tips straight from the minds of marketers, to help you succeed with your blogging.

1. Use Facebook Comments Instead of WordPress Comments

Most blogging platforms come with a comments system, which may or may not be enabled by default. Some require that you implement a plugin. In every case, comments enable you to foster a community on your site. However, what happens when you mix social media into the equation? You effectively split your audience in two; half on your posts and half on your social media sites. To unite your audiences, implement the Facebook comments plugin on your blog in place of the default. Now, whenever someone wants to comment on your post, they’re joining the discussion already taking place on Facebook. One audience, whole again.

2. Include and Optimize Social Sharing Buttons

Obviously, if you want to optimize the number of social shares on your posts, you need social sharing buttons visible whenever a user may want to share. Many blogs opt for a floating bar that follows as a user scrolls. This can be effective, but you need to format it right. Only include the social networks you want to emphasize sharing on. Make sure you don’t have duplicate buttons. You probably don’t need the bubble numbers, unless testing indicates in your specific instance that they’re more effective. Make sure they don’t overlap and block each other. You might be surprised at the basic mistakes some webmasters make.

3. Interact with Industry Thought Leaders

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Have you ever looked with envy upon the audience of a larger blog that dominates your niche, or a related niche, without being direct competition? Have you ever wished those people would come visit your site? If so, you have an easy way of making it happen. Approach the owner of that site and ask them for an interview! A good, insightful interview posted on your site will draw in people from their blog, to see what you got them to say. Furthermore, it encourages the interviewee to link to your blog, to share the interview. An organic, valuable backlink, a horde of fresh traffic and valuable content, all in one post!

4. Experiment with Gated Content

One reasonable way to increase the number of social shares on a post is to make sharing the post a requirement for seeing other content on the site. It’s easier to do with more concrete metrics, such as liking a social page or joining an email newsletter, but you can squeeze shares out of the gateway as well. Really, you should stick with follows and signups; the shares will come naturally as users find value in your content. Of course, the content they share will be gated, so anyone looking to see it will in turn have to sign up. As your reach grows, so too will your shares. You’ll want to publish at least some free content, though, to make sure users have a hook to bite so you can draw them into the gate.

5. Use Images for Social Thumbnails

As a user, nothing is worse than sharing a link and seeing a terrible social preview come up. Sometimes, it’s even grounds for deciding not to share the link after all. To alleviate this issue, set a primary image on your posts that’s attractive and illustrative. This image will allow users to easily generate an attractive Facebook preview, as well as give them fodder for Pinterest pins or Instagram shares. Incidentally, this is the same reason you should have a custom thumbnail for any video you produce; it just looks better when you control what users see.

6. Create One-Button Tweets

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Twitter is particularly powerful for social shares because you can set up a plugin to generate pre-created tweets. A user will see a preview of what the tweet would look like, complete with any link you’ve chosen to include. Generally, sites use this to promote specific quotes from the page – in the style of a pull quote – with a link back to the main content. Essentially, it allows lazy Twitter users to share your content with the click of a single button. They don’t need to type their own comment, make their own link or anything else. One click and your content is shared with their followers.

7. Include Bonus Entries in Contests for Sharing

You may have encountered this plugin already, if you habitually enter social contests. It’s one thing to require liking a page and signing up for an email newsletter to join the contest. This plugin gives users extra entries in the contest for tweeting about the contest, following a different social media account or, really, any other metric you care to add. Rafflecopter is the plugin you’re looking for, though other contest apps may offer similar functionality.

8. Include a Pinterest “Pin It” Plugin

This is a simple plugin offered by Pinterest itself that integrates the social bulletin board with your site. It’s completely silent until a user hovers over a picture, at which point a button to pin the image appears. Clicking the button brings them to Pinterest, where they can customize the pin or use the default. If Pinterest is big among your userbase, it’s a great feature to have.

9. Create Commentary on Current Events

Also known as newsjacking, providing timely, incisive commentary on current events draws users and gets them to share your opinions, if they agree. You can focus on global events, national events, local events – if you have a local business – or industry events. In every case, it falls under one of the two types of content; fresh and interesting. The other type of content, evergreen, isn’t easy to make with regards to current events, unless those events are guaranteed to last for the long term.

10. Guarantee Content Quality and Value

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Of course, all of this relies on you having content worth sharing. Make sure you proofread for spelling, grammar and factual accuracy. Make sure your formatting works. Make sure your images are compelling. Make sure your content itself is insightful, interesting and useful. In short; make it worth posting.

11. Post Frequently and At the Right Time

Everyone has a unique audience, and those audiences will be active at different times. Analyze the times of day your audience is active, and make sure to post during those times. Post frequently; daily posts on social media are important, and you need to stick around to interact after you post. Post at the right time, to catch as many users as you can.

12. Only Use Select Social Media Sites

It’s a good idea to have a presence on Facebook and Google+ at the absolute minimum. Twitter is also a powerful tool, and it’s a very minimal investment to use. LinkedIn can be potent in certain industries. Pinterest, Instragram, Tumblr, Reddit, StumbleUpon; these are all useful, sometimes, but if your audience isn’t big on the sites, you don’t need to use them. Don’t flood yourself with social media work; stick to the most valuable sites and expand over time if the situation requires it.

Written by James Parsons

James Parsons

James is a content marketing and SEO professional who enjoys the challenge of driving sales through blogging while creating awesome and useful content.

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