Pop-ups, annoyingly-placed hyperlinks, endless requests in the middle of blog posts: These are ways to increase shares, but they all run the risk of backfiring, frustrating your reader, and sending them off to other sites. How can your blog increase shares without annoying your audience?
Here are some ideas:
1.) Make Sharing Easy
Readers are much more likely to share your content if they’re able to do so quickly, without interrupting their experience on your site. Position social share buttons where they can be found easily – maybe under your headline or in a well-placed sidebar. Or you can enable a click-to-tweet plugin, which lets users highlight and share facts or quotes on Twitter with a single click.
2.) Pick the Perfect Headline
No one wants to share long or uninteresting headlines, so avoid dull, businesslike copy. Instead, use your headline to engage readers’ emotions. Studies show that content with a positive message is much more likely to go viral, so use upbeat language to play to your readers’ feelings of amazement and surprise. Or try using your headline as a call to action: Make it clear how the content will enrich your reader’s life or make them look good on social media. And readers are much more likely to engage with your content if it leaves them wanting more. Play to this “curiosity gap” by using headlines to ask questions (“Are Hardware Keyboards Making a Comeback on Mobile?”) or set up a list (“4 Reasons Why You Should Consider the Podcast”).
3.) Get Visual
Research shows that including visual elements with posts can increase engagement by over 39% on Facebook, and by a remarkable 200% on Twitter. It’s easy to see why. Pictures, graphics, and GIFs are large and attractive to readers scrolling their social timelines, and they make your content easier to spot and more fun to share.
4.) Find the Right Time
Chances are, not everyone in your target audience is using social media at exactly the same time, and there’s no one golden hour that works for every blog or business. To increase shares without annoying your readers, find the time of day that your content goes the most viral. Try a|b-testing (or "split-testing") multiple posting times and keeping track of your social share data. If one window of time jumps out, try concentrating similar posts in that time frame.
And no matter what, be sure to share your stories multiple times to increase your total reach. When you publish a new blog, schedule multiple shares using software such as Hootsuite or Buffer to ensure as many readers as possible get the opportunity to see and share your great content.
5.) Share the Love
Don’t be stingy! Make sure you share other blogs’ content, so they’ll return the favor. Remember that Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus are for networking; sharing and engaging with your audience is a two-way street, and building up online goodwill could pay back in clicks. Plus, developing a wide base of followers and friends can help you “prime the pump” on new blog posts, giving you a built-in audience that will spread your content, making sure your social share numbers go up (and making your content even more attractive for new readers to share).
6.) Go Mobile
Did you know that Google’s mobile search algorithm now factors in mobile-friendly designs? It’s a sign of the times. More and more traffic and social sharing is happening on cell phones and tablets, and your blog needs to keep up. Be sure that your site’s interface is appealing and easy to navigate on mobile devices, and that your sharing options are as easy to locate on a phone screen as they are on a browser. The easier your mobile content is to use, the more users will be likely to share it!
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