15 Ways to increase Social Sharing of your content

Discover 15 ways your can increase the social sharing of your website or content. Sometimes users need a bit of encouragement to share your content, other times you just need to give them the proper tools and their will enthusiastically promote your content across the web.

Here’s our 15 ways to increase social sharing:

  1. Offer discounts and coupons
    Create promotions centered around social sharing. Offer coupons or discounts on your online store if a visitor shares content. Major shopping carts like Magento have plugins available in which you can give a percent based discount on a single product or issue a credit to be used store wide. Service providers can deliver a printable coupon to users who share content using a variety of methods.
  2. Include sharing links within your content at both the start and end of a page
    Stick a users favorite social networks in their face and ask them to share your content. Don’t expect that people will copy a URL and share it, or that they will spend time looking for social sharing buttons.
  3. Mention users who engage with you
    @mattcutts asked on Twitter yesterday if I could explain how I mention users in a casual manner, and why I would do so. When you mention users on your blog, your readers will see that you are engaged socially and there are conversations they may be missing. Make readers feel excluded while offering a path to inclusion..
  4. Social sharing in E-Mails
    Include social sharing in your newsletters. Rather than forwarding an e-mail to a friend, you will receive more attention if you encourage a user to share your new product or service on their social networks. With an already engage audience and targeted emails your sharing could increase significantly.
  5. Strong call to action
    At the end of your articles, boldly ask for users to share your content. You can see an example of this which we have labeled as our 15th way. You should be bold, but not pathetic or demanding like we have done below. Provide a strong, concise call to action like “Share this article:” at the end of every post near sharing buttons.
  6. Gamification
    Hands down, one of my favorite ways to get users to share products with friends is to gamify sharing. You can offer customers a free product after X number of their friends purchase a product using their affiliate link. You should offer an easy process to share the affiliate link – buttons for posting it on major social networks and for sending to a friend in an email. Users shouldn’t have to “join” your affiliate program to get their link – all customers should have access.
  7. Integrate Open Graph
    Make it easier for content to be shared. Multiple networks other than Facebook will use open graph data to increase the quality of your shares. You don’t want your users to have to do unnecessary work, with the OGG protocol you can specify an image to be displayed with their share, in addition to default text.
  8. Don’t let people think they are the first
    Show readers and customers they are not the first to share your content. Do you think an article with 10 likes or an article with 0 likes is more likely to be shared? No one wants to be the first to share content, so you need to provide social proof and social reassurance that your content is worth sharing. This is why I really like to use AddThis on slower sites. You can arrange the icons to display the aggregate shares first. +1 your own articles, that way there is always at least one share. Take this article for example, no one has liked it or shared it. It makes you less likely to be generous and compassionate by sharing, and it makes me feel terrible that my content isn’t worth sharing. (17. Sympathy).
  9. Use a personal voice in your copy
    When you speak in a personal voice you connect more deeply with your readers. Maintain a consistent voice across your website. My voice changes throughout articles on this site, because I write articles slowly while working and often over a span of days (I have 12ish published posts, and 120 drafts on this blog). Rewrite content/posts to maintain consistency.
  10. Include Infographics
    People love to view and share inforgraphics. If you are presenting statistics and facts, create a large infographic to include with your article. If you can’t create an infographic for the particular content, try to include photos or other forms of visual stimulation. An easy way to find a free photo to use is to search Flickr for Creative Commons images.
  11. Use widgets sparingly
    Include widgets for connecting with your profiles when appropriate, but don’t overdo it. You don’t need 3 follow me on twitter buttons.
  12. Continue writing titles and H1’s for search
    People will recommend that you set your Title tags and H1 tags for social first. At a later date, after the content has made it’s social rounds, you then optimize and change the titles for search. This tactic is a pain for most sites and I would propose an alternative: configure your content management system with special fields for setting Open Graph titles. This way, your Open Graph settings have your optimum social tags, and your search engine focus is maintained.
  13. Have realistic goals
    If your content caters to a generation that is not engaging socially, focus less on social and more on traditional sharing on related blogs and news websites. If you expect to have activity levels standard in other industries you will be wasting valuable time that could be spent elsewhere.
  14. Display content specific sharing only on key pages
    No one wants to share your contact page, or your privacy policy. Remove social sharing links from those pages (do leave links to your social profiles). By removing these links from content you don’t need shared, you decrease the likelihood that when a user arrives on key content they have become blind to your social sharing links.

(15. Beg, Plead, and Reason) We hope you enjoyed this post. Please take the time to share this post with your friends – it would help us a lot, and take a fraction the time it took to write this post. Pretty please? 🙂

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