If you’re like most business owners, you created your blog to expand the influence of your brand and build an audience. And that’s smart, as it turns out that 41.67% of people measure the social influence of a blog by the number of social media shares it gets.
As a result, increasing social shares on your blog should be a top priority. But while you probably already know that you need to prominently feature social sharing buttons, make sure your content is high quality, include images and write captivating headlines, what else can you do to get your site seen?
Here are 10 other ways you can boost social shares on your blog to get your creative juices flowing.
Know Your Timing
There’s been a lot of research done into when the best times to post to Facebook, tweet, and blog are based on engagement. As a general rule, the best day to post a blog post for social shares is Thursday, while the worst day for that purpose is Tuesday.
That said, there’s no way that what’s right for one company is right for every other blog. Knowing your unique target audience, as well as when they consume media and what their sharing patterns are, will help you nail your timing and get your posts published at the best possible moment to capture valuable social shares.
Integrate Off-Blog Comments into Your Blog
If you share a blog post on other social media sites, many users will comment there instead of on the blog post itself. To capture this social proof on your blog, consider integrating Facebook comments onto your site and using the Twitter Mentions as Comments plugin to add Twitter replies to your WordPress blog. Doing so will help your visitors see who’s talking about your content—even if they’re doing it off-site.
Pro Tip: Ask readers to comment at the end of your post.
Quote, Interview, or Link to Experts
When you include material from other well-known people in your blog posts, you gain not only new readers, but additional credibility. Even better, the expert will often share your material with their own networks, increasing your reach and authority even further.
To use this technique, make it a point to reach out to any authority figures you reference immediately after your blog post goes live. Keep in mind that these influencers are busy people and they won’t be able to promote every content piece you bring to their attention. But over time, if you prove yourself with high-quality content, you can develop relationships with these authorities that can lead to substantial social interest for your posts.
Create Pre-Written Tweets
Click to Tweet is a great tool that makes social sharing extremely easy for your readers—and it’s one that we use frequently on the When I Work blog. Once you install and configure this plugin, your potential social shares can be pre-written, highlighted, and shared with a single click. Including pre-written tweets of key insights from your post will encourage readers to share and minimize the effort required for them to do so.
Pro Tip: Create at least 3 “Click to Tweet” opportunities for each post you publish.
Run a Giveaway Based on Shares
While this isn’t a strategy you can use everyday, you can get a significant short-term boost in social shares by running a contest or giveaway. By giving your readers additional entries for social shares, you’ll create a powerful incentive for them to spread your message on their favorite social sites. This works especially well if you’re trying to launch a new site or bring in customers for a new product.
Format Your Content for Social Sharing
When your readers share your blog posts on social media, is the result pleasing to look at? If not, you likely won’t get the boost you’re looking for from the shares, as social networks are predominantly visual platforms.
Fortunately, there are a variety of WordPress plugins that can help you format your content in a way that causes your blog posts to share well across different social media networks. Use them to encourage sharing by giving your readers something appealing to look at.
ProTip: Use Flare as your social share bar.
Share a Post Several Times on Your Own Social Sites
Sharing updates multiple times might sound spammy, but remember that it’s unlikely that all of your readers will see an update the first time you share it. By sharing it multiple times, you increase the likelihood that your followers will see and share your blog posts.
To simplify this process, try setting up a schedule like the one available with the Buffer bookmarklet to share posts at different times on different sites - without having to log in to each one individually.
ProTip: Read this post for proof on the effectiveness of this strategy.
Make Your Post Easy to Skim
Very few website visitors read every word you wrote before deciding if your content is share-worthy. In fact, some readers won’t read any words at all! By making your posts easy to skim, using bulleted lists and sub-headings, you’ll make it easier for readers to see the value of your blog post and want to share it with their followers - even if they don’t take the time to read it.
ProTip: Use headings, subheadings, bullets, numbered lists, and graphics.
Share Others’ Content
In business, you have to give before you get—and social media is the same way. If you’ve never shared others’ content, like someone else’s post, or commented on another’s blog, you can’t expect a lot of sharing yourself. Only after you become someone who’s known for sharing and liking great posts can you expect (or ask) others to share yours.
Connect with Current Events
Part of being easy to share is writing content that’s highly relevant to what’s going on in the news and the world. If Justin Bieber is trending due to his most recent arrest, or a funny meme is all the rage, capitalizing on the trend could help you boost social shares (as long as you do so in a tasteful way that’s appropriate for your industry).
Getting social shares is about more than writing great content. By following the 10 tips above, you’ll be encouraging your audience to share more of what you write - building both your audience and your influence as they do.
What do you do to encourage social shares on your blog? Leave your favorite tips and tricks in the comments below!
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About the Author
Sujan Patel is the VP of Marketing at When I Work and founder of ContentMarketer.io. He's helped companies like Mint, TurboTax, Salesforce, and others land more customers, make more money, and grow their businesses. As the Founder and former CEO of Single Grain, he grew his business from a bootstrapped consulting startup to a multi-million dollar digital marketing agency.Follow on Twitter More Content by Sujan Patel