Publishing high-quality content is really important, but if you’re hoping to grow your audience, making it easy to share on social can give it a huge visibility boost. When you publish new content and get more social shares, there’s a good chance you’ll also get more traffic. For each new person who shares your content, even more new readers will likely find their way to your blog.
So, what can you do to encourage people to share your content?
Make it easy to share your content via social networks
Before we can start encouraging social shares, we need to make it easy for people to share.
Fortunately, WordPress.com offers built-in tools that make this a matter of a few clicks.
The Content Distribution lesson in Module 4 of the Intro to Blogging course talks about the steps to connect your social account to your blog so that every time you publish a new post, it will automatically be shared on your social feed. Over and above the tools, the module also covers some tips and ideas on how to use social networks to create a sense of community and engage with your audience.
Limit the number of share buttons
We often feel like we need to make sure that every possible opportunity to share our content is available to our readers. However, it is possible to go overboard on this as well.
On my own blog, I used to add social share buttons for almost every network imaginable.
In time I learned that most social shares were happening across a small number of networks (e.g. Facebook, Twitter etc) and that most of the share buttons I had weren’t even being used. This made me realize it was pointless to include them all, while also helping me to understand where my audience likes to hang out.
But, another problem to keep in mind is that the more options you give someone, the less likely they are to take any action at all.
It’s a bit like sitting down to read a menu at a restaurant and finding yourself struggling to make a choice because there are so many items on the menu.
The bottom line is this:
Limit the number of share buttons, and prioritize the social networks that your audience is most active on.
Hide share counts if you don’t get many social shares
Share counts is a number that shows how many times a piece has been shared with each social network, and is a feature offered by many social sharing buttons.
Once you’ve started to build your audience, share counts can be a great way to offer social proof, validate content, and encourage engagement. But when you’re just starting out, a lack of share counts can inadvertently raise doubt in the minds of new visitors.
So, if you aren’t getting many social shares in the early days, it can be a good idea to use the button options that don’t display share counts, to avoid any negative social proof.
Once your social shares are increasing (and they will!), you can switch to the Official Buttons that will display share counts if desired. You can learn more about customizing the sharing buttons in this guide.
Make sharing fun and inclusive
There are plenty of tactics you can use to encourage your readers to share your content:
- Use amazing images: visual content performs incredibly well on social media, so a relevant, attractive image will often draw a reader to your post where text-alone might not. Make your posts pop, and they’ll be much more likely to be read. If it’s read, it’s more likely to be shared.
- Mingle and socialize with others: marketing and encouraging people to share your content can be a great way to establish a social presence for yourself. Get out and mingle. Weigh in on other topics and share other people’s content.
- Asking: Simply asking people to share your content can go a long way. It might feel awkward to bring it up but you could include a line at the end of your post. Something along the lines of “Caught yourself reading all the way till the end? Why not share with a friend.” could work wonderfully.
Results won’t always be instant, but blogging, in general, is a long-term endeavor. Soon enough, you’ll start to see more shares and all the good stuff that comes with it such as more traffic and audience growth.If you’d like to learn more about growing your audience, you’ll find various strategies included in the Intro to Blogging course under Module 4: Building an audience.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio