This is a guest contribution from freelance blogger and writer Alicia Rades.
When you get a notification that someone tweeted or liked your latest blog post, you get excited. You can’t help but crack a smile and do a little fist pump because someone shared your content.
If you feel like the king (or queen) of the world and you do a little dance every time someone shares your blog post, get it out of your system now. Today you’re going to learn how to optimize your blog posts for social media, and when your notifications are ringing off the hook, you’re simply not going to have the energy to do a little dance every time someone shares your blog post.
Why do social shares matter? Well there’s the obvious. Social shares help spread the word of your content and brand, which helps drive more traffic. But what you should really care about is the fact that Google cares about social shares, so the more shares you can get, the better your pages will rank in search engines, which drives even more traffic to your site.
Check out these four effective tactics to help you optimize your blog content for social media to better promote your business.
1. Craft Your Headlines Wisely
Your headlines are perhaps the most important part of your social media strategy. Since your post title is the first thing your followers read on social media, you have to hook them so they’ll move on to read and share the post.
You can learn all about crafting powerful headlines for social media on Social Media Today. As this post mentions, it’s important to use emotion to grip your readers, but let’s dig deeper into optimizing your titles for social media.
First, let your readers know what the post is about so you can better connect with their interests. Someone who sees this title on Twitter isn’t likely to click on the link because they don’t know what to expect:
Trial and Error: How to Know When You’ve Got it Right
Okay: what exactly are you going to be talking about? This article could easily cover a range of topics, from learning how to parent and trying different recipes to discovering what works for you on social media. Instead, incorporate keywords that will connect with people’s interests. Some alternative titles include:
- Trial and Error: How to Tell if Your Parenting Methods are Effective
- How Using Trial and Error Can Help You Create Tastier Recipes
- Discover Which Social Media Tactics Work for You with Trial and Error
Another important headline tactic is to keep it short. Most bloggers try to keep their headlines under 70 characters. Why do bloggers do this? Because any longer than that and your entire headline might not show up alongside your links. This means readers could lose valuable information that’s meant to hook them.
2. Use a Photo with Your Content
Social media websites like Facebook and Google+ usually feature a picture when you share a link to your content. But when you don’t set a photo for your post, your link doesn’t look as appealing.
To make the most out of this, you have to consider a few things.
First, where can you find compelling photos? Glad you asked. You have several options:
- Take your own photos or hire a photographer to take photos for you.
- Find free photos on sites like CreativeCommons.org or Compfight.com. (Most of the time you have to attribute the image within your post.)
- Purchase photos on stock image sites like CanStockPhoto.com (photos starting at $2.50) or Getty Images (images starting at $25).
Once you’ve found an awesome image, you have to make sure it will show up properly when you share it on social media. In some cases, the social network won’t associate the image with your link if you simply insert the photo into your post. If you’re using WordPress, you can set a featured image, and Facebook and Google+ will usually use that photo alongside your link. To make sure, consider downloading the Facebook Open Graph Meta Tags for WordPress plugin, where you can choose which photo will show up with your link on social media.
3. Create Meaningful, Strong Quotes within the Content
When you have something interesting or meaningful to say, you can make it easy for your readers to share the quote by offering a “click to tweet” link. Since this tactic doesn’t require a lot of work for your audience and it easily draws attention to the sharing option, people are more likely to tweet your post.
A few ways to do this include:
- Head to ClicktoTweet.com and create your tweet. Generate and copy your link to incorporate it into your content. Easy peasy!
- Install the Click to Tweet by Todaymade plugin onto your WordPress site. In the CMS, click on the Twitter icon in your edit bar. Input the text you want people to tweet, and the plugin will create a box with your text in it and a “Click to Tweet” link.
Creating meaningful quotes isn’t only helpful for getting people to tweet your content. You can also use these quotes as a marketing tool to capture readers’ attention. Simply include the quote in your updates when you share the post on Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn to draw readers into your words.
4. Include a Call-to-Action
If your main purpose is to increase exposure on social media, ask people to share your content.
But it’s not always effective to simply say, “Please share my post!”. You sound desperate.
Instead, connect with your readers and make them want to share the content by focusing on how they feel or have felt reading your piece. Don’t just tell them to share your post, either. Tell them exactly what to do by mentioning which social media platform to share on so you don’t leave them with too many options.
Here are some examples of good calls-to-action:
- Loved these ideas? Let everyone know by liking this post on Facebook.
- Do you share these same views? Tell the world by sharing this post on Facebook.
- Rise to the challenge and help spread the word by tweeting this post.
Make it easy for readers to share your content by offering easy-to-find sharing buttons (because let’s face it, no one wants to waste time copying and pasting). A few excellent plugins that offer easy-to-find buttons include:
Let’s put some of these strategies to the test. Enjoyed these tips? Do your friends a favor and let them in on these blog writing tactics by Tweeting this post with the share buttons above.
Alicia Rades is a freelance blogger and writer. She manages a blog called The Writing Realm and offers blog writing services on her website at AliciaRadesWriter.com.