7 Ways to Optimize Content for Social Sharing

    by Pamela Vaughan

    Date

    September 14, 2011 at 12:00 PM

    shareSocial media can be a very valuable tool for promoting content. While it's a good idea to make sure you're spreading it to your direct network of fans and followers on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+, the true value that social media provides is its ability to spread content beyond your direct network of social media connections. By making it easy for others to share your content to their personal networks as well, you'll be significantly extending the reach of your content.

    So what can you do to help move this process along? While you can't directly influence whether someone decides to share your content, there are several things you can do to indirectly encourage and make it simple for them. Here are some great tips...

    How to Make Your Content More Social Media Share-Friendly

    1. Magnetize your article titles. By "magnetize," we mean it's important to make the article titles and headlines of the content you share in social media really stand out and pull people into your content. Boring titles be gone! Be sure the headlines you use are eye-catching, interesting, and clearly indicate what the content will be about.

    2. Keep your article titles brief. Certain social media sites -- like Twitter -- limit the number of characters that can be used in a post or update. When people share an article, they often like to include some of their own commentary with it. Keep in mind that the post will also need to leave room for a shortened URL to the content itself. Don't take up that precious social media real estate with a long title. Keep it brief so your sharers can add some of their own insight, too.

    3. Add enticing meta descriptions. When you share a post on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+, they automatically pull in a description of the post. Most sites generate this description from the URL's meta description. While meta descriptions no longer mean very much for search engine optimization, they are very helpful for social media optimization. Be sure each blog post, web page, and landing page you create includes an enticing meta description to motivate social media users to check out your content.

    4. Add an attention-grabbing image. Similarly, when posting content to social media sites, most sites will also pull in an image to show. Make sure your social media shares are more visually pleasing by making it a habit to add photos and images to all your content.

    5. Include hashtags or Twitter usernames in titles (when appropriate). Sometimes you want to give your content some extra visibility. Maybe it's an important news announcement or your talking about a particular person or event. When appropriate, consider including the event's hashtag or the person's @username directly within the title. Then when people share your content, it will automatically show up in the hashtag's stream or the @username's mentions, which will give it added visibility and encourage even more sharing.

    6. Add social sharing buttons. According to a recent study from BrightEdge Technologies, websites that include social sharing buttons generate 7x more mentions than those that don't. Adding social sharing buttons for sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ is a great way to encourage your site visitors to share your content in social media, so add these buttons to every landing page, web page, blog article, and other piece of content you create. Don't miss out on this juicy piece of low-hanging fruit.

    7. Make sure your content is high in quality. At the very least, the content you're hoping will spread in social media needs to be good. You can try every one of the tricks we just mentioned, but if your content is no good at its very core, none of it is going to matter. Focus most of your energy on creating high quality content, and usually, the shares will follow.

    What other tips would you suggest to make your content social media share-friendly?

    Image Credit: carlos_maya

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