If you've ever downloaded an ebook from HubSpot, you've probably spotted the social media sharing links we include in all our text-based content. Theses buttons encourage readers to share our content on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, so while they're flipping through the pages, readers can easily click on any of these links and let their social connections, friends, and coworkers know what they're reading.
Remember: people are naturally inclined to share content they find valuable. It shows to their followers that they're someone worth following because of the useful information they share, making them a valuable contributor to the social networks they populate. Furthermore, content sparks conversations and gives people fodder to comment about and discuss with their social media connections. On the marketing side of things, encouraging your readers to share your content in social media also extends the reach of it to people outside of your direct network. So why not make it as easy as possible for your readers to share your valuable content? Think about it as social sharing enablement!
But how do you create the social media sharing links like the ones you see in HubSpot's ebooks? In this blog post, we'll walk you through the process, step by step, showing you exactly how to create sharing links for the top three, most commonly used social networks -- Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. It's a lot easier than you might think!
For HubSpot's own ebook production, we use our internal brand templates on the design software program called Adobe InDesign. However, you can make your ebooks and whitepapers social even if you use something simpler like Microsoft Word or PowerPoint to design and lay out your ebooks. (If you're deciding between the two, we recommend starting out with PowerPoint because it's offers more flexibility with images and formatting than Word).
Creating social media sharing links for buttons like the ones you see above is simple. All you have to do is hyperlink the button/text with the right URLs.
How to Create Social Sharing Links for LinkedIn
The URL you'll want to modify for LinkedIn will look something like this:
In the example above, you'll need to keep the first part of the URL as it is and just change its ending (everything in the red text) to feature the link of the content you want people to share. In your case, you should be encouraging your ebook readers to share a link to the landing page of the ebook they're reading, so if others are interesting in reading it too, they have to complete the form on your landing page to get the content. Remember, you don't want to sacrifice lead generation here, unless of course you're not putting your ebook content behind a form. For instance, the example link above is embedded in our call-to-action ebook, sending people back to the landing page of that ebook.
Once you've formatted your link, take the full URL and hyperlink what you want people to click on to share your content, whether it's a LinkedIn icon or some text that looks like something this: Share on LinkedIn.
When readers click on this link (go ahead, try it!), a new window will open in their browser and they'll see something like the following, which enables them to edit the description, add an accompanying comment, and specify who can see their LinkedIn update. That's all there is to it!
How to Create Social Sharing Links for Facebook
The URL you'll want to modify for Facebook will look something like this:
Creating a social sharing link for Facebook works the same way as it does for LinkedIn. Just change the last (red) part of the above URL to reflect the landing page you want your ebook readers to share. Then hyperlink what you want readers to click, either a Facebook icon or some text like this: Share on Facebook
After clicking on the link, users will be able to select who they want to share their Facebook update with, add a comment, and edit the description of the link.
How to Create Social Sharing Links for Twitter
Creating social media sharing links for Twitter is a little bit trickier than LinkedIn and Facebook, but don't be daunted. The URL you'll want to edit will look something like this:
In the example above, you'll want to keep the beginning of the URL and edit the part after the equals sign (in the red and blue). Simply replace the words between the %20 characters (%20 represents a space) with the text you want to populate in your readers' tweet, and then change the link at the end of that snippet of code (depicted in blue) to refer to the landing page you want users to share. It's also smart to use a URL shortener like bitly to shorten your links before you add them to the code; then test your link to make sure it's 140 characters or fewer, within Twitter's character limitations.
We understand this may sound a bit complicated, and luckily there's a free tool that can do all the work for you, called clicktotweet. All you have to do is type in the message and the link you want users to tweet, and the tool will generate your tweet link for you. Easy peasy! Then hyperlink either the Twitter icon you want people to click, or text that looks like this: Share on Twitter
Clicking on the link will give Twitter users the ability customize and edit the update before they tweet it.
The great thing about all these social media sharing links is that you can use them to hyperlink text or images anywhere: within text-based content, on web pages and landing pages, and in emails. Try it out and let us know how that works for you!
Originally published Jul 19, 2012 4:30:00 PM, updated August 26 2017