Shares are usually a hot commodity in the world of blogging. But it is often forgotten that the biggest impact on the performance of a blog post happens within the first hours of the blog post being published. The only guarantee that any blog post is shared anywhere is to share it yourself and generate the initial sharing flare.
Therefore, the #1 rule to get more shares it to share the blog post yourself — instantly. Google picks up on trending content and guess what; sharing your own content all over the web counts in different ways. Simply pasting a link and a title somewhere isn’t enough because it doesn’t make your post stand out in any way, and nobody want’s to retweet something that looks automated.
A brief note: someone asked me why I wasn’t writing this article on content sharing in general. Content can be anything, but blog posts are what people are looking for so that is enough reasons for me to focus this article on blog posts only.
Google Trends Search Volume Analysis For The Keyword "blog posts":
The graph above just shows one more time that there is an enormous demand for blog posts because the search volume for the keyword “blog posts” has been skyrocketing.
That said, let’s dive into the world of how to set the base for a sharing tsunami.
How to Properly Share Your Own Blog Post to Increase Shares
Sharing automatically on a Twitter account, Facebook page, Tumblr blog or LinkedIn profile doesn't generate a vast amount of visits for the Average Joes among us. Automatic sharing in this case refers to connecting social media accounts to a WordPress blog, which results in an automated share that includes the post title and the link.
Automatically shared blog posts are usually not retweeted or reposted anywhere because the way they are shared is not optimized for the respective platform. Additionally, the standard social media networks are often overwhelmed with blog posts, and therefore have higher competition.
Social Media Sharing Best Practices
Here is a list of best practices regarding how blog posts should be shared to increase the chances of getting shared from you social media accounts.
Attach a screenshot of the blog post’s featured image and include no more than one hashtag. Usually, more than one hashtag will decrease shares, and attached images simply take up more space on your timeline.
Share between half a line of text up to two lines of text (which results in a maximum of three lines of text once it’s been shared) and insert the link to the blog post. Wait for the preview of the link to show up and remove it. The paper clip icon to attach an image will appear on the top right. Attach a screenshot of the blog post’s featured image. It will look small (about twice the size of your profile photo) but will be expanded beautifully to full width once it’s been shared.
If you have a company page, share the blog post normally on the company page, and then share it to the groups from your company page. This will give your company page visibility and followers.
If you want visibility for your profile instead, share it with the LinkedIn share button on your blog directly to the groups (without the status update because that should be shared with an attached image as mentioned earlier).
Most social sharing buttons count each LinkedIn group as one share and will display the number of shares below the button, making your blog post look popular instantly. Peer pressure is an important factor when it comes to sharing and most people will hesitate to share a post that has not been shared by other people.
Share it whatever way. On Facebook — more than on any other network — the variety of content overall matters most. If you only share links, Facebook will penalize your reach. Best practices include uploading your videos via Facebook and sharing them there versus sharing a YouTube video for instance. Vines are popular, as are 300+ word texts that do not contain a link.
Include no more than two hashtags because Google does not necessarily add automatically generated hashtags if you use more. The hashtags Google adds are valuable and often times increase the visibility and reach.
If you are using WordPress, automatic shares are in fact the best way to share things on Tumblr because they contain a link back to your WordPress site at the end, e.g. “Continue reading on WordPress.” That is a free call to action right there and let’s people know where they are headed which increases the amount of clicks to the site which in return increases the chances of shares. Additionally, Tumblr users have the tendency to share blog posts with the WordPress reference more than the ones without because of its professional touch.
Real Traffic Boosters
Most bloggers will use two-to-three of the social media networks mentioned above. While there are some tricks to help increase shares, the competition remains tough.
Here are five uncommon ideas that will boost your shares:
Vine is a free smartphone application you can use to publish videos that last up to six seconds. They automatically restart.
Create a six-second vine for any paragraph of your blog post or include another person’s vine that is related. Not only will it share wonderfully on Twitter and most likely get you the verified Vine account as a new follower, but it can be embedded in your blog post. Embedded vines add a video component to any post without the loading times and complicated uploading processes other platforms might have.
Create a YouTube video with a brief summary of your blog posts. Include the link in the description and ask people to hop on over to your blog for more. The trick here is to specify what more actually is, e.g. graphs, infographics, to leave a comment and so on.
Most bloggers have seen infographics so much they think they are no longer trendy or interesting. Well, anyone who blogs usually loves to read or has done research on blogging and therefore stumbles upon more content than non-bloggers. Infographics are hotter than ever because people now know what they are, have found a term for them and have learned how and where to share it.
You can give people the permission to embed your branded infographic and backlink it, readers can share it on Pinterest, Tumblr and other image focused platforms. Naturally it qualifies as a unique attachment to any LinkedIn and Twitter status update.
Infographics can be created free and in a couple of minutes with countless platforms such as Infogr.am or Easel.ly. If you have ever created an infographic and do not feel comfortable creating one yourself, go to statista.com and find infographics from reputable websites such as Mashable who even give you permission to embed their infographics on your (monetized!) blog.
Example of infographic available to anyone:
Now you might wonder what Infographics are doing among the list of uncommon traffic boosters. The entry barrier of animated content, videos, gifs, infographics and similar things is still high, and you are not the only one who hasn’t explored all of it. At some point though, anything that moves or has a bigger visual impact will compete with the written word, even if those words would win you a Pulitzer prize.
As reported by Forbes, most people are unhappy with their jobs. After having spent a long time at a job they hate, they surely do not want to force themselves to focus on a lot of text while being squeezed in a New York subway. An entertaining vine, quick-to-share infographic or otherwise entertaining post however might just do the trick!
Instagram is a free photo sharing app and in contrast to popular belief, there is a way to share a link with Instagram — in the bio. Jamie Oliver is a perfect example of driving traffic via Instagram because the description of the latest image may say, “To get the recipe, click the link in my bio.” Corporate Instagram accounts can be surprisingly popular and chances are, your competition is not using this method yet.
5. StumbleUpon Paid Discovery
StumbleUpon is a great social network if you are looking to boost traffic inexpensively long-term. For instance, you could run a StumbleUpon campaign for $0.15 per engaged page view (meaning the person at least scrolled or clicked) until you get to, let’s say, 100 views. You will then see in your StumbleUpon Paid Discovery report card that you earned free visits and that some users upvoted your page.
Even if you stop your campaign forever now, you will keep getting free visitors from StumbleUpon users because your blog has now been submitted; you have earned visits that result in upvotes which result in earned visits, which resulted in upvotes, which result in earned visits and so on.
It is a never-ending cycle. Even though you might only get five free visitors a week from StumbleUpon if you ran a small campaign for 100 views, you can scale it up if you like and the traffic will be laser targeted. Any blogger knows quality traffic counts more than quantity because it might result in your biggest client or that much desired Amazon affiliate commission when one of your readers finally purchases an engagement ring.
In order to increase your shares, you should offer a variety of entertaining content and share it in the most appealing way right away wherever you can. Be bold and try something different that your competition hasn’t thought. The truth is that readers enjoy sharing something interesting and you have the power to make it interesting. Offer the content in different forms and shapes, share it appropriately for each network and do not forget to ask people to #sharethis.