The amount of time the average human being spends on social media is increasing year-to-year, up in 2016 to one-third of all time online spent interacting with social networks of one kind or another, according to a report on Global Web Index.
It’s no wonder, then, that the importance of making it easy to share your products or content is also at an all-time high. But doing so isn’t as simple as posting links to Facebook and Twitter, it requires a much deeper integration with your website’s social media if you hope to squeeze the maximum value from what you produce.
Stick around, and we’ll go through some of the best ways to accomplish this integration so that your visitors can share everything you have as easily as possible.
Automate Your Own Posts
You probably already know that you should be posting your content or product pages to your business’s social networks, but doing so manually can be a time-consuming and inconsistent process. A much better way is to schedule and automate the posts using a third party service like Hootsuite, or a WordPress plugin like SNAP (Social Network Auto-Poster).
In this way, you can “fire-and-forget” your posts, getting them just right ahead of time, and then allowing the automation to put them out to the right networks at the right time, with little or no intervention from you.
Button This, Button That
There are many different kind of social media buttons, and many different places to put them. It’s important that you use a combination of different types and placements to compliment your content and accentuate the likelihood of sharing it.
Social Follow Buttons
The purpose of social follow buttons is to help you generate likes/follows for your business’s various social networks. They can simple, with just a link that pulls up your profile, or complicated, allowing visitors to follow you without ever leaving your page, but either way, they should be prominently placed. A typical placement puts them in the header or footer (or both) of your site, so that they show up on every page.
Social Share Buttons
These buttons make it possible for visitors to your site to share you content with their own networks without ever leaving the page. You’re going to want to put them on every page or post that you make and want people to share. There are many different approaches to doing so — at the top before the content, at the bottom after the content, in a floating bar to the left or right of the content, inline and interspersed throughout the content.
Which you choose will be a matter of personal preference, the reading habits of your visitors and how pushy you want to be about getting people to share. You can also use more than one type at a time, if you really want to reinforce sharing. Just make sure you have something in place. Modern visitors are accustomed to being able to share without having to copy and paste the link in themselves, and if you don’t make that possible, they probably won’t share what you have.
Sweat the End-Result
It’s not enough just to make the sharing of your content possible. You also need to make sure that once it’s shared, it looks as good as possible in the context of the social media network it’s shared on. One of the best ways to do this is to make sure that your website is integrated with Open Graph. Open Graph is a protocol that allows you to use the meta-data of your pages to dictate the way that content is displayed across a range of social networks. The previously mentioned SNAP plugin will handle some of this for you if you choose to go that route, as well as a number of Open Graph specific plugins. If you’re comfortable with code, you can also manually add the necessary info to your site.
Regardless, make sure you test out the sharing of your content on a number of different networks and see if it has the correct image, title, link and layout. If not, you’ll need to do some work in this area, because it won’t matter how many people share your stuff if it looks like garbage when it comes through.
If you follow these three guidelines, you’ll be sure that your maximizing the ability for social network sharing to help your business grow and prosper. Want to make sure your website is optimized for social sharing? Give the Solamar team a shout, and we’ll have you fixed up in a jiffy.