Do you find yourself constantly chasing traffic for your website or blog?
SEO and paid search are great options to boost your viewer numbers, but both come with downsides. SEO is often super competitive for high-volume keywords. While the cost of paid search can add up quick.
Not to say you shouldn’t explore and optimize these traffic sources. But they’re just pieces of the puzzle.
Another valuable piece is social media. While other traffic sources come with a cost attached, getting your content shared and re-shared on social media is almost completely free.
With 326 million active users on Twitter, 1 billion on Instagram and 2.2 billion on Facebook, there is a massive audience waiting for you. If you can get your content out there.
It’s easier said than done. Sure, you can share anything on your social channels. But if you don’t get your content in front of the right people (or any people at all), it’s not going to make much of a difference.
Do it right, though, and social media can be a goldmine. You can expose your content to millions of readers, for very little cost.
Read on for a complete guide on social media sharing best practices, so you can start driving a ton of low-cost traffic to your site.
Which Social Channel is Right For You?
The first step is getting your content in front of the right audience. You want to concentrate your efforts towards the type of people who are likely to read your content, and ideally, take action afterward.
In 2019, there is a huge number of social media platforms to choose from. If you try to share your content everywhere, you’ll be up all night.
Don’t spread yourself too thin. Pick a couple of social platforms to start with. In time, you may be able to expand to cover more. But depending on the type of content you’re sharing, the audience you’re trying to attract, and the number of users active on each platform, you’re likely to see better results from certain sites.
Here are some channels to start with:
Facebook is the most popular site to share content, and for good reason. 2.2 billion good reasons.
If your target demographic is living humans, there’s a good chance you can find them on Facebook.
Facebook is also a great place to start because it fits almost any type of content. Video, written content and images all go great with Facebook.
The downside of focusing your efforts on Facebook is that it’s super competitive. You don’t need to compete in terms of ad spend, but you do have to fight for your audience’s attention.
With so many people sharing content on Facebook, organic reach is harder than ever. Facebook’s algorithm is geared to show what it deems to be quality content, meaning posts that generate a lot of engagement. If your posts don’t get much interaction, fewer people will see your posts.
If you can put out quality content that gets engagement, there’s a lot of potential with Facebook. However, you may consider going after platforms with fewer users, but an easier time getting your posts seen.
Despite “only” 326 million users, Twitter may be a better option than Facebook for most content sharing campaigns.
There are fewer people on Twitter, but those who are, are more prepared to consume content.
Many Facebook users are only on there to interact with friends and family and aren’t interested in your blog post.
Twitter, though, is a lot more informational. You’re more likely to find people who want to read something. Hashtags and mentions help you grow your audience and find new readers, too.
Instagram isn’t the best for every site. Like Facebook, it’s a more personal type of platform. It’s also heavily visual. It’s unlikely your blog post will get much spin on Instagram.
But there are still a billion people on Instagram. For the right type of site, Instagram can be very valuable. If your content has a strong visual appeal, such as photography or video, you should consider promoting on Instagram.
Once known as a job search/networking site, Linkedin has evolved into a great channel for content. According to this guide, Linkedin is used more than any other social network for B2B (business-to-business) marketing.
Linkedin is perfect for sites or blogs geared towards professionals. You have a good chance of getting in front of a targeted audience of people who are ready to consume content. Not only can Linkedin bring you more viewers, depending on your site or business, it can also bring in a good number of leads.
Like Instagram, Pinterest is a great medium for visual content. Infographics and photographs are great for this platform. It’s incredibly easy for people to consume content on Pinterest. Users come to the site to discover new things, which makes it great for creators.
Content on Pinterest is said to be useful by 78% of users. This means if you’re sharing content to get conversions (for e-commerce businesses, for example), Pinterest may provide a much better ROI than other channels.
There are many more social channels – these are just a few. You may want to post your content on Medium, share videos on Youtube, or share your posts on Reddit. As long as there’s an audience, there’s an opportunity.
If you find a channel that works for you, go for it!
Once you know the “where”, move on to the “how”.
Social Media Best Practices: Sharing Your Own Content
The first step to getting your content shared is to do it yourself. It should be a core part of your content strategy. After publishing a post, get it out there. Don’t wait for people to come to you.
It’s important to follow best practices though. Sharing is free, but your time isn’t. If you share content mindlessly, you’re going to end up with a lot of time spent for no return.
Good sharing practices make the difference between people reading your posts, or skipping over them.
Take the following into account when sharing content on social media:
Make your post stand out
Posting a link with nothing else behind it isn’t going to get any clicks.
Similarly, if you’re posting things that are too salesy or that go like “please click this link”, it won’t do much for you.
You’ve got to make your social posts stand out. Start with a funny one-liner. Use emojis. Including images with your posts is vital too.
Do something to make people stop scrolling and notice your post.
Instead of a “here’s my blog post, click the link”, always provide a little bit of value in your post.
If your followers genuinely like seeing Facebook posts or Tweets show up on their timeline, you’re going to get more clicks – as well as more engagement (and as a result, more reach).
Share more than once
This doesn’t apply for all channels. But for many social networks, the lifespan of a post isn’t very long.
This post lays out how long different forms of content generally last:
A post on Pinterest lasts 4 months.
A Linkedin post lasts 24 hours.
An Instagram post lasts 21 hours.
Facebook posts last 5 hours.
…and a Tweet lasts just 18 minutes!
For posts on Facebook and Twitter particularly, it’s not going to be long before your post is old news.
That’s why you want to share your content several times. Not straight away, but over a period of days or weeks.
Don’t worry that your followers will remember that you shared the same post several days ago. It’s unlikely anyone will remember (or care).
But do change up the content of your social media post. You don’t want to make it too obvious that you’re regurgitating content (even if you are).
Share at the right time
Knowing what we know about the lifespan of social media posts, it makes sense that timing matters.
You want to get your posts out there at the same time that your followers are online. Not only that, you want to post at the time people are most likely to engage with your posts (likes, comments, clicks etc).
This post from Sprout Social shows the best times to post on various channels.
The data shows weekdays between 9am-3pm have the highest engagement on Facebook. Monday-Friday 8am-4pm is best on Twitter. And Tuesday-Friday 10am-3pm is best on Instagram.
Weekends tend to have lower levels of engagement, which is why many marketers only post Monday to Friday.
Interestingly, Pinterest bucks the trend. Compiled data from Coschedule shows the best time may be between 8pm-11pm, on Fridays and Saturdays.
All this data gives you an idea of when you may want to post, but don’t take it as a rule. Consider that everyone else is following the same trends, so competition for visibility is higher at these times too.
It never hurts to test. Try posting at different times, and observe which times work out best. You might find you get a lot more clicks on Sunday afternoons, or Wednesday nights, for example.
Automation is king
Now, you’re not going to sit by your computer waiting to post at the most opportune time slots, are you?
It’s key that you automate your social media sharing. Your time is valuable, and if you spend all your time posting on social media, it’s not going to be worth the return.
Schedule posts days, or even weeks at a time, to get everything done and out of the way. If you’re sharing on a small scale, you may be able to do this directly on the platform. Facebook posts have an option to schedule instead of posting right away, while you can use TweetDeck to schedule posts on Twitter.
Once you ramp up, you’ll want to pick up a social media automation tool.
Social Media Best Practices: Getting Your Content Shared By Others
The real value of social media for your blog or website comes when others start sharing your content.
It opens your target audience up a lot, giving your content much larger reach than if you’re only sharing yourself. Plus, you get a boost in credibility and social influence when people share your content.
Social media is a goldmine when your content starts to circulate. But there are some things you need to do to increase the chance of this happening.
Put out great content
This is the first and most important thing to getting your content shared on social media.
It might be obvious, but you need great content. Don’t expect people to share average, run-of-the-mill content.
A bunch of 700-800 word posts might be good for SEO, but don’t expect this kind of content to go viral.
Not to say these articles are bad, but you want to focus your efforts more on long-form articles.
When sharing your content, it’s probably not worth sharing smaller, lower-quality pieces. Instead, put out in-depth articles which you believe will be useful to your audience.
These articles are much more likely to get clicks, and more likely for others to pick up and re-share.
As a bonus, by only sharing your best content, you develop a good reputation with your followers, and they’ll be more likely to notice whenever you post.
On the other hand, if you mix your awesome 10X content with a bunch of low-quality articles, they’re more likely to get passed over.
Use social media sharing buttons on your blog posts
If you want people to share your content, make it easy for them.
Friction is your enemy. Letting people share with a click of a button greatly increases the chance of them doing so.
Plus, by just being there, the social icons put the idea in your reader’s head. Sharing on social media might not be obvious to your reader straight away. It’s your job to give them a little push.
A word of caution about social sharing buttons. You should consider whether you want to include the number of shares on the button. If you have a lot of shares, this is great social proof, but if you only have 1 or 2 it could work in the opposite.
Many plugins have the choice to exclude share numbers if they are under a certain amount. If your plugin doesn’t work this way, consider leaving them out altogether.
Be active (quid pro quo)
Your chances of having your content shared, re-shared or re-tweeted are higher if you’re actively sharing other peoples’ content too.
It’s human nature that people are more willing to help you out if you help them out.
So instead of only posting your own content on your channel, be active. Like and share posts from other accounts, and you’ll be likely to get reciprocal shares.
Other ways to encourage sharing
This list is not exhaustive – there are so many things you can do to encourage people to share your content.
You might offer an incentive, or run a competition for people who share or re-tweet your post.
You might create round-up posts featuring other people or companies (making it in their interest to promote the content).
Or you could use a social locker plugin, which allows people to access extra content only after sharing on social media.
Get creative. Don’t sit back and expect traffic to come to you.
Tracking Effectiveness of Social Sharing
Your posts are getting a lot of coverage on social media now… awesome!
But you still need to address the real impact of your social media channels. To know whether it’s worthwhile continuing to promote your content on a channel, you need to set up and track goals.
These goals could be;
- Page views
- Followers gained
- Conversions/revenue generated
Setting up Google Analytics tracking on your site lets you see exactly where your traffic/conversions/trial signups etc come from. Then you can act off of that data.
For example, you might see that you’re getting a lot of sales conversions from Twitter, but not so much from Facebook. Working off that, you put more of a focus on sharing on Twitter.
Another example, you could notice a particular type of post (let’s say “how-to articles”) does great on Linkedin, but not so well on Twitter. As a result, whenever you write these posts you will share them primarily on Linkedin.
Along the same lines, you might find that social media doesn’t work for you. Perhaps you have a lot of impressions on your social channels, but few clicks/conversions. That’s alright – not every site or blog is optimal for social media.
As long as you are tracking this data, you can move forward and focus on another traffic source.
Social Media Sharing for Sites and Blog: In Summary
Social media can be a killer source of traffic for just about any site or blog. Most social networks have a huge number of users, allowing you to drastically expand your audience.
By following best practices for social media sharing, you can easily see your traffic (and conversions) skyrocket.
Find the best channel for you. Be smart about how you promote your content. Make it easy for people to share/re-share your posts. And finally, track the return you get from each channel.
Following the above may take your site from zero to hero, in no time.