Have you been underwhelmed by the performance of your content on social media? Do your analytics reports show that customers just aren’t sharing?
Here are some of the key obstacles to social sharing along with suggestions for how to fix them.
Image credit: Orin Zebest
1. Poor Titles
You’ve heard it before—a great title grabs readers. And if they already know your content, they may share a post before they’ve read it simply based on the title. In contrast, poor titles will send them bouncing from your site.
Fix this by:
- checking the page titles section of your analytics report to see what content is doing well.
- using social analytics to figure out which post titles do best socially.
- using some of these tips from Econsultancy for writing appealing headlines.
2. Poor Descriptions
You know what’s a win for me personally? When I try to share a piece of content and the pre-filled description already works. And it’s super-annoying when there’s no description or an arbitrary piece of text from within the post.
Good descriptions aren’t just good for SEO but for social sharing.
Get yours right by crafting descriptions as carefully as content, or using an SEO plugin to help you. The better your content looks when people hit the share button, the more likely they are to share.
3. No Images
These days, failing to illustrate your content with suitable images is practically a criminal offence. As a marketer, you know that including visuals increases the attention for your content.
According to WebHostingBuzz 300 million images are uploaded to Facebook each day and another 40 million are uploaded to Instagram. Meanwhile 12% of online adults use Pinterest. These three sites are visual and drive huge amounts of traffic, but your content needs images if it’s to make an impact there.
Fix this by selecting your most trafficked posts, adding images to them and sharing them on your most important social media networks.
4. No Connection
People have to connect with your content in some way before they’ll want to share it, either because it taps into emotions, makes them laugh, or makes them agree or disagree strongly. If it doesn’t, then your content has a case of the blahs.
Fix this by reading CrazyEgg’s posts on copywriting and content marketing to give your content some pizzazz. Pratik Dholakiya says: “If content is awesome with your users, it will be awesome on social media.” We agree.
Troubleshooting Sharing Technology
Image credit: Josef Stuefer
5. No Social Sharing Buttons
It’s happened to me many times. I read a great article and am ready to share, then I realize there isn’t a single social media button on the page. Not one.
At that point, I have to be pretty committed to the idea of sharing to want to continue. And if I do, then I have to use Buffer or go to the individual sites to share manually. Sometimes it’s too much trouble.
If you want people to share your content, you have to make it easy. That means using social sharing WordPress plugins or social sharing buttons is a good first step.
Of course, that doesn’t solve all the sharing problems …
6. No Username (Twitter)
This is a particular pet peeve of mine. If you’re going to include Twitter button or a social sharing plug-in enabled for Twitter then make sure you put your Twitter username in the settings.
Not only does this make it easier for you to track mentions but it allows the people who are sharing your content to start a conversation with you.
When time is short, no one is going to spend time looking around your site to find your Twitter handle.
7. Share Button Issues
Sometimes the buttons don’t work properly. Like when you share a page on Facebook and it stubbornly refuses to grab the image.
Or when the button comes up blank or, even worse, fills the text fields with gibberish.
Or the share button randomly generates a pop-up which gets blocked by the browser.
Even though these issues aren’t your fault, you pay the price because visitors to your site won’t share content if it’s too difficult.
The fix for this is to test all your social sharing plugins and see whether they are working as advertised. If not, change them.
8. The Wrong Social Sites
It’s not enough to have Twitter and Facebook buttons on your site; you have to be where your customers are—and they are everywhere.
As mentioned earlier, if you don’t have the buttons web visitors want to use, then they probably won’t share. You need buttons for all the main sites plus any niche sites you are using.
Image credit: Olivier Carre-Delisle
The fix for this is to find out where people are sharing your content and where they are hanging out online and make sure you have sharing buttons for those sites. Or you could use a multiple social sharing plugin to make sure everything is covered.
9. You Need a Special App
Facebook and Twitter (and any site with an API) allow you to create your own apps. Some sites take advantage of this by requiring you to install their app when you try to like, share or tweet.
Speaking for myself, there’s no reason to give your blog’s personal Twitter app access to my account when there’s a perfectly good Twitter sharing button.
This is one case when you don’t need an app for that!
Troubleshooting the Audience
10. Lack of Motivation
The New York Times did a study on the reasons why people don’t share your content. As part of that, it identified six different audience types: altruists, careerists, hipsters, boomerangs, connectors and selectives.
All of these types share for different reasons and if you want them to share your content, you need to tap into those motivations.
Social Media Examiner’s analysis of the study is a good place to start to tailor your content for better social sharing.
11. They Don’t Trust Your Brand
Image credit: Terry Johnston
If you’ve addressed other areas that make it difficult for people to share and they are still not sharing then maybe it’s time to monitor your brand and see what the perception of you is online. People won’t share when they don’t trust you.
Build their trust by creating good content, by nurturing relationships on social media and by avoiding heavy sales pitches.
Troubleshooting Marketing Errors
12. Too Many Hashtags, Too Little Space
Another pet peeve is trying to share something on Twitter and finding that the tweet box is full of hashtags—so many that there’s no room to leave a comment.
Including the whole blog title and all your keywords as well as the post title and link is another error. Keep content short and sweet so that people have space to give it some context.
Fix these errors by following Media Bistro’s advice on writing the perfect tweet.
13. You Didn’t Ask
Image credit: Colin K
If you want people to share your content, just ask. Dan Zarrella did a study of the words and phrases that garner the most retweets. Among them were the words “please” and “retweet.”
Include a call to action at the end of every piece of content, asking for the share and you’ll get more shares.
Now it’s your turn. What stops you from sharing content on social media?
Check out other articles by Sharon.