Social media is key for content marketing success. Once you’ve put the work into producing a piece of content, you want it to catch fire and get tons of shares. All you have to do is blast the link across your social channels, and watch all the shares and traffic roll in.
Well, that isn’t quite how it works. And if your social media content isn’t performing, it could be because it isn’t very social media friendly.
Depending on how you look at it, social media can be a blessing or a curse. Sure, it is a great low cost channel for spreading your content, but it can also be a crippling scapegoat if you aren’t careful. You could but be publishing on social media regularly with little return on your investment, all with the appearance of doing “great content marketing.”
Are your readers actually sharing your content? Are your really achieving the social traction that you expected or deserve?
Is the good old hub-and-spoke model of content marketing actually working for you?
Fortunately, the problem may be entirely your fault. You may just need to make some basic adjustments to make your content more social media friendly. The more friendly you make your content, after all, the more likely your readers will be to share it with their audience. Here are five easy ways that you can do just that.
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1. Make Sure Your Content Looks Good On Social Media
One of the first things that you need to do is to make sure that your content look good when it is shared on social media. This relies on a small bit of meta-tag code that should included the <HEAD> of your html page. This code will provide instructions to networks like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest by telling them which image, title, and description to use when a post goes live. You can preview what your own link previews look like using this handy debug tool provided by Facebook.
There are several ways to ensure that your link previews always look great.
- The free JetPack plugin or Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress will make a "best guess" at what these link previews should include using data from the post itself. This is a good starting point, but may not offer enough flexibility for the power user.
- Tools like our own CoSchedule allow you to completely customize your link previews, giving you maximum editing control.
2. Write Emotional Headlines Because They Get Shared More
One of the ways to make your content more social media friendly is to write headlines that are more likely to be shared with others. There are some very simple ways to do this. For example, our research has proved that headlines with more emotional value tend to get shared more with others.
With millions of headlines in our system, we went through each one and calculated its Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) – a rating that attempts to measure the emotional value of a headlines. What we learned was that headlines with a higher emotional value were more likely to be shared on line.
The Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer is a free tool from the Advanced Marketing Institute that you can use to calculate the EMV of your own headlines.
Simply copy and paste your headline into the box and it will give you a calculated score of your headline’s EMV Score.
After researching EMV, we thought a great tool would combine that research with other elements of headlines that drive shares, traffic, and search results. That's why we built the headline analyzer. Try this tool to write even better headlines.
Write More Shareable Headlines With Our Free Headline Analyzer
The headline analyzer will help you:
- Use headline types that get the most traction for social shares, traffic, and search engine ranking.
- Make sure you have the right word balance to write readable headlines that command attention.
- See the best word and character length for search engines like Google and email subject lines, while also seeing how your readers will scan your headlines.
3. Make Your Content Easy To Share
By adding simplicity to your page, you can increase the likelihood that someone will share your content, immediately making it more social media friendly. There are few simple things that you can do to make this more likely.
Make Sure Your Social Sharing Buttons Are In The Right Spot
Not long ago we took at look at how the placement of social sharing buttons could best influence social sharing from our blog layout. What we found was that the top/left side of the page seemed to perform the best for most situations. Because most websites load content on the left side of the page, and based on how people typically look through a site, it is pretty easy to see that the most noticeable place for this type of activity is in the top-left portion of the page.
Add Easily Sharable Content To Your Post
Here at CoSchedule we made a simple Click To Tweet plugin for our own use, and have recently made it available to everyone for free. This simple tool allows you to easily add tweetable content to your posts. These boxes create important triggers that you can use to get your readers sharing content for you.
Make Your Images Easy To Share
SumoMe makes a great little tool that allows your readers to easily share your blog images via Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. It is the best option out there for sharing your visual content across the web.
4. Publish Your Content At The Right Time
- Most blog content is read in the mornings. However, men tend to be more likely to read content in the evenings.
- Monday is the best day of the week to publish content.
- Most blog posts gets the most traffic around 11am.
- Saturday and early morning visitors (9am) tend to leave more comments.
- Monday and Tuesday are the highest drivers of inbound traffic.
The take away on this data is pretty easy to see. It is likely in your best interest to publish your content early in the week, and early in the morning to maximize your social media impact.
However, that isn't the full story. Data from TrackMaven shows us that tweets actually receive the more retweets on Sundays. So, if you are looking at pure social engagement, you may want to keep a weekend strategy in mind. One great way to do this is to create and maintain an excellent social media sharing schedule.
5. Create More Engaging Social Media Content
Each social network offers a set of unique elements that will make your content stand out, and get more clicks and attention. Be sure to follow each intricacy, and make your content as social media friendly as possible.
Take Advantage Of Facebook Image Previews
One excellent way to make sure that your posts look good on social media is to use image posts. Even if you are sharing a link, an image post will give your content the most exposure and bang for your buck. Just take a look at these three options. Which one would you be most likely to click on?
Include Images With Your Tweets
Over the past year, Twitter has been slowly rolling out updates to all of their mobile applications and their website that significantly improve the visual prominence of images that are included with posts. It is pretty easy to see why they are more attractive.
Using Markdown In Your Google+ Posts
Markdown was initially created by John Gruber (of Daring Fireball) as a simple way for non-programming types to write in an easy-to-read format that could be converted directly into HTML. Google+ makes a limited version of markdown available for each post. With this capability, you can easily add bold, italics, and strike-through to your posts, making them more engaging for your audience.
As you can see from the example above, we regularly add italic or bold text to our posts to make certain items stand out and provide additional value to our readers. It's simple.
Now, Make Your Content More Social Media Friendly
These five simple tips can go a long way toward getting you more social media shares and engagement.
Do you have any tips you'd add? Drop us a comment below!
This post was originally published on Oct. 8, 2014. It was republished with new information on March 1, 2017.