If you want your blog to generate traffic then you want to generate social shares. It is not enough to have a share button. You need to remove every barrier to sharing content. The easier it is to share, the more shares you will get and thus the more traffic you will generate.
The best way to know why you aren’t getting shares is to try to share your own content. I want you to go on your phone (80% of users will be mobile users). Start with your home page. Can you follow yourself on Pinterest? Can you subscribe from the home page? If you had to scroll to do either of these, you are missing out on followers and subscribers.
Now click on a post. Can you pin the images? Where are your images? Can you pin the article at the end? Can you follow? Are there any call to actions in the text? Is there a way to subscribe?
In addition to removing barriers for sharing, you need to encourage sharing on the right platform for your niche. Where do your readers hang out? Does that platform convert to readers on your blog or just followers?
By now, you should see where I am going with this. You want to remove as many barriers to sharing your content as possible and spend your time and effort on the right platform. In this post, I’m going to show you exactly how to do that.
Disclaimer: Through no additional cost to you, I may be compensated from affiliate links included in this post. Learn more here.
First, let’s increase your social shares.
1. Put your follow buttons and subscribe button near the top of every page.
Spend more time on your widget area above or below your header. This space is what almost all visitors will look at. Place follow buttons and a subscribe button either below or above your logo. By utilizing the widget space at the top, this means these buttons will show at the top of every page on your site.
Unfortunately, this really depends on your theme. I have used quite a few themes in the past but will only ever recommend GeneratePress. It has allowed me to make my blog look exactly how I wanted, and it was so easy! I also was able to free myself of a lot of plugins by using this theme. Additionally, GeneratePress is the absolute best theme for site speed, which is crucial for SEO and user experience.
2. Try to make all of your images in your article “pinnable”
Adding images to articles already increases your shares since image-filled posts get more shares. However, you want to make sure all of the images (not just the pin images you created), are pin worthy.
What makes an image pinnable?
- Image is vertical (aspect ratio of 3:2 is best)
- Image is high quality without being too large (consider a plugin that does this automatically, like ShortPixel)
- Your logo or site name is on the bottom, which helps with branding
- There is a pre-written pin description (see number )
- The pin icon is on the image (see number )
3. Have pinnable images at the beginning and end of your post
In addition to images in your post, pick one or two images to turn into pins. In addition to the list in the previous point, be sure to add words to these images. You can use anything from Powerpoint to Canva to make good pins. The words should entice the reader to want to read your article.
The reason I suggest putting one in the introduction (beginning) and one in your conclusion (end) of your article is that most people will not read your whole article. The pin at the beginning is a reminder to pin it. Additionally, most people skim so words on an image is going to be seen and read.
The pin at the bottom provides the same purpose. If someone has read your entire article, then they probably like your content. They are most certainly going to save it or follow you if presented with the option. The pin image is a good reminder to save the content for later.
4. Do your pin images already have written descriptions?
I mentioned in an above point that every image should be able to be pinned not just the pins you create. Additionally, you want them to all have pin descriptions. That way when a reader tries to pin, they don’t have to write their own description (a barrier to sharing).
More importantly, you really want every image to have a pin description for Pinterest SEO. The description lets Pinterest know the content and therefore the Pin can be placed correctly by its algorithms. This means it will enter the correct searches and feeds. Without a pin description, your image or pin will never get in front of the right audience on Pinterest.
5 & 6. Use a plugin that places the “Pin it” button on every image and has a sticky share bar
Now that your images have pinnable qualities, you want the Pin it button on the images. You also want social share buttons to remain on their screen at all times since there won’t always be a pinnable image on their screen. Readers decide to stop reading at any point and if they want to share, the share button needs to be on their screen. Have floating share buttons on the screen is an absolute must.
A lot of people allows ads to be on floating at top and bottom on their mobile posts. While you will make more money this way from ads, I don’t recommend it. The social shares you are missing out on will lead to more growth and more income. These ads won’t help your site grow and what you can make from them is finite.
Social Pug and Social Warfare both have the “Pin It” option so every image can be pinned. They also have floating share buttons, which can be put on the side for desktop or top/bottom for mobile devices.
7. Ask them to share
While this might seem silly, it really does increase shares. A call to action at the end of every post is a must.
A good conclusion always gives the reader a few options on how to proceed. Wrap up your post by telling them what the post contained. Then tell them about other articles on your site that they might like. If they read your whole article, then they are likely to read another if presented with a few options.
A conclusion is also a perfect place to invite them to comment and share the content if they found it helpful. I also find that this is a good spot to tell them about what you offer your readers and encourage them to subscribe.
8. Have a follow me and a subscribe at the end
We talked about the importance of asking for a social share and the use of a pin in the conclusion, but you also want to have your follow buttons and a way to subscribe. This will allow them to follow your accounts instead of just sharing the post. While this isn’t a direct social share, it has the potential to lead to many social shares. A subscriber or follower will see your content more and therefore could share many posts in the future.
If you like to have your signature (example: xoxo Emilia) at the end of your post, have the social media buttons right under your name. You can also have them right after the conclusion. Below the follow buttons, I would place a subscribe form.
It is important that this isn’t the only subscribe form in the post. Most subscribe forms are actually not even seen by the reader since people subconsciously block out anything that looks like an ad. Make sure to work on your forms until you get good conversion rate.
9. Try in text mentions
While it might be hard to ask for a social share in the text of your post, you can ask for a follow or a subscribe. Like I mentioned above, subscribe forms are tricky because people usually ignore them since they are placed in posts like ads.
A lot of the times, people find that in text mentions get a lot more clicks and conversions since the reader is likely to read it. They know it is you and not an ad since it’s in the text of your post.
Depending on the article, you could tell them that if they sign up, they will get a freebie. The freebie should be something your readers would want so you should be able to put this organically into your article. For example, for the worksheet on how to get started, sign up for free.
10. Infographics and Video
I’ve focused a lot on images since I find that they are easiest to include in posts and really help you get shares. Additionally, most social platforms are picture based. However, infographics and videos result in even more shares than images. If you think your content would work well with either of these options, I would spend the time to learn how to make them.
Something worth noting is that infographics might not convert as well to actual clicks to your site. However, because of the high rate at which they are shared, they are still very worthy your time. The more your infographics are shared, the more people see your content. The more people who see your content will result in more followers.
Alright, now that you know how to improve your social shares, let’s continue improving your following rate.
What social platform should you be focusing on?
While a good step to any successful blog is creating handles for all social media platforms, it isn’t always a good idea to pursue them all. You have no idea what social media platforms will take off and which ones you will eventually use. So while it is a good idea to secure social media handles…
You could be barking up the wrong tree by spending time and energy on one platform, while all of your potential “followers” hang out on a different one.
How do you find out where your readers are and get followers? Let’s find out.
Make a handle for every social media platform
I emphasize this as a first step because once you have your blog name, you want to secure handles that match. The best way to grow any social media platform is for readers to easily search and find you on any platform.
What social media platforms should you look into?
Be a user
This is the critical step. In addition to knowing the basics of the social media platform, you need to know how your “reader” would use it. Here is what I mean by this…
Let’s say you blog in gardening. In each social media platform, before you try to post your content and get readers to read it, trying finding content about gardening. Try to be your eventual reader or follower and see how they would use that social media platform.
You could spend so much time and have awesome content beautifully designed for a specific social media platform but if your readers can’t find it, then it won’t matter.
By being the user, you see how people find the content on those platforms and the popularity of your topic on each platform.
Be useful to your reader on each platform
After learning what it is like to try and find similar content to your blog on each platform, find the “big” accounts. In every niche, there are going to be a few who have massive followings in your niche and your next job is to study them on that platform.
You want to see why someone follows them and what they offer that attracts followers. You goal is to see how they are useful to their readers on that platform and then to use this information to see how you could be useful to readers in that niche.
Tackle one platform at a time
You have a limited amount of time. It is better to use your time wisely. If you try to keep every social media platform along with your blog running, something will suffer. At some point or another, all bloggers hear the word blogging roadmap. While there are a lot of variations on what to do and when, all agree to focus on one thing at a time.
To decide which social media account to work on along with your blog, you want to pick the one that gets you the most readers. Readers will get you ad revenue, which will be your first big income stream.
Readers will also turn into subscribers and followers which result in more affiliate sales, sponsored posts etc.
A lot of bloggers start with Pinterest and after they get that going well, will add one or two more social media platforms. By waiting a while, you better understand your reader and your content has gone through a lot of growth since day one.
Additionally, remember that you can send an email blast to your email list when you open a new social media platform. Ever wonder how those people did it who say they opened a YouTube channel and gained 20,000 followers in one month? Which brings me to my next point: email
Remember, email is still important
While social media accounts and follow buttons on your site is important, you absolutely need to be collecting email addresses. Even if you don’t have a plan on what to send to your readers via email.
All social media platforms control how you interact with your followers (usually via a feed). And therefore, they can change that at any point. In fact, they might change their platform to the point that you won’t gain any new followers unless you opt for promoted (paying).
With email, you have the ability to contact your followers anytime directly. Not only can you update them on posts but also on new social media accounts. You will never have to start again from scratch, even if you decide to open a second blog down the road.
If you aren’t getting subscribers or you don’t know where to start on a subscribe form that actually converts, start here.
Never forget your funnel
In order for your blog to make money, you need a sales funnel. This is mainly from the simple fact that people need to see your content at least three times before buying from you. Therefore, social media is very much a part of your sales funnel and the part we will focus on here.
First, how does your blog and social media interact?
- You can get people from a social media platform to your blog.
- You can send people from your blog to your social media platforms by using follow buttons and MiloTree.
- You can provide more of your content through social media. For instance, your Instagram feed is your content but not your blog.
As you can see, social media is used to continually drive people back to your blog or back to your content. The more someone sees you, the better odds you have of turning a follower into a loyal follower, and then eventually a customer.
Continually check the flow of users on your site. Where are they coming from? Where are they following you the most? Can you increase engagement on a specific platform? You might find that you are spending a lot of time trying to keep a specific platform going but it doesn’t gain you anything because it’s not getting people back to your site or your content.
The value of social media
Remember, shares turn into followers who turn into readers who turn into subscribers who turn into buyers.
I know it’s tempting to try to sell, sell, sell loading up every post and email with affiliates but you are hurting your blog in the long run. Until you have an established readership, every time you send someone off your site to another site, you lose a potential follower.
Instead use these tips to increase your followers and social shares. Also analyze your social media platforms so your effort will not be wasted. Where are your readers?
The first goal of any social media platform is traffic to your blog. Once they are there, your main goal should be to stay connected in some way. The best way is to remove as many barriers to follow and incentivize email signs ups.
By taking time to really work on followers and readers, you now have also learned a lot about your readers. That way, you know their needs and can actually promote products that your readers will value.
Now that you know how to improve your social shares, let’s continue improving your site. Is your site memorable, do you know how to brand your site? Is your site fast? Are you doing everything you can to increase traffic?