Are you underwhelmed by your content’s performance 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:
How to troubleshoot your content:
1. Your content has poor titles.
You’ve heard it before: A great title grabs readers. And if readers 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 people bouncing from your site.
Fix this by:
- Checking the page titles section of your analytics report to see what content does well.
- Using social media analytics to figure out which post titles do best socially.
- Using some of these tips for writing appealing headlines.
2. You don’t have well-crafted content descriptions.
It’s a personal win for me when I go to share a piece of content and the pre-filled description already works. But it’s annoying when there’s no description, or when there’s an arbitrary piece of text from within the post.
Good descriptions are not only good for search engine optimization (SEO), but for social media sharing, too.
Get yours right by crafting descriptions as carefully as you craft 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. Your content doesn’t include images.
Failing to illustrate your content with suitable images is practically a criminal offense these days. As a marketer, you know including visuals increases attention for your content.
According to WebHostingBuzz, users upload 300 million images to Facebook and another 40 million to Instagram daily. Meanwhile, 12 percent of online adults use Pinterest. These three sites are visual and drive huge amounts of traffic, but your content needs images if it’s going to make an impact on them.
Add images to your most highly trafficked posts, and share them on your most important social media networks.
4. Your content fails to make a connection with readers.
People have to connect with your content in some way before they’ll want to share it. It must tap into their emotions, make them laugh, or make them strongly agree or disagree. If your content doesn’t do that, then it has a case of the blahs.
Fix this by reading these 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.”
How to troubleshoot sharing technology:
5. Your site doesn’t have social-sharing buttons.
It has happened to me many times: I read a great article and am ready to share, but then realize there isn’t a social media button on the page. Not one.
At that point, I have to be pretty committed to sharing to want to continue. And if I am committed, 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. Using social-sharing WordPress plugins or social-sharing buttons is a good first step.
Of course, that doesn’t solve all your sharing problems …
6. Your settings don’t include your Twitter handle.
This is a pet peeve of mine. If you’re going to include a Twitter button or social-sharing plug-in for Twitter, make sure you put your Twitter handle in the settings.
Not only does this make it easier for you to track mentions, but it allows the people sharing your content to start a conversation with you.
When time is short, no one is going to look around your site to find your Twitter handle.
7. You didn’t check for issues with the share buttons.
Sometimes the buttons don’t work properly, like when you share a page on Facebook and it stubbornly refuses to grab the image. Sometimes the share button randomly generates a pop-up that the browser blocks. And sometimes the button comes up blank or, even worse, fills the text fields with gibberish.
Even though these issues aren’t your fault, you will pay the price. 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 to see whether they are working as advertised. If not, change them.
8. You don’t know which social networks your readers like.
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 I mentioned earlier, if you don’t have the buttons Web visitors want to use, then the visitors probably won’t share. You need buttons for all the main sites, plus any niche sites you are using.
The fix for this is to find out where people are sharing your content, and where they hang out online. Make sure you have sharing buttons for those sites. You could also use a multiple social-sharing plugin to make sure you cover everything.
9. You don’t know when to use apps.
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.
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!
How to troubleshoot the audience:
10. You don’t know what motivates your audience.
The New York Times did a study on the reasons why people don’t share content. The study identified six audience types: altruists, careerists, hipsters, boomerangs, connectors and selectives.
All of these audience 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. You haven’t built trust with your audience.
If you’ve addressed other areas that make it difficult for people to share but they still aren’t sharing, then maybe it’s time to monitor your brand and see what people are saying about you online. People won’t share when they don’t trust you.
Build their trust by creating good content, nurturing relationships on social media, and avoiding heavy sales pitches.
How to troubleshoot marketing errors:
12. You use too many hashtags.
Another pet peeve of mine is when I try to share something on Twitter and find that the tweet box is full of hashtags—so many that there’s no room to leave a comment.
Including the whole blog title, all your keywords, the post title and the link is another error. Keep content short and sweet so people have space to give it some context.
13. You don’t use calls to action.
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 “please” and “retweet.”
Include a call to action at the end of every piece of content. Ask for shares and you’ll get them.
Now it’s your turn. What stops you from sharing content on social media?
Sharon Hurley Hall is a professional writer and blogger. A version of this article originally appeared on The Daily Egg.
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