In an ideal world, your blog will be able to achieve high traffic volumes (and perhaps even drive some advertising revenue) through subscribers and followers.
This goal is the endgame for people who want to blog for a living and some bloggers have indeed reached that point.
However, most bloggers aren’t there yet.
For many of us, social shares remain as valuable as followers themselves.
The Importance of Social Shares in a World of Blogging
Counting social shares on your blog resembles counting the number of people who “Liked” your most recent status on Facebook.
It’s nice to feel like people are liking what you say online, but thinking about it too much scan drive you crazy.
Getting social shares is the key to growing your online branding and your blog in general. When people are sharing your blog, you’re getting more clicks.
When you’re getting more clicks, you’re getting more people to read your blog posts and engage with what you are saying.
When more people are reading and engaging on your blog, you will gain more subscribers to your email list, earn more backlinks and get more interest from outside bloggers to contribute to your blog (or to have you contribute to theirs).
Tips for Getting Social Shares
As you can see, getting social shares on your blog is a bit like knocking over the first domino in a long chain of dominoes.
A single social share can set off a chain reaction that grows your following and gets you one step closer to blogging for a living. The question is, what can you do to drive social shares on your blog?
Let’s run through some social share tips so you can grow your blog!
1. Offer quality content
This tip is rule number one.
As a blogger, you also have to be a content marketer. Your job is to deliver unique, insightful and high-quality content. You need to give your followers something that they can’t find anywhere else.
The stronger your content, the more likely you are to get traffic, engagement, and more social media shares.
If you are an established blogger, then offering quality content (and offering it on a regular basis) is probably already your top priority. If you’ve been struggling with content ideas as of late, start thinking about your readers and their interests, hopes, fears, desires, and pain points.
Considering these factors should give you some ideas for articles that can start a conversation or ignite a viral sharing trend.
You can also use social media to find trending topics and identify subjects of interest in your niche.
You will get more social shares on newsworthy content, not just because it has relevance, but also because you and your followers can share it on social media using trending hashtags.
2. Ask your readers what type of content they want to see
Looking at trending topics or racking your brain to decide what type of content your readers will want to read can be exhausting. sometimes, the best way to develop a viral-ready content strategy is to bring your readers into the content planning stage. And I don’t mean as consultants.
Sometimes, the best way to develop a viral ready content strategy is to bring your readers into the content planning stage.
Build polls asking your readers what they want out of your content.
Ask about the topics they want to see covered. Ask about formats they prefer (such as written, audio, video or visual).
Ask what post length they like best.
You don’t have to change your content strategy completely depending on the responses you get (and you might not be able to since your readers probably want different things from you).
However, getting some insight on what might drive readers to share your posts will go a long way toward helping you get more shares.
Ask about the topics they want to see you cover, ask about formats they prefer.
Ask what post length they like best. You don’t have to change your content strategy completely depending on the responses you get (and you might not be able to since your readers probably want different things from you).
Getting some insight on what might drive readers to share your posts will go a long way toward helping you get more shares.
Polldaddy is a popular and very functional app for creating polls and surveys.
3. Start taking advantage of video content
One of the biggest mistakes modern bloggers make every day is being too traditional.
Most of us think of blogs exclusively as collections of written content.
The fact is that many of your prospective followers probably aren’t looking for written content. The average person has a limited attention span.
Formatting your blogs with bite sized, easy to read sections is one way to appeal to this modern reader, but embracing video content is even better.
According to Cisco, video content accounted for 70% of consumer internet traffic in 2015. By 2020, that number is expected to increase to 82%.
No blogger is going to be able to compete in that environment without video.
You don’t have to turn your blog into a full vlog or become a Youtuber to win social shares. However, incorporating video content into your blogs when you can is a smart strategy to win over new followers and keep your email subscribers interested Webinars, interviews, tutorials, and video news compilations are just a few examples of content you can try.
Webinars, interviews, tutorials and video news compilations are just a few examples of content you can try.
You might also consider launching a podcast and adding audio to your blog. The more versatile you are in your content, the more traction you will gain.
I have a video tab on my menu that links to my Youtube and that helps with my social media presence
4. Ask your email subscribers for shares
Sometimes, the simplest way to get what you want is just to ask for it.
Don’t go overboard asking for shares everywhere or you can start to feel desperate pretty quickly.
People who are reading your blog or see your social media posts for the first time probably don’t want to be bombarded with requests to share your content.
However, when you reach out to your email subscribers, you’re talking directly to people who know your blog well and probably trust you.
Asking your subscribers to share your content with friends or colleagues who might be able to get something out of it is a surprisingly effective way to trigger social shares. In many cases, your readers would be willing to share your content…
They just need a reminder or a good reason to do so.
For example, this blog that I started has over 25,000 active Subscribers so that’s a lot of shares if some of them shared the articles on this blog.
5. Build social sharing buttons into your blog design
If you want your readers to share your content and increase your traffic, you need to make it easy.
While some people will copy your blog’s URL, paste it on Twitter or
Facebook and write a post themselves most of your readers don’t have the time or interest to go to that much trouble.
Luckily, there are plugins and widgets out there that can add social sharing buttons directly to your blog or website with minimal effort.
Putting these buttons in prominent spots on your blog but not so prominent that they interfere with the reading experience.
These will significantly increase the number of social shares you get.
Just make sure you don’t crowd your page with too many social sharing buttons. You should choose three or four social networks to target.
Some sites have buttons for every social network known to man. A strategy which seems smart in theory, but which ends up being overwhelming.
Most blogs will be fine just spotlighting Facebook and Twitter. If you have a business oriented blog, you will probably want a LinkedIn button.
If your blog is based on art or design, you won’t want to forget Pinterest. What your blog is about (and what your target audience looks like) should tell you which buttons to use.
6. Use outreach to build your following
One of the most effective strategies bloggers have to build their followings is through outreach.
By curating guest posts from popular industry influencers on your blog (or by being a guest blogger on someone else’s blog), you can push traffic and attention to your site and your social platforms alike.
Either form of outreach can help grow your social shares.
If you can get an influencer to write a guest post for your site, that person will have reason to share a link to your blog on social media.
That single share can harness the power of the influencer’s social media following, making a whole new group of people aware of you and your blog.
If you publish a guest post on another blog, it will get your name out there and drive followers of that blog to check you out on the web.
In a way, the outreach process is a way for like-minded members of the blogging community to share followers with one another. It is a mutually beneficial strategy and one that is key for expanding your following and growing your social media footprint.
Even if you aren’t ready to offer guest posts on your blog just yet, you can still use their status to impact social shares for your site positively.
Interviewing a major industry player either for a Q&A or for a quote or two in an article you’re writing can do the trick.
You will get to retain full control over the writing on your blog, but you will still give influential people a reason to share your post and direct their followers toward your blog.
7. Hide your social share counts
Have you ever been to a blog that prominently displays the number of shares each page has gotten either at the top of each blog post or next to the social sharing buttons?
If you have, then you’ve probably noticed that the number of shares is in the hundreds or thousands. It’s rare to see a blog that displays social share numbers if it’s only getting about a dozen shares per post.
The reason is something called “social proof.” On Twitter, users are more likely to favorite or retweet a post if it has already gotten hundreds or thousands of likes or retweets. The same concept holds true for blogs.
If you can tell your readers that 300 people have shared your post, they are more likely to share it than they would if you only had three shares. Readers see the number of shares or engagements as “social proof” that a piece of content is valid or reputable.
Obviously, this entire post is about pushing your social media presence so that you can display high numbers on your blog pages.
Unfortunately, you aren’t going to get there overnight, and if your blog is still too small to drive more social share numbers, you’d be better off hiding the share numbers so that they don’t result in negative social proof.
Luckily, some social sharing button plugins will let you turn off the function that displays a number of shares. If your blog is still relatively small, use one of these plugins to hide share numbers until you start seeing more than a few hundred shares per post.
8. Be active on social media
This one might go without saying, but that doesn’t make it any less vital for driving social shares and traffic to your blog. If you want people on social media to promote your brand, you need to be active and reachable on social media.
Learn how to use hashtags on Twitter so you get more social shares to your blog.
These tactics will keep your brand visible on social media and keep you in the consciousness of your readers. By being more active on social media, you will encourage others to be active on your behalf.
Once again, your blog isn’t going to start getting a thousand shares per post overnight. Building that kind of hype takes time and a lot of effort. By playing by the eight rules above you should be able to increase your social share counts quickly.