Social media’s possible impact on your blog traffic is something you ignore at your expense. A big driving factor for your blog’s strategy should be how posts will be disseminated and shared on social media sites. Distributing your blog posts on social media can gain your blog a larger readership, as well as, wider reach and exposure.
Optimizing your blog posts for social media is not only good for your exposure and reach but can benefit you when it comes to search ranking. Search engine algorithms factor in social indicators, favoring content that receives a lot of attention on social profiles. Plus, the more your content is shared, the more traffic is driven back to your blog, which may contribute to boosting your site’s ranking, and provide a gateway to your reader’s turning into leads.
Tips for Writing Social-Friendly Blog Posts:
Think social with your content – Before you even start writing your blog post, think about how it will look, and be received on social media. What do you like seeing on your Facebook Newsfeed? What are you more likely to share? Think of a social audience when composing your posts and how you can start a conversation around your topic.
While you’re writing, it also doesn’t hurt to think of a particularly catchy phrase or angle that you can use as the teaser or status for promoting the post on social media.
Thumbnails, Meta Descriptions & More – There’s nothing worse than the sinking feeling social media managers get when they find amazing content, go to post the link on a social network, only to discover that the thumbnail doesn’t match the content, or worse yet, there’s no thumbnail at all, making it a very aesthetically unappealing post.
A general rule of blogging is to that you should always add some sort of visual in the post to keep people’s interest. Now there’s the added advantage of having a relevant thumbnail in link previews for Facebook, Google+, Linkedin etc. that will be more enticing than if you simply had the Blogger or WordPress logo as the default thumbnail on the post.
Remember that on social networks you’re essentially fighting against many different factors to get people to actually see your post, let alone pause their scrolling and take in what you have to say and share or interact. A compelling thumbnail, nicely worded meta description and title are all simple tactics that can have an impact on people stopping to take in your content and will show that you take care in what you’re sharing, making people more likely to pass it along.
Pinterest adds another incentive to feature strong visuals in your blog posts,since Pinterest posts are all about photos and graphics. If you don’t have a photo or video in your blog, then Pinterest won’t pick up anything that it can use to ‘pin’ the link to, rendering the post unusable for the site.
Social Outreach – When it’s appropriate, to further the conversation your blog has started, promote a Twitter hashtag at the end of your post. Make it concise, the shorter the better, to allow for more characters in the user’s post. People are going to share your blog on Twitter anyways, wouldn’t you like to be able to put forth your own hashtag for people to use, so you can search for it and monitor what people are saying? This also allows you to join in on the Twitter conversation, start discussions, thank people for sharing your blog, and retweet their own Tweets mentioning your blog post.
In general your blog should feature a social media call-to-action, icons and/or follow widgets to promote your social sites. You should also have a plugin that facilitates social sharing for your blog posts, such as WordPress’s ShareThis to easily allow your readers to post your content.
Tips for Sharing Your Blog on Social Media:
Don’t be an auto-posting robot! – People don’t like automated messages, whether it’s an election-time robo-call or a plug-in pushed post from your blog to your Twitter or Facebook. It looks lazy, unoriginal and will likely decrease the amount of people who interact with the post or even click-through to your content, which is the whole point of sharing your posts on social media!
Test it out – Before hitting ‘post’ take a look at the link preview that pops up when you copy and paste the link into a Facebook, Google+, Linkedin status field. This allows you to see how your link will look once it’s posted, so you can doublecheck important aspects like meta description, thumbnail and title errors (html code replacing punctuation).
Be a tease – A common mistake is bogging your social post down with all the important information featured in the blog. You want to give people an incentive for clicking through to your post, not gain everything they needed to know just by scanning your post in their Newsfeed.
In the same vein, avoid simply rehashing the title of your blog in the status promoting the blog. People will see the title in the link preview; writing it in the status content is redundant. Twitter is the exception to this rule, since you should be shrinking the link to make more room for the written part of your post that should be enticing your followers to click through to the link.
Prioritize for the most compelling post – Sometimes you may want to let your actual blog link take a backseat in a social media post. If an image or video that you feature in the blog is more compelling and more likely to draw in people to the post, then you should have that be the main part of the post. Shorten the blog link using a tool like bit.ly and insert it at the end of your written status with a call-to-action to gain maximum click-throughs, i.e. “Learn more: [shortened link].” Check out the image for a good example of this method of social posting.
Social media should be a crucial part of your blogging strategy: Writing interesting content with a social audience in mind, content that people will want to socially endorse by sharing. Doing this and leveraging your own social networks for content distribution can grow your blog’s readership, boost exposure and give posts a longer shelf-life.