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How To Encourage Social Sharing On Your Blog And Increase Traffic

How To Encourage Social Sharing On Your Blog

Have you ever wondered how the top bloggers get so many social shares?

We’ve all asked the question at some point.

And sure, social share counts are a bit of a vanity metric but that’s only part of the story.

The real truth is that awesome things happen when you get more shares on your content, like:

  • Getting more traffic
  • Growing your email list faster
  • More bloggers will offer to contribute to your blog
  • Other bloggers will invite you to contribute to their blog
  • You’ll earn more backlinks which again, leads to more traffic

The benefits are endless, but what can you do right now to significantly increase the number of shares on your content?

Below you’ll find some of the most effective tactics, and you’ll learn exactly how to implement them.

Ready? Let’s dive in!

Ask newsletter subscribers to share and give them a reason

There’s a saying by Nora Roberts which goes something like this:

“If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”

And while sometimes you won’t need to ask, more people will take action when you do.

I particularly like how Jon Morrow asks his newsletter subscribers to share the latest content from Boost Blog Traffic.

Jon Morrow

What I like about how Jon asks this question is that he gives a reason why you should share; it isn’t just “please share it”.

Having a reason to share is important.

Make it easy for your readers to share your content

Don’t make your readers work too hard.

Add social sharing buttons and you’ll make it far easier for them to share your content.

Here’s how mine currently looks:

Social Sharing Buttons

Here’s how to make this work

It’s not enough to just add some social sharing buttons and hope for the best.

Consider these two points:

  • The more options you give people, the less likely they are to take action. It’s like when you open a menu at a restaurant and you’re faced with so many options that you don’t know what to choose.
  • Which social networks does your audience use most? Twitter & Facebook are typically popular but if you have a B2B audience, LinkedIn is worth including.

Plugins and tools to add social sharing buttons with ease

I use a WordPress plugin called Social Warfare* to display social sharing buttons. It has some interesting features such as the option to upload unique Pinterest images and a click to tweet feature which I’ll talk about more in a moment.

SumoMe* has a free app that can be used to add social sharing buttons. You can use it with WordPress or any HTML website, so it’s flexible.

For a more detailed comparison, check out this post that covers plenty of alternatives.

Add “click to tweet” style widgets within your content

You may have seen these “click to tweet” style boxes already and they’re becoming more popular because they work.

I particularly like how they can be used within group interviews like this one compiled by Aaron Lee over at Post Planner:

Click To Tweet Style

When you click the link you’ll see something like this:

Click The Link

A free tool called ClickToTweet was used to create these pre-populated tweets but if you use WordPress, there are some alternatives that make the process even easier.

Earlier I mentioned Social Warfare*, which I use to display social sharing buttons but it also has a handy ClickToTweet function.

Here’s how it looks (click it to try it out for yourself):

Boost your social shares by adding click to tweet boxes within your contentClick To Tweet

There are a few other templates you can select and if you know CSS, you can style your own.

If you’re looking for a free alternative, you could use a plugin like Better Click To Tweet.

Avoid negative social proof and leverage positive social proof

We mentioned social proof earlier, but it’s important to discuss how this can impact other parts of your blog and how it can be an issue if handled wrong.

The truth about social proof is that it works both ways.

If you display a low number of social shares, it will convey that others aren’t sharing your content, and they’ll be less likely to share.

If a post hasn’t got many comments, others will be less likely to comment and more likely to if a post has a lot of comments.

You’ll overcome this hurdle as your blog grows, but there’s one way to get around it right now.

Hide social share counts until they’re above a certain number

A bunch of social sharing plugins have this feature, but not many.

For example, Social Warfare* has the option to hide total & individual social share counts while revealing the count once it’s above a certain number:

Social Warfare Settings

Create content your audience will want to share

A big part of why people share content is the topic itself.

On the one hand you’ll have topics that are trending or on the verge of becoming a trending topic – these can generate significant traction initially, but then interest will diminish.

You’ll then have topics that people just can’t get enough of – otherwise known as evergreen topics.

Whether you focus on one of these or both will depend entirely on how you approach content planning and the needs of your audience.

I prefer to learn more towards evergreen topics but here are some tips on spotting both trending and evergreen topics:

How to spot trending topics

The challenge with identifying trends is that you just don’t know for sure what will trend.

You have to pre-empt these trending topics by watching other blogs in your niche along with industry publications.

So I’d recommend subscribing to the newsletters of other blogs in your niche along with industry publications.

The main reason for this is because large industry publications are watched by other bloggers. And more often than not, these publications will publish an article that starts to trend with the help of other bloggers linking to it.

Understanding your audience comes into this too.

You can then look out for topics that are a big deal to your audience and try to cover them before anyone else does. Covering a topic before the trend happens is key to making this work and using that trend to grow your audience.

It might take only one post going viral to put your blog on the map.

The truth is that it can be difficult to monitor trends productively, but Ann Smarty wrote a helpful post that covers how to do this in more depth.

How to spot evergreen topics

This is a tricky one but after you’ve been blogging for a while you’ll start to get a feel for which topics are evergreen, but a good place to start is Google Trends.

You can compare interest between several topics to see how they compare:

Google Trends

The truth is that in certain niches, evergreen topics will tend to fluctuate over time, and they also have the potential to become trending topics themselves.

Survey your readers to find out exactly what they want to learn and how

Knowing your audience is a key element that will influence the success of your blog.

While there are plenty of ways you can get quantitative data about your target audience, the best way to gain the insights you need is to ask your audience what they want to learn and how.

Once you know this you’ll be able to:

  • Publish the right type of content – do your readers want case studies, tutorials or something else?
  • Cover the topics they’re interested in – this will validate your content planning.
  • Understand the language that resonates with them – when you use the language that your audience responds to, you’ll find it easier to connect with them.

Here’s how to get started

This is very straight forward.

Draft out some potential questions for your readers, then use a survey tool such as Polldaddy (it’s free).

Here are some ideas to help you:

  • Email the survey to your subscribers
  • Add it to your auto-responder sequence
  • Share it to your followers on social networks

Make your images and text shareable

Along a similar vein to adding share buttons to your posts, you can also make both images and text shareable.

It’s easy to setup, fortunately.

I’m using SumoMe’s Image Sharer* app to add these share buttons, so if you hover over an image you’ll see something like this:

SumoMe Image Sharer

Like other SumoMe apps, it can be installed on WordPress self-hosted blogs or any website that supports HTML, and it’s free.

There will likely be a number of your visitors that have the Pinterest browser extension that will overlay Pinterest buttons. But by using a tool to do this, you’ll be able to ensure that everyone sees these buttons.

The truth is that this may not have a massive impact on your shares, but it will likely work better if your niche is more visually focused.

On Blogging Wizard, we’ve had a decent amount of shares thanks to this.

Image Sharer

If you want to test out shareable text, you can use SumoMe’s Highlighter* app to give your readers the option to share text after they highlight it.

I haven’t used this myself on Blogging Wizard yet, but you can see it in action on ConvinceAndConvert.com. Here’s how it looks:

Convince And Convert

Ask influencers to contribute to your next blog post

There are influencers in your niche who have the clout to drive a lot of eyeballs to your blog.

You could start by mentioning influencers in your content when relevant, and letting them know about it.

But you’ll get better results by involving influencers directly in the content creation process.

The first step is to identify which influencers to get in touch with. You could use a tool for this but if you’ve been blogging for a while you will likely have an idea of who the key players are already.

You could ask them for a quote or do a group interview.

I’ve had some success with group interviews, in particular, this one on social media tools.

I asked some of the biggest names in the social media space to share their 3 top tools for managing social.

Despite Blogging Wizard being less than 1-year-old at the time, the post generated 7,000 visits within a few days and a significant number of social shares as this ShareTally.co report shows:

Share Tally

One important lesson: If you change from http:// to http://www., Pinterest and Twitter will not remember share counts.

The great thing is that all it takes to get started here is a list of people to contact and a question to ask – be sure to follow the best practices for email outreach.

Creating content like this is time-consuming, but it’s well worthwhile!

Repurpose your existing content into a different format

Content repurposing can be incredibly effective.

Why?

People prefer to consume content in different ways.

Some prefer written blog posts while others may prefer videos or podcasts.

A great example of content repurposing in action is this infographic I published on TweakYourBiz.com.

I’ve shared this example before but it highlights just how well this tactic can work.

It was based on a group interview published here on Blogging Wizard; I teamed up with TweakYourBiz to have it converted into an infographic – this made the information far easier to digest.

Tweak Your Biz

The repurposed version alone had 2,000 shares and has been seen by over 30,000 people.

What worked well here was that we repurposed a group interview where influencers were directly involved into a different format and leveraged the audience of another publication.

You could try this for yourself on any blog post you’ve written.

Create your own infographic in a tool like Canva or hire a designer on PeoplePerHour, then pitch the idea to a blog in your niche which has a large audience.

You’ll need to write some unique content for the infographic and spend a decent amount of time promoting the published infographic, but the results will be worthwhile.

Put the same time into promotion as you do writing

It may sound obvious, but it’s surprising how often this step is missed.

When you’re an established blogger with a huge email list, just sending a single email is enough to drive a seriously large amount of traffic to each blog post you publish.

But what if you aren’t an established blogger (yet)?

It means you’ve got to put some serious leg work into promoting your content and getting the word out about your blog.

There are plenty of ways to promote each new blog post and drive traffic to your blog.

But where should you start?

  • Focus on building an email list.
  • Guest blog on popular sites to drive awareness.
  • Build an engaged social following on sites like Twitter.
  • Share your content multiple times on social networks.
  • Optimize the time you share on social media to ensure your followers will see your updates.
  • Optimize every post you publish for search engines but don’t compromise quality – your readers come first and search engines know that.
  • Identify where your audience hangs out online and plan a strategy to put your content in front of them without shameless link drops – think online communities like Facebook groups and niche forums.
  • Give influencers and other bloggers a heads up when you’ve mentioned them – let them know why you’ve mentioned them but don’t push them to share.

Here’s the bottom line:

You’ve put a lot of time into crafting your content and making it as good as it can be.

If your content is going to see the light of day, you need to put the time into promoting it.

As your blog grows so will your email list, and you’ll get more traction on every post you publish.

Over to you

There are plenty of tactics you can use to encourage your readers to share your content.

Results won’t always be instant, but blogging, in general, requires a long-term approach.

Soon enough, you’ll start to see more shares and all the good stuff that comes with it such as more traffic and substantial audience growth.

The next step is ensuring they stick around, which is where building an email list comes in.

Do you have any tips to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below.

* Denotes an affiliate link – if you click and make a purchase I may receive a small commission. This helps me keeps the lights on (so to speak) and means I can keep delivering helpful posts like this one.

About Adam Connell

Adam used to run a team of marketers. Now he shares what he’s learned about growing blogs and businesses here on Blogging Wizard. He’s a fan of Firefly and Chinese takeaways. Click here to join the Blogging Wizard newsletter; you’ll get our best content & 15+ guides to grow your online presence faster.

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  • Great article again Adam, all valid and robust points but a lot to take in and action for a new blogger. Bit by bit it is doable. It is amazing that how social shares can make a difference and I agree with the word you used, “skyrocket” – it can make a difference.

    I am still with the Easy Social Share Buttons (with their new 3.6.2) and absolutely love it. It is just so much versatile. I have now bought their self hosted URL shortener as well.

    Keep writing these great articles for us and thanks for nice reminders. Talk soon.

    • Thanks Ahmad!

      You’re right, definitely a lot to take in for anyone getting started with blogging.

      The best approach is to take it one step at a time, slowly incorporate these tips into how your blogging approach and see how things go.

      Definitely – they all make a difference.

      Great to hear how well Easy Social Share Buttons is working for you. They have so many features – there’s nothing else like it.

      I didn’t realize they had a self hosted URL shortner too, very cool!

      Sure thing, will do!

      Thanks,
      ADam

  • disqus_W4KjfaOksA

    Good post, Adam. I too use Social Warfare; it’s a great plugin that offers plenty of flexibility.

    • Thanks, Andrew. Definitely, I especially like the ability to upload Pinterest specific images.

  • Hi Adam, This article is another great blog post! I clicked on the links and I had read them and I re-bookmarked them! I have so much info. The different sharing buttons I need to re-read. I bought social warfare when I started the blog and didn’t know how to use it and had too many plug-ins so I had them take it off for now. Our buttons do show the numbers and I don’t see a way to change it but I need to mess around with it more; though there may not be a way to change it.
    Each of these ideas are great. I’m glad you stress that it won’t happen overnight. You have such innovative ideas! Thanks for the article.

    • Hi Elaine, glad you liked the post!

      There might be a setting somewhere for the share buttons you’re using.

      Alternatively, you could see if there’s another plugin which isn’t really being used and add Social Warfare back.

      That’s it – it all takes time, although with the right content at the right time it’s always possible to get a nice surge of traffic.

      My pleasure 🙂

      • Thanks Adam! I will look at that. I am overwhelmed by all of the things on there now! I need to probably add social warfare again. I bookmarked the page in which you give a lot of good info about plug-ins that you find useful. I have it bookmarked from before but I re-bookmarked it. Thanks for linking so many good links from this article!

        • Sure thing, Elaine.

          I know what you mean – best to approach it one step at a time. Glad you found the extra links helpful!

  • Very interesting post with lots of useful tools. I didn’t know on Canva you can also create infographics, but maybe this is one of the options if you upgrade?

    • Thanks!

      You can do infographics on the free version of Canva but they can’t be resized.

      When you’re logged in, click the more button next to the layouts, scroll to “blogging & ebooks” and click on “infographics”.

      There’s some great looking templates to help you get started!

  • Hey Adam,This is one of the best social sharing blog post i have read in a while
    You really put great amount of time in it.

    • Hey Abdul, thanks for the great feedback – I really appreciate it!

  • I’m a great fan of evergreen content. My evergreen posts continue to get shares months after they were published.

    I love Social Warfare too. It’s a very powerful plugin. I’m curious to learn why you only display sharing buttons at the bottom of the post. I’ve put my buttons at the top and bottom and this has been working well so far.

    • Hi Clement, same here – I’ve had some good success with getting shares on evergreen posts too.

      Good question. My approach has been to try and limit the number of calls to action above the fold and keep more focus on the content.

  • Hi Adam,

    You’ve highlighted some excellent tactics here for encouraging social sharing. You hit the nail on the head when you say it’s content worth sharing that’s most important.

    Finding trending topics is really useful but, as you say, evergreen topics is the best. Above all it’s promotion of your content that’s the key. And the best way to get this from influencers is to write content that they and their readers will like and find useful, then
    reach out to them.

    Thanks Adam.

    -Tom

    • Hi Tom,

      Thanks!

      Definitely, trending topics can work well if you land the right topic, but evergreen topics perform time after time.

      Great point – if you’ve got content influencers will like and their audience will too, you’re part way there already.

      Best,
      Adam

  • Hey Adam,

    Great points you made here. I have done a few roundups of top blog posts and expert opinions. I’ve gotten the most shares within the shortest time when I ask experts. 400 shares in 2 days was great for me and I definitely want to do more despite the fact it took a lot of work LOL

    Now I want to start repurposing my old content. I just made some changes on a post I did at the end of last year and I look forward to how the results will turn out. I only added some images to show how to get to different parts of Google Analytics that are vital to tracking results.

    Thanks for sharing these tips Adam! Have a great week ahead!

    • Hey Sherman,

      Thanks! Awesome to hear how well your expert roundups are working for you.

      You’re right – a lot of work, but so worthwhile. And after each roundup you’ll have a bigger audience, so they’ll get more and more traction.

      Content repurposing will work great for you – it’s good to get old content improved and you can get a nice freshness boost from Google.

      My pleasure, you too Sherman!

  • Hi Adam,

    Social sharing is one of the best reason to bring more traffic at the blog. I agree with your points. Bloggers should make it easy to share by adding social sharing buttons. Creating a content which is worth sharing is the must.

    People don’t like to share anything useless. Adding images is also an effective task to do. It is noticed that posts with perfect images get more share.

    Thanks for this wonderful post.
    Have a nice day.
    ~Ravi

    • Hi Ravi,

      Definitely – the right content with the right formatting and an easy way to share works great.

      My pleasure, you too!

      – Adam

  • Adam, I just read your article twice – awesome post! Your work on Tweak Your Biz struck me hardest. Infographic + crowd-sourcing roundup = WIN!

    • Thanks Jerry! Really glad you found this helpful.

      So true – the site which hosts the infographic will have a huge impact, it’s such a great way to reach more people.

      Hopefully I’ll be able to do this again soon!

      If you try this yourself, let me know how it goes 🙂

      • I will! Keeping this idea for early next year … things usually get really slow in year end after Black Friday. I’ll make sure in my crowd-sourcing post too 😉

        • Sounds good! Looking forward to hearing how it goes 🙂

  • Hi Adam,

    Awesome post indeed!

    Social sharing buttons can drive huge traffic to our blog but our content must be worth the share right?

    My blog isn’t visual so I don’t use the image sharer but i will soon. I never knew of sharing an highlighted text, sounds interesting.

    Thanks for Sharing

    Have a great day

    • Hi Kore,

      Thanks 🙂

      Definitely – having share worthy content is a huge part of this.

      Let me know how you get on!

      You too.

      Thanks,
      Adam

  • Social sharing helps boost traffic.
    Before writing, search for the trending topic and identify your target.
    Readers share if they can connect themselves to the content.

  • Hey Adam,

    Thanks for sharing this great post! I have been seeing you online for sometime and thought I should visit your blog. You have useful tips indeed. Social sharing helps boost huge traffic just as you have put it. Thanks for this, Mercy.

    • Hey Mercy, my pleasure – hope you’ve found it helpful! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, I really appreciate it.

      Talk soon,
      Adam

  • Great article Adam! These pointers will surely help the marketers boost their social media traffic. I have read some of your articles and they were great! Tried some of your tips and somehow, it worked. Thank you for sharing your ideas on blogging.

    • Thanks Barbara! Great to hear my tips have been working for you.

      My pleasure!

  • Essi

    Hey Adam,

    This is a superb post! I often forget to encourage my readers to share if they liked my content.

    I do see how this can generate more conversions.

    Additionally I might need to add more plugins for more sharing opportunities.
    I was wondering, why is it necessary to hide the amount of shares at a certain number? Does that make a huge difference?

    Great post thanks,

    Esteban

    P.S.: I tried emailing you to let you know that I’ve linked to one of your guest posts on Sue Anne’s blog but your email didn’t work for some reason.

    • Hi Esteban,

      Thanks!

      The reason for hiding share counts below a certain number is to avoid something called negative social proof.

      When low share counts are displayed, some may be put off sharing because other people aren’t sharing it. More shares means people will instead think that sharing is the best course of action.

      It also impacts how your blog’s popularity is perceived. This post has some more background info: https://blog.kissmetrics.com/social-proof-factors-2/

      I didn’t pick up an email from you, did you replace the [at] with an @ symbol? (I do this so people using software can’t scrape my email address).

      – Adam

      • Essi

        Ok Thant makes a lot of sense actually. I’ll look into a plugin to hide my shares maybe 🙂

        I did replace the at with the symbol. I’ll try again.

        Thanks for your quick reply,

        Esteban

  • Thanks! Glad you liked the post 🙂

  • Adam thanks for writing such informative content. I realise how busy you are and I thank you for taking the time to write back to my email about getting your personal insights. I’ll keep reading your posts as it reaffirms what I’m doing and also whether there are things I should try. Keep up the awesome work!

    Cheers

    Jennifer Nini
    Founder
    http://thesocialcopywriter.com

    • Thanks Jennifer – I appreciate the kind words 🙂

      Have an awesome weekend.

      Best,
      Adam

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