Using The Right Blog Template
One of the most important things you can do to optimize your webpage for social sharing is choose the right blog template. Make sure your blog has a RSS (Real Simple Syndication) subscription buttons, and is configured to send “pings” back to you when your post is mentioned in other blogs. Also make sure that your blogging platform can “ping” search engines every time you post (WordPress and Movable Type can do this automatically). Of course, ensure that it has social sharing buttons, as well.
Location of Your Social Share Buttons
Contrary to what you may believe, social media “share” buttons don’t need to be as big as the entire webpage or blog post to attract attention; if anything, such an obnoxious size will alienate users. The number and kind of buttons are important factors to consider, too. Does your audience use the kind of social buttons featured on your site? (For example–it might be time to eliminate that MySpace button.)
The social media experts over at Mashable recommend that social buttons be added at the top of the page for maximum visibility: ”no extra clicking or scrolling required.” A floating widget may also be preferable if you write longer blog posts.
Sure, your webpage or blog will need compelling content–but an unconventional image, snappy title, and engaging headline will prompt people to share it–particularly on Facebook, where “liking” is the most valuable currency. “Liked” links show the title, headline, and image, drawing in other interested users. Shocking and controversial–but not offensive–titles are the way to go, here.
Don’t forget to utilize SEO in your blog title. Know the search keywords your audience employs the most and try to implement them as organically as possible into the title.
Flickr Creative Commons is a great resource for non-licensed, artistic pictures.
Seeding With Your Community
So you’ve got the buttons, the catchy phrasing, and the internal optimization–now what? Well, before you expect your content to show up on the front page of the New York Times, it probably first needs to be vetted among your industry peers. Write guest blogs for already-established “thought leaders” in your community. (Likewise, politely solicit them to write for your blog once you’ve got a few meaty posts up.) Post in industry-related forums or link to relevant posts in your blog in LinkedIn answers. Be consistent with your content. Get feedback from mentors. It’s called “social proof” and it’s present in nearly every social interaction: once a group of elites has deemed you respectable and worthy of esteem, others will be more willing to give you a chance.
Remember the bottom line: that the end goal of social sharing is conversion–typically emails (leads) or a signup for your product. You’ll need to balance–as much as you can–the creative and marketing aspects of each and every post. Good luck!