As you add more and more content to your website and blog, you will slowly begin to attract more interested readers. If you really want to rapidly increase your readership you need to use social networks.
However, there is nothing more discouraging than to spend a lot of time writing and perfecting your blog post, only to watch and wait for the Facebook Likes, Google +1’s and Twitter Tweets that never come.
Why aren’t people tripping over themselves to share your content? It might be your fault, but these five tips can help you quickly.
1. Work on Your Timing
When possible, your blog posts should be published and initially shared at the most optimum time possible. There are studies which you can review that provide aggregate activity levels for the major social networks, but the only way you can know for sure when your followers are most active is by monitoring your social media activity.
For example, Twitter users are most active between 7am and 11pm. Furthermore, weekends are actually the days with the highest rates of retweets. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should focus on weekend Tweeting. If your target audience is using Twitter weekdays during normal business hours, that should be your peak activity times.
Review the peak social media usage times for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest for more information.
2. Invest Time in Your Headlines
Nothing is more important than the headline of your post. Often, that is the only part of your post that is seen or read.
Typically, you should plan on spending almost as much time thinking about your headline as you did writing the rest of the article. Are your headlines boring, or do they grab my attention? Are they an appropriate length for sharing, particularly on Twitter? Take the time to develop killer headlines and you will see an immediate difference in interest.
Take a look at Warning: This will improve your blog traffic by 25% for more specific techniques.
3. Provide Social Sharing Buttons
This should go without saying, and yet I still see countless business blogs that are not providing readers with easy to use buttons for social sharing.
In fact, every business must have one set of buttons in a prominent location so that visitors can get to your primary social profiles, and then another set of buttons on each individual post.
I currently use two sets of sharing buttons. Since my site is built on Drupal, I use the Services module to provide widgets for Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. These are my primary networks and the ones I want to make as easy as possible for users to hit. I then use the AddToAny module to provide the Share This button that includes dozens of other social networks like Pinterest, Digg or MySpace. Each page also includes a Print and Email icon at the top of the post.
4. Ask Readers to Share
Statistics have shown that adding Please RT to your tweets will increase the number of retweets you receive dramatically. Using Please ReTweet is even more effective. The psychology here is relatively simple. People will often do what they’re asked if it’s simple enough. On Twitter, clicking a retweet button takes just seconds and so your followers don’t mind doing it for you.
By the same token, if you want your readers to take an action on your blog, you need ask them. That’s called a Call To Action. Each blog post that you write can have a different CTA, but there must be one there. The CTA can occur at different points in the blog too, it doesn’t have to be at the end. Typical examples include “contact me” or “subscribe to my newsletter” or “leave a comment below” but a great and underused CTA is simply “please share this post!” Direct your readers to your share buttons and ask them to Like or +1 your post.
5. Share First
Finally, it’s very important that you reciprocate likes and shares, as your readers and other bloggers will appreciate it and be more motivated to continue to support you. Similarly, if you are active on other blog sites and are Liking and Sharing their content, those writers will be more willing to +1 and tweet your posts.
Two great tools for creating relationships with other people and followers are Triberr and Empire Avenue. I’ve mentioned Triberr before, and talked about how you can join tribes and find great content from other writers to share, and they will, in turn, share your content too. And like we’ve discussed on Empire Avenue, you’ll have an opportunity to make great connections with other people and use “missions” to share content and have your own content shared.
Make sure that you’re doing everything you can to help your readers to help you, and you’ll see a marked improvement in your blog shares. Please share this post with your own friends and followers using the buttons below, and if you leave a comment for me, I’ll do the same for you!
Image courtesy of couldntbeparve, Flickr.