Social media share buttons are commonly seen on blog posts and regular website content, but there is much more to making them work for you than meets the eye. Poor handling of share buttons can actually do your brand and your marketing more harm than good. Here are five important tips to make share buttons help you, not hurt you.
1. Make Sure They Work
“Out of sight, out of mind” is a disastrous attitude for social media share buttons! If you set up your blog’s social share buttons yesterday, there’s no guarantee they’ll work tomorrow. At Straight North, we have share buttons on several blogs and certain pages of our website. You would not believe how often these buttons cease working, or display differently on the given social platform than the way they were originally designed to appear. Changes or failure in share button functionality results from technical changes to the platform, the share button app, or within your website platform. Check them about once per month to make sure they are still working the way you want them to.
2. Have a Strong Cover Image
Visually captivating shares get attention on all social media platforms. When someone clicks a share button on your blog post, what image appears along with it on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.? It’s worth taking time to set up your share buttons so a strong, customized and properly sized image appears on the share. Doing so will make a substantial impact on reads and re-shares.
Some share buttons will pick up a blog post’s H1 title or title tag, and automatically display it with the share. This could be good or bad, depending on how much effort you put into titles. Nevertheless, by customizing the text you display on the share, you can ramp up interest and generate more reads and re-shares. You can use customization to add a bit more explanation of what the content is about, make a statement about what people will learn if they read the content, ask a provocative question or use humor. Just make sure your custom intro text does not exceed the given character count for the platform in question.
Share text comes into play even more critically on standard website pages that you want people to share. A great example that many people fumble is job-opening pages. If your company is looking to hire someone, you definitely want people sharing that news. However, the H1 or title tag text for these pages may be dreadful. Make sure those pages get great custom text — it may help you build the winning team you need!
4. Position Properly on Page
For blog posts, it’s wise to place your set of share buttons at the top and at the bottom of the post. Skimmers or big fans may be ready to share your content based strictly on the title, so you don’t want to make them scroll to the bottom of your post to do so. At the other extreme, new readers or picky sharers will want to read the entire post before sharing — don’t make them scroll back to the top to do so. For a standard web page, a double dose of share buttons may come off as a little strange, so one set of buttons displayed either at the top right sidebar or at the bottom of the page is sufficient.
Earlier I mentioned the value of sharing job-opening pages. Other standard website pages you may want to share include Product/Service pages, Case Study pages, the About page and the Home page. For these, all the tips mentioned above apply.
Some site pages you probably don’t want to share: Terms and Conditions, technical Product/Service subpages, etc. Don’t put share buttons on those pages. If you do, site visitors may wonder why on earth you’re doing so. In addition, eliminating those totally unnecessary buttons will make the page all the more clean and focused.