I spend a lot of time curating content. I read a lot of articles, blog posts and other notable web-based moments, many of which I choose to share across social media. And everyday I am surprised by the mistakes that are made — mistakes that make it harder for the average user to share and give credit to other’s content.
No one is immune from these mistakes – I’ve seen them made by big-time publishers, small-time bloggers, schools, non-profits and Fortune 500 companies, alike. They need to be fixed, but luckily it’s not hard.
Here are 5 ways you can stop making it hard for people to share your content via social media.
Take Credit For Your Work
So many times I’ve clicked on the ‘Tweet This’ button only to find that the site’s author isn’t being credited. Rather, AddThis or ShareThis or WordPressdotcom is. These are not authors. They simply enabled the content to be shared. When a Tweet is sent from your blog or website and your Twitter handle isn’t listed, it’s a missed opportunity. When that Tweet gets shared or retweeted, you’ll never know because you’re not mentioned in it.
— Brian Fox (@SMSprincipal) January 14, 2014
Don’t give @sharethis the credit you deserve.
— Marisa Peacock (@marisacp51) January 15, 2014
Instead, make sure your site gets the credit.
Fortunately, this is easy to fix. Just follow these links:
- If you’re using Add This, update this code.
- If you’re using ShareThis, update this code.
- If you’re using WordPress, update this code.
Link to Your Social Media Profile
When I encounter the issue above, I take the time to find the actual Twitter handle to attribute credit. On any given site, I locate the social media icons and click on the one I want to cite — often the Twitter icon, only to find that I’ve been redirected to Twitter.com, not their profile page. Why would you do this? This isn’t helpful. I suspect that this mistake is either an oversight — something that got overlooked during the final stages of a site launch or code that failed to update.
To ensure that your social media profiles are actively linked on your website or blog, take the time to thoroughly check the links on your site. Don’t assume anything. If they don’t link to where they are supposed to, you’re essentially sending visitors away from your site without a roadmap.
Make Your Social Media Presence Known
I can’t tell you how many times I visit a website only to find that I can’t find where the company or school is on social media. There aren’t any icons on the site and they’re not listed on the ‘contact us’ page. However, when I complete a Google search for [school/company name] and Twitter, their profile page shows up immediately. Why are you hiding it? If you’re on social media, let it be known. Provide links in the header or footer of your website. Include links in your email signature. List social networks on your ‘contact us’ page.
Make Your Content Headlines Engaging
We hear it all the time when it comes to blog headlines — catchy, witty titles work best for capturing attention. It’s also true for social media. Yet, sometimes when I tweet a blog post, all that shows up is the link or a boilerplate title that tells me and my followers nothing about the actual content of the post.
Test sharing your content across different social media platforms to ensure you’re sharing the right message. It’s often said that you can’t control the message on social media, but here’s an instance where you really can. If you’re writing an article about the school musical, make sure it when it’s shared it shows the article title rather than “[school name] news”. No one wants to read a post or click on a link that says “School news”.
Make Your Content Shareable, Wherever it is
Don’t just reserve social sharing functionality for news or blog posts. Make it so everything on your site — from information about the Arts to your school’s lunch menu are shareable. You’d be surprised what people will share if you make it easy for them to do so. Again, be sure that the titles that get shared are engaging and accurate and feature your school’s handles, as appropriate, so those sharing content give you credit.
Don’t Make it Hard to Share Your School’s Experience
By making your school’s content easy to share, you’re making it easy for everyone to spread the word, which can influence others. In fact, studies have found that social media users are significantly influenced by the content shared by friends and family online — they can be more likely to buy the brands and follow companies their friends buy from and follow on social media. Just as content on your website needs to be easy to find, making it also easy to share is important.
Photo credit: Jonathan McIntosh