Definition: Social sharing describes when social media users broadcast web content on a social network to their connections, groups, or specific individuals. One of the primary aims of corporate social media marketing strategies is to generate brand awareness by leveraging their existing audience to share content.
If you already have a following on social media, this is one of the cheapest ways to increase website traffic fast. Time is still involved, of course.
Share content on your website with a great headline and image/gif. If you don’t have a following, it’s time to start building a social media following. Reap the rewards of an instant audience when you have something to share.
Here are some important best practices to apply to increase website traffic fast with social media posts.
- Don’t be salesy. Rarely, if ever, link to your product or services pages directly. Instead get people invested in great content on your site. Or lead them to a landing page with a special offer just for your fans. Keep direct promotion to a minimum. This is the social way to promote your website.
- Write Compelling Headlines. Don’t just share and expect people to click. Research what makes a great headline and use analytics to find out which headlines perform best.
- Use Images and Videos. People on Twitter are 18% more likely to click a link if there’s an image. Remember, people have endless feeds of content. You have less than 2 seconds to get attention. A visual is the only way to get attention long enough for them to check out what you have to say.
- Time your posts and be consistent. Do you save all of your social media tasks for Saturday? You’ll have lackluster results. The only way to engage and keep people engaged is through regular sharing.
- Use social media automation. If you have trouble managing social media every day, use automation. This isn’t the best solution. Daily monitoring of social media is advisable. But it’s a good start. Ensure you have full monitoring when you work with a social media management company.
Platform Specific Best Practices
Managers of Facebook pages at Tufts must be able to check on the page at least once a day and should have enough content to post at least once each week. Each Tufts Facebook page should have at least two staff or faculty members as admins.
- Do not create a personal profile for a university department, organization or office. Profiles are designed for individuals only and users may view inappropriate profiles as misleading. Creating a “personal account for anything other than an individual person” is a violation of Facebook’s Terms of Service and Facebook warns that violators are at risk of “permanently losing access to the account and all of its content.”
- Avoid posting the same status updates on both Facebook and Twitter. Some services and applications allow you to post the exact same text and links to both channels at once. Since Twitter and Facebook are different mediums with different audiences, tone, frequency of posts, and strategy and goals, updates to each should be unique. Visually, these statuses often look incorrect since they may go over Twitter’s character limit or don’t show the link correctly on Facebook. If you want to post the same information on both channels, craft each status so that it makes the most of the style and tools of each platform.
- Pay attention to your insights. Facebook insights offer a lot of information on the people who like your page and what they are interested in. Your job is to understand what the insights mean and use them to create posts that will engage your fans, encourage interaction with the page, and attract new likes.
- Be visually pleasing. Users visiting your page are drawn to visually appealing layouts and posts. Be sure to highlight photos and other visual posts, remember to delete pasted links in status updates, and edit status so they are not too lengthy.
- Let your fans speak. People may sometimes comment on a post or post something on your page’s wall that is critical or negative. Correcting a mistake, apologizing and offering better in the future, or providing information about the event in question is often the best way to let the poster know you have heard them. Unless the post is profane, obscene, harassing or threatening, it is not a best practice to delete it. People may also post something very positive on your page – you can allow these posts on your main timeline to bring extra attention to them.
Twitter encourages frequent updates, engagement and retweeting content. Account managers at Tufts must be able to login to the account at least once per day and should be able to post often and respond with some immediacy. At least two people in a department should have the password to an official Tufts Twitter account.
- Listen and Respond. Don’t only monitor those tweets that mention your handle directly, but set up a search so you can keep an ear on what is happening when people do not tag you in their tweet. When it’s appropriate, respond or retweet.
- Avoid posting the same status updates on both Twitter and Facebook. Some services and applications allow you to post the exact same text and links to both channels at once. Since Twitter and Facebook are different mediums with different audiences, tone, frequency of posts, strategy and goals, updates to each should be unique. Visually, these statuses often do not look correct since they go over Twitter’s character limit or don’t show the link correctly on Facebook. If you want to post the same information on both channels, craft each status so that it makes the most of the style and tools of each platform.
- Use hashtags and mention other users. Two of the key elements of Twitter is the use of hashtags and the ability to tag other users in your tweets. Hashtags allow users to join a greater conversation, so including one or two relevant hashtags in your tweets will put your tweet in front of more than just your followers. Tagging other accounts in your tweet gives them credit for the material (for example crediting a link to @nytimes) and alerts them that they’ve been mentioned, which may prompt them to retweet or comment on your tweet.
- Pay attention to analytics. Free Twitter metrics are available at analytics.twitter.com. These metrics offer some insight into the reach and popularity of your tweets. Your job is to understand what the metrics mean and use them to create tweets that will engage your fans, encourage retweets and favorites, and attract new followers.
- Follow back. Following back those who follow you is a great relationship builder. Fostering relationships and encouraging interaction is key, so following back relevant, appropriate followers builds goodwill with our audiences.
- Use a client. Clients like TweetDeck have many advantages that make them great tools for managing your Twitter account:
- You can schedule tweets in advance, so even if you cannot check your account continuously, you can schedule appropriate tweets throughout the day.
- Their interfaces allow you to choose various streams to monitor, so you can monitor tweets that mention you, Tufts’ lists, search terms, direct messages, etc.
Instagram is a free photo and video sharing app that allows users to apply digital filters, frames and special effects to their photos and videos. Managers of Instagram accounts at Tufts should check on the account at least once each day and have enough content to post a few times each week.
- Use hashtags. Like Twitter, Instagram uses tags. Tagging your photos means that more people may see them, since they may be searching that tag. But be careful: too many tags can be seen as spammy.
- Interact with others. Search for photos that may be relevant to your department, office or group. Interact with others by liking and commenting on photos that are relevant to you.
- Tag locations. Tagging the location where the photo was taken gives some context to the image.
- Consider stories. Instagram stories are special photos and videos that are seen by followers for just 24 hours. They appear at the top of the Instagram feed.
Managers of blogs at Tufts should be able to check on the blog at least once a day and should have enough content to post consistently.
- Make your blog a conversation. Your blog is not the only thoughts on the subject, so raise questions, introduce other ideas and allow people to comment and continue the conversation. Monitor the comments you receive in order to weed out spam and delete any inappropriate submissions.
- Encourage readers to share your posts. Increase traffic to your blog by making it easy for readers to share the content on social media. Most platforms allow sharing plugins so make sure each blog post can be shared on at least Facebook and Twitter. Many blogs also include options for sharing on Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, Digg and Reddit.
- Make friends in the blogosphere. Do a little research and find other blogs that cover similar topics or are authored by similar bloggers. You can subscribe to these blogs so you know when they are posting. Comment and link to their post if they say something you want to reference. You can add these related blogs as well as Tufts blogs to your blogroll, which often appears in the sidebar.
- Own your opinion: Blogs often feature the author’s opinion and it’s ok to share yours. Keep in mind that you are a representative of Tufts, but that the opinions expressed in the blog are yours. If you are expressing a strong opinion, remind your readers that it is your view, not that of the university.
Flickr is an image and video hosting website and online community. Photos can be shared on Facebook and Twitter and other social networking sites.
- Share only original photos. Due to copyright issues, you should only post your own original photos to Flickr. You can indicate photos that are copyright protected by including “© Tufts University.”
- Tag your photos. Tagging your photos makes it easier for users to find your images in searches. Be sure to include “Tufts” or “Tufts University” tags.
- Provide a title and description for every image posted. It’s important to give context to your photos. Image titles and descriptions are also used as search criteria and making sure to include them will help others find your photos.
YouTube and Vimeo are video hosting/sharing platforms that showcase a variety of user-generated content. Videos can be shared on other social sites or taken from the platforms and embedded directly on a user’s blog or website.
- Don’t use copyrighted material. If your video is set to music, you must use royalty-free music and sound effects. To use a copyrighted piece, you must contact the owner. Most often the owner or publisher will be listed on sheet music or a CD label.
- Use proper credits. If you are creating video content for the university, include a credits slide at the end of all videos with, at minimum, a message that says (c) [year] Tufts University.
- Include “Tufts” in your file names. Including the word “Tufts” in the naming of your raw video file will help enhance your SEO. (e.g. from “StudyAbroadProfile.mov” to “TuftsStudyAbroadProfile.mov”).
- Make your content accessible. Captioning technology has progressed to the point to where it is affordable and straightforward to implement.
Managers of LinkedIn groups at Tufts should be able to check on the group every few days and should have content to provide to the members.
- Don’t focus on “selling” your organization/entity. Rather, put the focus on the group and members. Provide content that is appealing to them.
- Carry on the conversation. Facilitate group discussions by posting useful information and prompts for future discussions.
- Make introductions between members. Simple introductions can add a personal touch to your group members’ experience.
- Promote the group. Promote your group to your personal LinkedIn network or by posting the group URL on external websites and marketing materials.
Listed below are some key considerations for integrating social media into your site.
1. When Adding Sharing Buttons, Make Them Visible
You have a few options for how you want to allow your visitors to interact with your company through your website. You can go with a basic set of “Like” buttons or ones that link to your social media profiles. There are also certain plugins available, such as Floating Social Media Icon that do all the heavy lifting for you and even provide the pretty and streamlined icons. But whether you use a plugin or manually handle this as part of your website development plan, it’s a good idea to ensure that these icons or links are visible so that people don’t have to hunt for them.
Alternatively, you can give visitors the option of sharing your content to other social media sites with a variety of convenient buttons that show up with each of your posts. Share+ and Sociable, for example, will automatically provide these icons, enabling people to share your content with friends with just a few clicks. Be sure that any social media links or icons pop up in a new window; you don’t want someone leaving your site and forgetting about it because they are distracted by their Twitter or Facebook feed.
2. Don’t Go Overboard
You should pick three or four social media sites that are truly relevant to your business and focus on them. For example, a LinkedIn post sharing icon on a site that sells cat food just looks out of place.
For most businesses, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube usually suffice. Fewer icons or share buttons looks cleaner and less cluttered, and honestly, less desperate.
Additionally, if you choose to add share links to each of your posts, make sure your content is worthy of being shared; people won’t share what they don’t think is interesting, and you’re better off just using a “Like” or link to your social media profiles if you’re unsure.
3. Be Active on the Social Networks You Link To
If you’re asking your visitors to “Like” your company’s Facebook page, or follow your company’s conversations on Twitter, make sure that there are relevant conversations happening on these channels that entice them to follow your company on social media. Once they follow your organization, your posts can end up in their feed thus giving you an excellent opportunity to remind people of your company and notify people of sales and special events, even if they haven’t been to your site in a while.
Additionally, when people do comment on your social media profiles, be sure to respond to them. People love seeing their notification button light up because someone replied to them, and it helps to make your company seem more personal and less corporate, even if you are a corporation.
4. Make Sure What You’re Doing Is Working
As with anything you do online, you should be tracking the success of your social media activities and looking to learn from what you’re doing right and what you’re struggling with. Along with using analytics data from Google, there are also plugins like ShareThis that help you get down to the nitty-gritty of your social media sharing efforts. You can tell which of your posts are shared, seen and favorited the most as well as how they are performing on different social networks. This in turn can help you identify what types of posts are the most successful and where you should be focusing your attention.
5. Track Competitors –
It is always a good practice to keep an eye on your competitors. By doing this we can not only get good amount of keywords ideas but also get industry-related links. By doing competitor analysis if you find any social media marketing technique which is seems to be generating for your competitor then you should do the same thing or do it better.
6. Measure Success with Analytics
It is always a good practice to measure and track data of social media marketing strategy. Without measuring the data you cannot determine the success of social media marketing strategies.
Learn how people think about you, compared to the competition. Is a competitor taking a beating in the press? Could that be a golden moment to share, show, or say?
Beat the competition to discover and resolve pain points. Is someone talking about their feature that sucks? Can you quickly add a new feature that doesn’t?
Identify influencers and advocates. Is someone out there saying something superb about you all? Maybe it’s time to collaborate with them.