4 Effective Ways to Boost Traffic by Adding Social Share Buttons
Social Media has brought together over 2 billion users and made mass communication affordable to every individual. It has created a cost effective and scalable opportunity for businesses to distribute their marketing messages to enormous audiences.
Social share has emerged as a tool for converting online visitors into brand ambassadors by making it easy for users to distribute your marketing message by sharing it within their friend circle. It is one of the most effective ways to drive referral traffic without spending a penny working as a completely organic growth strategy.
More and more companies are embracing social sharing by placing share buttons and widgets on their websites. However, many make the mistake of limiting growth potential by stopping there and not integrating it into other areas of their marketing strategy or applying social sharing best practices. It’s no wonder they end up complaining about their social ROI.
There are plenty of articles advising how to integrate social sharing on websites, but I want to talk about 4 often neglected uses for social share that will result in significant boosts of traffic to your site.
Let’s get started:
1. Add Social Share Buttons to Content
Getting social referrals is all about sharing content regardless of its format. Videos, pictures, presentations, articles, PDFs, ebooks and blogs are all forms of content suitable for sharing. It’s important to remember that users often want to express their interest in, or love for, specific pieces of content rather than general web pages.
When you add social sharing buttons/icons directly to your content, you are empowering your users to share exactly what they want to, thus resulting in a greater willingness from them to share. The added bonus? There’s no additional cost associated with this.
Lets talk briefly about adding social share to some specific types of content:
a) eBooks, Guides, or Reports
This type of content is usually delivered to your users as downloadable PDF files. Users will typically share the file electronically amongst their colleagues or print it out for meetings or off-screen reading. But once you add share buttons to your PDF files, readers are given another, perhaps simpler way to share.
Here are a few tips:
- Add subtle and consistent custom share buttons in the footer of your documents so the sharing option is visible to your readers on every page.
- At the end of your introduction or conclusion, ask readers to share your content if they enjoyed it and provide prominent social share buttons.
Make sure you include the URL of your landing page so when readers go to share your PDF, the content’s URL and a pre-filled text will be ready to be shared by the reader.
b) Video Content
Videos are shared on social networks more than anything else with very high viral-quotients.
There are three key ways to encourage users to share:
- Insert a sharing bar below the video — similar to what YouTube has under each video. You may want to test various widget positions.
- Add social buttons onto the video itself that are shown when a user hovers over.
- Have them appear at the end of the video either over top of the video player or as a pop-up on the webpage.
c) Pictures and Images
An image can take a vast number of forms and deliver a wide variety of information as it can include everything from infographics, charts and trends to tips, quotes and photos. Online users love to share visuals as individual pieces of content instead of as parts of a general web page.
The most effective way to enable social sharing for images is to display share buttons when a user hovers their cursor over the content. Mashable has a great example of how share icons can be used on images.
You can apply the same share techniques to product images on your e-commerce website. It is also important to ensure you enable Pinterest’s ‘Pin It’ button for visual content. This is the most effective form of sharing for e-commerce product images.
d) Blogs and Articles
If social share buttons are correctly placed, driving referral traffic through visitors is quite easy.
Here are a few tips:
- Add buttons to the beginning of each article for good visibility.
- Include share icons at the end of each article so that when readers have finished reading the article, they can easily share it if they liked it.
- Place a floating share widget on the left pan, so readers can share at any time while reading.
- Add Tweet or Share options to specific quotes within the article that your readers will find particularly powerful or sharable.
2. Add Social Share to Landing pages
Marketers use landing pages to highlight specific messages targeting specific groups of users. While not all of these landing page visitors will convert into paying customers, a good percent of of them will still like your content and may be willing to share it with their network. But whether they share or not can depend heavily on the presence of social share buttons.
There are three opportunities in these cases:
a) Share buttons on landing pages
Your landing pages will be seen both by general site visitors and converted users who presumably already have an interest in your content. Take the opportunity allow them to easily distribute your content through social share.
Depending upon your landing page goals, identify places where share icons could be effective and run tests on a few options to ensure your placement is optimal. Adding social share buttons to the top section of the page is typically effective.
b) Opportunity to share after a user signs up
Once a user has signed up on your landing page to download content or register for a webinar, etc. it’s recommended that you display share options so visitors can share your content with other people in their network that may be interested in the same content.
c) Include social share widgets in your response email
After signing up on a landing page, users typically receive an email simply thanking them for their interest or providing further information on how to download their content or find related content. This may be your last interaction with these visitors and therefore your last chance to motivate them to share your content so it is important to make it easy for them to share.
It is highly recommended to perform a A/B test to figure out what works best for your business when it comes to optimizing your landing pages. You can find more information by reading Enhance User Experience on your Landing Pages using Social Login.
3. Enable Social Share in Email Campaigns
Email marketing is still a top marketing channel when it comes to driving ROI. Companies invest significant resources in email marketing and their subscribers receive large quantities of emails containing promotions, service updates, etc.
Every email opened is a sharing opportunity. Enabling social share not only encourages your email subscribers to share email/newsletter content on social networks, but also helps you to identify who is sharing your content.
There are two types of email content – personalized content that is targeted to a specific user and general content that is meant for everyone on a business’ mailing list. Adding social share is easy and very effective with the latter.
The following two steps will help you to enable sharing in your email content:
1. Create an HTML webpage version of your email content
As users will be sharing from within the email, you will need to create a web page with a link that can be shared on social networks. Most email marketing tools automatically create such webpages as they are necessary for displaying messages and links like “Click here if you cannot see this email.”
2. Custom code for your emails
Simply place social share code within the email in the desired location. You can either develop custom code for your social share buttons or use a pre-developed widget from a provider such as LoginRadius.
Users can share the URL of the HTML webpage associated with the email from within the message.
Here are a few more tips:
- Test the position of the buttons to find the most effective placement.
- Use text text alternatives to social share buttons. Some email providers don’t display images by default so this will ensure all recipients are able to share.
- A few social networks allow you to preset the share message. Make sure you take advantage of this feature. It makes it easier for your readers to share since they don’t even have to think of what to write.
4. Allow Your Registered Users to Spread the Word
You may have heard of Dropbox’s incentive driven referral program that helped them to scale their business from 100,000 to 4 million users in two years and then to their current 300 million users in just a few more years. You can try creating your own referral program but it will consume resources; both time and money. Plus, incentive driven referrals don’t always work for every business.
It is important that your engineering, design and marketing teams collaborate to design the custom share code, user experience and message to encourage users to share. You will probably want these users to share your homepage or a specific landing page targeting newly generated referrals.
Quora does this very well.
Friend invite is another great way to generate referrals from your registered users.
Social share is a powerful tool that is quite simple to implement, yet many companies don’t fully utilize it to it’s full potential in driving referrals. It is important that businesses incorporate social sharing in their complete market strategy in order to optimize referrals through social media.