By Matt Southern, from ‘Net Features –

In every website’s life comes a moment of truth – that moment when you hit publish and your thoughts go public. Today, for content to thrive and not get forgotten after an hour it’s important to get more social media shares and build your following. The best way to do it is to build it organically. Make readers care.

The age of spending so much money on Facebook ads just to see a slight increase in numbers is over. Brute force is out of fashion. To truly win social media, you need a sustainable solution, one that you won’t have to keep dumping money into and wondering where it all went.

Here’s some good news: getting more social shares is easier than you might think. Big companies have mastered it and so can you. It all starts with optimizing your website for sharing. In this article you will find real, actionable steps that will explain how to do that.

Spoiler: none of these steps involve “advice” on how to entertain your audience with the latest memes in hopes that you’ll go viral.

social-sharing-conceptTurn Website Visitors into Social Media Followers

It’s obvious that you care about social media. However, you don’t start there. You start with your own website.

Your website is and always should be your home base on the Web. As a home base, one of the things it needs to do effectively is to direct traffic to other places your brand can be found on the Web. Like your social media pages. Here are a few ways you can do that more effectively.

Make Social Sharing Buttons More Prominent

When a visitor lands on your website, it should be obvious what you want them to do next. If one of the things you want them to do is share your content on social media, then that’s what you should be directing them to do.

If your website isn’t already laid out in a way that encourages social sharing, then it may be a good time to think about a redesign. Those things should not be taken lightly. You need a home base that emphasizes and compels visitors to share your content with their audience on social media.

Remember, that modern design always puts social media front and center. The latest designs put social media sharing buttons on all key pieces of content, which means all you don’t have to worry about doing anything.

With social media sharing buttons throughout your site you’re telling visitors: “We’re proud of our content. We think you folks will enjoy it to. Please share it with your friends!”

Making this one change to your site is sure to have a positive effect on your social media following. That’s not the only change you should make though:

● Include social media buttons above the fold AND in the footer of your site.

● Put a call to action at the end of every blog post inviting readers to share your content.

● List all of your social media pages on your website’s contact page.

Repetition helps to make messages stick, so you want to repeat the message to share your stuff on social media as often as possible.

Include A “Tweet This!” Button

You may not have heard of it before, but there’s a very handy tool out there called Click to Tweet that can help drive a ton of social shares of your website content.

How it works is simple. You just create the tweet you want others to send out, which can include links or images, and Click to Tweet creates an HTML code that you can embed into your emails.

For example, if you’re writing a blog post about how to increase conversion rates you might include something like “Our test audience increased their conversion rates by 30% in just one week!” followed by a link saying Click to tweet this stat!

When the user clicks on the link you can set it so they tweet out the stat along with a link back to your original blog post.

Quick Tips for More Shareable Content

In addition to using a “Tweet this!” button, here are a few more quick tips to make your content more shareable.

● Name drop other experts

Want to get your posts shared by someone who is influential in your field? Name drop them in a post and then tweet them to let them know they were mentioned. They may share your post to show their appreciation.

● Include lots of images

Use images in your content and throughout your website. Content with plenty of visuals is way more likely to get shared.

● Create headlines that ask to be shared

Headline writing is an art, and websites like Upworthy and Buzzfeed have it mastered. Whether you love or hate their headlines, their content is among the most shared on social media. Writing a good headline is complicated but it’s extremely important. In the modern age of Internet and Twitter, you have seconds to hook your potential audience. Don’t waste it.

Here’s an article from Fast Company explaining what you can learn from Upworthy’s headlines.

● Stay positive

Focus on creating positive content that helps people, rather than negative content full of rants and criticism. Mashable did a study on social sharing that shows posts with a positive sentiment are more likely to get shared.

The Rules Change

Think of the advice throughout this post as a set of best practices to follow every time you add new content to your site. It’s not a one-time set of implementations; it’s an ongoing list of things you should be doing all the time to ensure every new piece of content you add is perfectly optimized for social sharing.

If you have any questions, or suggestions of your own to add, please leave a comment below. And share this article among your friends, too! (See?)

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