Social Sharing – Is The Switch On? 4 Reasons It Needs To Be!

I read an interesting tweet from Danny Brown Friday morning:

Danny_normal
dannybrown: Just read a blog that I loved and wanted to share, but no social sharing options. Don’t make same “mistake“, bloggers.
about 17 hours ago via HootSuite ยท Reply ยท View Tweet

I started out making the same mistake with this very blog, Social Media Notebook. It was an oversight – but it wasn’t until Nathan Hangen and Jordan Cooper pinched me by the ear – that I realized the miss and fixed it.

Your blog’s readers should be able to socially share and bookmark both individual posts and your entire blog with a single click. That’s the defacto rule of a good blog – and it’s something that must be there no matter what.

Social sharing is one of the essential design elements of a successful social media roadmap.

Here’s a list of top four reasons you must have social sharing enabled on your blog – and the consequences of not having it:

Make Your Content Viral:
You do want to ensure that your content goes viral, when it resonates with your audience. Social bookmarking using StumbleUpon, Delicious or Digg is one of the easiest ways for your content to go viral.

That’s only if your readers have the correct set of icons available for them to click. No matter how good and relevant your blog is, it will fail to go viral without social sharing enabled.

Make Your Perspectives Referable:
One of the other ways to ensure that your perspectives get referenced and passover in a circle is to make sure your readers get a direct link to it.

The easier your audience can get a link to your content and broadcast it to their network, the faster your perspectives will propagate.

Build Readership:
As Mark Thompson of SmashingShare rightly says:

Your content is only as good as the people that see it. If your content is not easily made to share, it will be much harder to build a readership to your blog. Using social media icons throughout the homepage, individual posts, and RSS feed, allows for readers to easily share content with friends and social community members.

One of the motivations of social media is engagement and readership – and this is an means to that end.

Tap Into Human Psychology And Behaviors:
David Armando in his post on Harvard Business Review says:

Social media has led to “social sharing,” the broadcasting of our thoughts and activities. It’s not a fad. It’s a sociological phenomenon, accelerating at light speed.

The only way you can leverage this trend to your benefit is by making active use of it. No – this is not tricking your audience.

Social sharing will happen only if your content and perspectives and relevant in the larger scheme of things.

… But when they are, you do want to provide your readers with the right set of tools!

If you’re on self hosted WordPress, you’re in good luck. You will be able to add social sharing options using ready to use plugins quickly and easily.

Here are 7 WordPress plugins that make the cut when it comes to social sharing:

  1. Sexy Bookmarks
  2. Add To Social
  3. Add To Any
  4. ShareThis
  5. AddThis
  6. Sociable
  7. Share And Follow

I personally use Share And Follow, primarily because I find it super easy and convenient – for my needs. I did try all the others, and then settled in for this.

I’d recommend that you do dabble around with all of them before taking your pick, you might just find something else that works better for you.

All the blog platforms today offer social sharing options – either through the use of templates, plugins or extensions. If for some reason you are not on a self hosted WordPress, now would be a good time to investigate the social sharing options available to you, and enabling the one that makes best business case for you.

There are also a bunch of other aspects to consider in social sharing. I will be talking in depth about these later next week, but here’s the list so that it continues to be your radars:

  1. Icon Sets – why, how and where. Icon sets can make your connect and share options stand out.
  2. Channels – which social media channels to enable. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Delicious, Digg and Reddit seem to be the most prevalent.
  3. Shortening Services – which shortening services to shorten the shared URLs. Bit.ly, Ow.ly, TinyUrl, Is.gd and a plethora of others that are widely used.
  4. Sidebar Sharing and Usability Perspectives – enabling a top/side/bottom floating sidebar, and perspectives around it’s usage.
  5. Web Toolbar / Sitebar Sharing – adding third party web toolbars like Apture and Wibiya to your blog; and their value/benefit analysis.
  6. Analytics – enabling, and using analytics on your social sharing options – and what can come out of it.

What strategies are you using for social sharing? Which plugins on what platforms? How are you customizing them? And what channels are you enabling social sharing from your blog for?

I’d love to hear your perspectives.

(Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jek-a-go-go/)

8 Responses to Social Sharing – Is The Switch On? 4 Reasons It Needs To Be!
  1. Danny Brown
    Twitter: DannyBrown
    July 18, 2010 | 1:40 pm

    Great overview, Kapil, and nice use of examples as well.

    It does seem counter-productive; you’re writing on a social platform, so why wouldn’t you open it up to be more social? Heck, you don’t even have to be on a network yourself to have your post/blog shared on it – but at least make sure your readers can ๐Ÿ™‚
    Danny Brown recently posted… Using Social Media Right โ€“ For You

    • Kapil Apshankar
      July 21, 2010 | 4:26 pm

      Yup – it’s a low effort no-brainer, Danny!

      The more I think about the effort/payoff ratio for social sharing, the more convincing it gets ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Julia Stewart
    Twitter: JuliaStewart
    July 18, 2010 | 1:46 pm

    Thanks for this, Kapil and thanks, Danny for pointing it out!

  3. Julia Stewart
    Twitter: JuliaStewart
    July 18, 2010 | 1:47 pm

    oops! Just saw the share Twitter Handle link. That does make sense, doesn’t it?

    • Kapil Apshankar
      July 21, 2010 | 4:24 pm

      Sure, it does – Julia. Glad you liked it, and hope you come back often ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Danny Brown
    Twitter: DannyBrown
    July 20, 2010 | 12:53 pm

    Hey there Kapil,

    Just an FYI – you can have another field for Twitter directly under the website box so it looks more uniform:

    http://www.animhut.com/tuts/add-twitter-id-field-to-comment-form-in-5-easy-steps/

    Straightforward and painless ๐Ÿ™‚
    Danny Brown recently posted… How NOT to Win Friends and Influence People

    • Kapil Apshankar
      July 21, 2010 | 4:24 pm

      Thanks for the insight, Danny. Looks much better now!

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