One easy tip to increase content sharing immediately

increase content sharing

In this world of extreme information density, creating great content is certainly no guarantee that anybody will see it. We need to focus on content ignition — techniques to get our content seen and shared.

Of course this is the entire focus of The Content Code book, but I wanted to share with you one problem I see all over the web that might be secretly killing your content.

Obviously every piece of content on the web needs to have social sharing buttons associated with it. However, it’s shocking to see how many company websites miss this simple point. You are basically daring  readers to share!

Adding social sharing buttons can increase the amount your content is shared immediately by 700%.

But here’s an even bigger problem. Of the sites I see with sharing buttons, less than half of them have properly optimized their tweet button, which could be killing a lot of social shares. This is happening even with the content sites of Fortune 500 companies.

Here are the four key elements of an optimized tweet button and an explanation of why it is important.

Is there a title?

I know this sounds preposterous, but many standard tweet buttons only post the URL and not the name of the post! I come across this at least once a month somewhere on the web! Here’s an example of when I tried to tweet a very excellent article about dealing with information density:

Screenshot 2016-01-29 10.07.10

Pro tip: People are more likely to read your article if they know the title!  : )

Shortened URL

This is the biggest problem I see. Sometimes the URL for the content piece is so long it bumps up against the tweet’s 140-character limit! Here is a what I see when I try to tweet some awesome content from eConsultancy:

Screenshot 2016-02-14 09.33.41


Whoa. That’s a lot of link!

Not only is there no title, but the URL takes up all the tweetable space!

Remember that when somebody re-tweets you, their Twitter handle is added to the tweet and perhaps a comment like “MUST read!”  If it gets tweeted again, another name is added to the tweet and so on.

Obviously, your goal should be to send out an accurate tweet with as few characters as possible. In WordPress, this is easy to do. Simply click “edit” near the URL name at the top of the post and condense the name of the URL.

Screenshot 2015-12-24 08.13.20


While you are editing and condensing the URL, make sure it contains the target keywords for the post. This gives you a small SEO boost.

Credit handle

By far the biggest problem I see is that the default tweet button does not include the handle of the content creator at the end of the tweet.

I can’t tell you how many times I have to go searching for the correct handle of the author so I can give them credit for the tweet. Even worse, some people have not taken the time to change the default setting on the button so the credit shoes up like this: “I am a social media expert” via @sharethis.

You are going to all this trouble to create great content. Why would you give credit to somebody else?

Every social sharing solution provider has its own procedure to change the default settings of its widgets and plugins. Be sure to check the documentation or FAQ page for specific instructions on how to change the Twitter handle from its default setting to a custom Twitter handle of your choosing.

I haven’t seen research comparing optimized tweet buttons versus non-optimized but I would guess this could increase content sharing on Twitter by at least 100 percent while also giving you appropriate credit for your work.

Go forth and optimize!

mark schaefer

Illustration courtesy Flickr CC and Hsiong

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  • Carol Cronin

    The lengthy link you include above could be shortened (by you, before tweeting) all the way back to the &. The rest is just tracking information to figure out how you got to it.

  • Finding solace in knowing I’m not the only one.

    I see “@sharethis” in Tweets every day and I’m the kind of gal who contacts the owner of the content with a recommendation to fix that issue (and why). Guess what happens next, Mark? Usually nothing. But I keep marching on to help Twitter users.

    The biggest thing that leaves me scratching my head is the number of content creators who have ZERO SOCIAL MEDIA SHARING BUTTONS on their blog posts, landing pages, etc. By now, I’ve contacted a gazillion of these folks to ask them to please add social sharing to their web pages. Guess what usually happens next, Mark? Nothing. It blows my mind … every time. Do you suppose they don’t really care if readers/visitors share their content?! Crazy.

  • yes, but why make people go through this extra step? And most people would not know to do that. My point is, we must remove every obstacle and make it easy for people to share our content.

  • Agreed. In research I used for The Content Code book I found that about 50% of content sites have no social sharing buttons. Mind-boggling.

  • Dorien Morin-van Dam

    The same thing happens when I try to pin great content to Pinterest. On that platform, you should include an alt-tag which becomes your default pin description. Very important and something every blogger should take care of!

    About Twitter, I am no webmaster, and I know I’ve tried to add my Twitter name to my tweets without success. It’s on my list for next time I talk to my web designer.

    Thanks for reminding me to take care of it!

  • Thanks for the tip!

  • It is great to hear that I’m not alone, too, Mark. I also see “@sharethis” and the newest is “long-link?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=SocialWarfare” for unconfigured settings. If I have the time, I will fix them. It is mind-boggling when no sharing options are available. Great post and I’ll be spreading the word.

  • Can’t believe I had not added my Twitter handle as a default at the end of shares… but taken care of now, thanks Mark! On another note, I see that you keep the date in your URL slugs which is informative but advice I have gotten is that it may also hurt click-through rate and shares a couple of years from now when a link may appear “dated” even when you provide “evergreen content” or don’t you think it matters much?

  • Thanks so much Robin!

  • Yes, I am debating that myself. I am working on a new site which will come out in a few weeks and I think I will retire that option.

  • Christina Knock

    So true!! I don’t understand why so many sharing buttons don’t condense URLs or contain the author handles – it’s crazy! Thanks for sharing.

  • Ok, looking forward to the new site!

  • Glad I could help Christina.

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  • One of my pet peeves too. Thanks for spelling it out for those who need to know!

  • “Mind-boggling”, for sure, Mark, but more like cockamamie! I really don’t get it.

  • 700%? Wow! Adding social sharing is such an easy task, it’s obvious that all content creators should make this a priority.

  • 700%? Wow! Adding social sharing is such an easy task, it’s obvious that all content creators should make this a priority.

  • Good read, on how to get content shared quickly…

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