With dozens of sharing options to choose from, multiple styles of integration and trying to figure out where on your page to place your sharing buttons, there is no shortage of ideas and variations that publishers can try in order to maximize the social strategy of their site.
To try and take some of the guess work out of our publisher’s lives, we wanted to outline the 5 best practices a publisher should use in order to maximize virality and the effectiveness that social buttons can bring to their sites.
UNIFORMITY: Keep the buttons uniform in design and size. Whether you choose to display icons or extended name buttons, select one style and use it across all pages.
MULTIPLE OPTIONS FOR SHARING: Readers need choices. Data we’ve gathered from thousands of sites indicates that sites who give users’ readers a minimum of 5 different sharing channel choices generate the largest volume of sharing. Twitter, Facebook, and email buttons are obvious, but make sure to also include several of the following (depending on your content category): Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Digg, and Blogger. Anything less and it means you miss out on free shares.
SHARE COUNTERS: Po.st allows several variations of indicating the number of shares a page has received. You can have one universal counter that tallies ALL of your shares no matter which channel was used, or you can have individual counters on EACH sharing channel. Readers like to see that other people have shared and it helps add credibility. Some sites who added counters saw a boost of 8-20% in sharing volume within two weeks.
CALL TO ACTION: Make sure to indicate that you’d like people to share your content. A simple “Share” is enough to get people’s attention or if you’d like add more colorful language, do it. You’ll be surprised what a simple word can do to encourage your readers start sharing your content. A generic “Share” icon can also signal a way for your users to hover over it for even more sharing options (Po.st functionality).
PLACEMENT: Place your sharing options where users can quickly find the buttons and remember where they are the next time they come back to your site. The majority of publishers place Po.st on the top right near the article title. If your site has multiple articles or posts per page, display sharing buttons for each article. If your site typically has long articles, you’ll need to place the buttons at the top and bottom to allow readers to share the moment the minute they finish reading.