As a big user of technology and (specifically) social media, I love to share the content that I come across each day. As with anything you might run into, I come across a vast array of different content and shareability winners and losers! Basically, there are times when I find some great content that is tucked away with little exposure only to realize that part of that content creator’s problem is that it simply does not provide its audience with an easy way to share that material within their circles. Some sites do not even have share buttons on their blog and article content. In other cases, they have incomplete sharing functionality. A lot of the problem seems to be on focus and site goals… and maybe a little bit of reduced knowledge in this area. Too many people want their sites to be pretty and eye-appealing yet spend little time or attention on the usability and shareability of the site. Sometimes, that even includes the lack of a solid SEO strategy, but we can save the SEO discussion for another day.
Looking specifically at how the content is presented and how the site allows readers to share with others, I am constantly finding tweet buttons that are severely lacking optimization and completeness. Content creators, you need to think like a reader and a sharer for a moment. If we take the Tweet Button as a primary example, what should the site have? Here are four extremely important considerations:
Readily Available – First, you want a button that is readily available that you and other readers can click to share on Twitter.
Containing Complete Title – Second, you need to make sure that, once the button is in place, the button functions correctly. Sometimes, a content creator will generate a title that does not play nicely with Twitter. If you do not double-check that when posting your content, the tweet will look like garbage, and most people will not take the extra time to correct it and tweet it – instead deciding to merely skip the sharing of your [good] content altogether. So, test out your tweet button on each post after publishing it to make sure that it shows the title and the link and not just one or the other.
Tweet Length – Third, you want to monitor how long of a tweet it is when somebody uses your Tweet Button. Remember that this is most critical since Twitter limits tweets to 140 characters. I would recommend allowing some room and keeping it well below 120 characters to encourage retweeting by their followers. If your tweet is already 130 characters long and a friend of theirs wants to classically retweet it (using the RT @twitter-handle <tweet content> format), there is a good chance that there will not be enough room, and that just means that some will decide against retweeting the content, leading to less exposure for your awesome content.
Plug Your Blog / Author – Lastly, you need to indirectly plug yourself. If you have a blog and a Twitter account, you should always be automatically embedding “RT @your-Twitter-handle” at the beginning of or “via your-Twitter-handle” at the end of the auto-generated tweet within each Tweet Button. Sure, you might have trackbacks enabled on your site, but why not just make it easier on yourself? Plus, you tend to get more followers and a higher Klout score by doing this! You do like some added exposure, right? As a perfectionist and a reader, I get tired of clicking the Tweet Button only to find your Twitter handle via or RT missing; I might take the extra time to add it in for you, but most won’t, so use your common sense. On top of that, if you have a large blog with multiple authors (or have guest blog posters at times), be sure to add their Twitter handles in the mix too. So, your auto-generated tweet’s structure from the button should either look like “RT @your-blog’s-Twitter -handle <blog title> <blog link> <related Twitter hashtags> by @blog-post-author’s-Twitter-handle” or “<blog title> <blog link> <related Twitter hashtags> by @blog-post-author’s-Twitter-handle via @your-blog’s-Twitter-handle” – by doing this, you give the credit where the credit is due, and you empower your readers to help build your following much more conveniently, efficiently, and effectively. It is amazing how some major blogs and Internet portals fail in this simple but important task. Many sites will use the recommended follow feature within the default Tweet Button, but don’t just stop there!
Remember to make it easy on your readers. The attention span of the majority is limited, especially with all of the noise within the channel, so do yourself a favor and make it easy for your readers to share your stuff! Remember to test your Tweet Button for each post that you publish just to make sure that it is working in the way that you expect it to! If you don’t pay attention to these small details, you’ll never enjoy the engaged following that you could have. If your tweet button is optimized and complete, I’m more likely to be happy and come back to read and share more… and you won’t be a Fail Whale!