Stop Trying to Get Your Blog Posts Shared and Do This Instead

Stop Trying to Get Your Blog Posts Shared and Do This Instead

So the key to social media is content marketing, right? And content marketing is all about blog posts, right? So, if you want to dominate social networks, the key is to get your blog posts shared on social networks, right?

Well…not necessarily.

Okay. Yes. You should put some social sharing buttons somewhere obvious on your blog, preferably where visitors can easily click them after reading the blog post. And yes, this can unmistakably expand your reach.

But it’s not actually the best way to take advantage of social media.

Here’s the problem. Blog posts just aren’t very shareable. Take a minute and scroll through your Facebook feed right now. Keep scrolling until you find a blog post in there. Yeah, it’s going to be a while.

Meanwhile, average organic reach has dropped from 16 percent in 2012 all the way down to 6.51 percent this year. (Oh how I long for the days when we complained about 16 percent organic reach.)

I’m going to say something a bit heretical. I don’t think you should focus on getting your blog posts shared.

I think you should start asking what does get shared instead.

Look at What’s Actually in Your Facebook Feed

This isn’t rocket surgery.

If you want to know what kind of content actually gets shared on Facebook, you should stop looking at Coca-Cola’s or Rihanna’s ridiculously high number of page likes. You should stop reading how-to guides explaining what you need to do in order to get more likes (except this one). You shouldn’t bother browsing the Social Bakers leaderboard.

Instead, you should look at what your friends are sharing on Facebook.

Social Bakers tells me that the brand with the best engagement rate on Facebook in February was Evolution Fresh. They had a whopping 7.05 percent of their fans engaged.

Well, that’s interesting to me, because as of April 6, 2014, George Takei has an engagement rate of

George Takei on Facebook

…let’s see, carry the 2…oh, just 85 percent.

And taking a look at some of the other things people are sharing in my feed, I see that the Intergallactic Geek Alliance is currently sitting pretty at 33 percent, 9Gag is at 68 percent, Creepypasta is at 40 percent, and some page I’ve never heard of called Spiritual Networks is at 27 percent.

And what are these pages sharing that’s giving them such high engagement rates? Stuff like this:

Spiritual Networks

George Takei Facebook post

9GAG Facebook post

But you know that already, because you use Facebook, right?

And yet, for some reason, most of us are content to just share our blog post on Facebook, hoping that it will pick up some traction. And it might, a little bit. Done properly, it’ll even be profitable. I’m certainly not going to argue that all of these well-known tactics aren’t helpful. But you’re not going to be seeing George Takei’s 85 percent engagement rate any time soon on that alone.

So here’s a suggestion.

The next time you put up a blog post, browse through it and find your most quotable, shareable insight. Turn that into an image macro, link back to the blog post from the text field, and post the image to Facebook.

Then embed that Facebook post right into your blog post, so that your regulars can share it without ever having to leave your site.

Watch your numbers soar.

It couldn’t hurt, right? And I’m willing to bet that the embed will do a lot better than those practically invisible share buttons.

Use Social Platforms for Their Intended Purpose

Social networks aren’t for blog posts. They’re for bite-size pieces of visual content that contain:

  • Some piece of wisdom that can be conveyed in a short number of words

  • Something people can relate to

  • Something that takes people by surprise

  • Something that will make them laugh

  • Something motivational or inspirational

  • Something cute

Just post those to social networks, then embed them in your blog posts, and you have yourself a winning formula.

Give it a try and let us know how it goes.

Thanks for reading.

  • That is great advice Pratik. All I hear these days is people whining about their posts reach. I hope they all read this post (I’ll make sure some do!). The bite-sized information for this post would definitely be: “Use Social Platforms for Their Intended Purpose”. Awesome!

  • GaryW

    This strikes me as very sound advice. Looking forward to putting it into action and seeing the results. Thanks very much for the article.

  • Mari

    Amazing. I love learning about social media and blogging assistance. Thank you very much!

  • Best post I have read all year. Period. It’s about time somebody said it like it is. Thanks Pratik and Francisco. Good stuff!

  • Steve Pots

    I was trying to figure out a way to incorporate cat videos into blog posts……

  • Thanks Donna, I appreciate that, and I’m sure Pratik will be thrilled!

  • This is a great idea! Thank you for sharing.

  • Ravi Shukle

    Great Post Patrick and Francisco and a very good point. I think a lot of users are still scared posting too many quote style images won’t show them results. Great Tip!!

  • Audria Richmond

    This is GREAT!

  • Williesha Morris

    Wow that’s actually really brilliant. Thank you. Nice to get some new, fresh advice on this debacle.

  • Trying this immediately. I will let you know!

  • Yes, thank you!

  • Great insights, Pratik, particularly pointing out the current reach of the likes of George Takei. Time to experiment, I think…

  • i will be trying this too! Thanks for great advice.

  • Come back and let us know!

  • This is great advice. But didn’t all the latest updates to the Facebook news feed algorithm try to downplay this exact strategy? Have you seen any change in performance metrics over the past few weeks?

  • Oh my gosh, this is so simple it’s stupid and by “simple stupid” I mean really brilliant! I’ve been over thinking social media (especially Facebook) . Great post!

  • Great article Patrik. Thanks for your advice.

  • Depends. If the primary purpose of your update is to get people engaged, then this will probably be a good strategy. However, if your primary purpose is to get them to click through and actually go read the blog post, you’re better off leaving the standard Facebook link preview — providing users with a more obvious CTA and larger area to click through (compared to a tiny link buried between the text and attached photo).

  • I was actually expecting an embedded post at the end of this blog post. 🙂

  • Pratik Dholakiya

    Thanks, Gary. Glad to hear you liked the post.

    Let me know how things work for you.

  • Pratik Dholakiya

    Glad I could help. Thanks for reading.

  • Pratik Dholakiya

    Thanks for reading and commenting, Jenn 🙂

  • Pratik Dholakiya

    Thanks, Ravi. Happy to hear you enjoyed the post.

    Do give it a shot and let us know how it works for you.

  • Pratik Dholakiya

    Thanks, Audria 🙂

  • Pratik Dholakiya

    Glad to hear this, Williesha. Feel free to use the advice and come back to let us know how it worked for you 🙂

    Cheers!

  • Pratik Dholakiya

    Thanks, Danelle.

    Looking forward to see the results!

  • Pratik Dholakiya

    Thanks, Ian.

    Let us know what kind of output you see.

  • Pratik Dholakiya

    Awesome. Let us know how it works.

  • Pratik Dholakiya

    I feel that it will certainly have downplay to this strategy but perhaps it would be worth trying different things and do the experiment. I haven’t been able to do a lot of analysis on the performance metrics but I’ll let you know as soon as I know a thing or two about that.

    Thanks for reading.

  • Pratik Dholakiya

    Thanks, Kristal.

  • Pratik Dholakiya

    Thanks, Imtiaz!

  • Pratik Dholakiya

    Thanks, Donna. If you plan to try this out, Francisco and I’d love to hear how it works for you.

  • Pratik Dholakiya

    If you could have relevant and engaged audience to your Facebook page, then I think even if you leave a blog post link, you’ll see change in the visits you get perhaps. I’ll let you know when I do more experiment on this.

    Thanks for commenting.

  • Pratik Dholakiya

    Thanks for the kind words, Houssem. Really appreciate that. Cheers!

  • Ivan Bildi

    Great article, I will try it with some of my pages.
    I would agree with Jonathan that it might be better to go with standard link preview with costume image uploaded so that entire image is clickable.

    Thanks once again for great article.

  • I have been doing this for quite some time. I gave up merely posting links. Sadly, most of the time no one really cares. People go to FB to let off steam and be entertained. We’d love it to be different as business owners but it’s not.

  • Great point Jen. I have also seen a rise in embedded smartphone video content.

  • Thank you Pratik for this awesome and refreshing post. I forgot about the power of visual content on Social Networking sites.

  • Definitely could differ based on audience. Jon Loomer did some experimenting with the text+photo update vs. a standard link preview update. The clickthrough results were pretty significant in my opinion –> http://www.jonloomer.com/2013/02/25/facebook-text-updates-photos-share-links/

  • When you say no one cares, have you checked the analytics for clickthroughs? I would be surprised if the number of clickthroughs was higher when you attached an image vs. when you allowed Facebook to pull the standard link preview.

  • Will do! 🙂

  • Bruce Frazer

    Interesting Concept Pratik, Just wondering what is the best way to embed a FB post on a Blog?

  • Pratik Dholakiya

    Glad to hear that, Praverb. Cheers!

  • I will!

  • lovmydoxies

    I help my foster mother out with her Facebook account and blog. She was talking with me again about her concern with Facebook last week. Patrik, thank you for sharing this advice with us. I want to try this with my foster mother’s Facebook page. I feel dumb for asking this b/c I’m sure most folks reading this know what you mean when you said “Turn that into an image macro, link back to the blog post from the text field, and post the image to Facebook.” Could you please explain how to do this? Thanks so much for your help.
    ~Donna

  • Yes Yes and Yes! This is so true and important. The one thing that is hard though is finding enough time to make all of this content, images and videos etc.

    -Renee’

    @ITeachBlogging

  • Yeah this is good stuff Pratik…the trick is to find a way to make a boring topic into a visually interesting shareable and viral image…but that’s what experimentation is for. Thanks for the tips Pratik!

  • Great advice! I will give it a try for my facebook page.

    http://startupvalue.com

  • Interesting perspective. The problem with Facebook is that all your friends don’t actual see what you post.

  • Greg Stannard

    Donna…I had the same question but i don’t see any answer to it among the comments. Since posting you Q have you gotten any answer to it? Thx.

  • Dale Sadler

    I must not be doing something in the right order. Can anyone help with a video or a better explanation? I know how to do all that is mentioned but when I post the pic on my blog and then work to get it onto FB, it doesn’t look near as good as the examples I see. Instead, it’s a tiny thumbnail that will not get noticed. Also, what’s the best way to make macros?

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  • Junaid Ahmed

    Well, that’s something really awesome tip you shared not only to increase reach to your blog but also to increase the increase the brand’s visibility on social media. I really loved the advice that every marketer must follow. Thanks for sharing such useful things here.

  • From what I understand that the new algorithm is now rewarding link share posts directly from the content page (through a share option like Social Flare or whatever). Either way, the macro idea can’t hurt and I like it! Here’s what FB says about Link Shares: http://newsroom.fb.com/news/2014/01/news-feed-fyi-what-happens-when-you-see-more-updates-from-friends/

  • Guest

    A link to my blog, even with an image, is almost never shared and its reach is very low compared to straight photos that I post with encouraging quotes (on my Encourager Mom page) that include my twitter handle and blog site address watermarked on my photo. I know Facebook claims it will favor link posts but I am seeing the opposite. To answer the question several people had about creating photos for posts, I recommend using PicMonkey and signing up for the pro account for Desktop or use an app like Phonto on your mobile.

  • To answer the question several people had about creating photos for posts, I recommend using PicMonkey and signing up for the pro account for Desktop or use an app like Phonto on your mobile.

    A link to my blog, even with an image, is rarely shared and its reach is very low compared to straight photos that I post with encouraging quotes (on my Encourager Mom page) that include my twitter handle and blog site address watermarked on my photo. I know Facebook claims it will favor link posts but I am seeing the opposite.

  • lovmydoxies

    Hi Greg, No, I didn’t get my question answered yet. If you come across the answer, I’d love if you’d pass it along to me, and I’ll do the same if I find it.
    Thanks so much!

  • Rahul Maheshwari

    What if i tell you getting social shares for a blog is as essential as oxygen for human beings. This guy blasts some 10,000 twitter shares in 12 hours http://a.5rr5.co/s/42jhql

  • It simply means that you add a link in the text of your status update.

  • Great post Pratik! That makes so much sense I don’t know why I haven’t heard it before. Images definitely get shared more and why not take advantage of that. Thanks for making me hit myself on the forehand with a loud DUH!!!!

    LeslieZ

  • maxwell ivey

    Hello; i followed you here from adrienne smith’s thankful thursday post. you are so right about what works best on social media. now as a blind bloggr do you have some suggestions on how i can implement this on my site? thanks, max

  • Akash

    Hey Pratik, indeed an interesting advice. Off late, I have tried to focus on this strategy but with a slight variation.
    After spending months and years on marketing on Facebook, we do get an idea about what kind of content is consumed and gets shared more on the network – Quotes, fun and light-hearted posts, questions and trivia, facts, etc. Another insight that almost all the studies have brought out is that visuals are the kingpins of the content marketing.
    So what I tried experimenting for our blog was to combine both the things – i.e., create a visual that is one of the types that gets consumed and shared more than others, use that in blog post and Voila! For example, for a recent blog post – The power of 3 in presentations, we made a visual and had a quote written on it.

    Now, it serves us two purposes – one, we don’t have to work on a separate visual for Facebook or other Social Media channels; Two, when we post the visual with the blog post link – the post gets higher attraction than the average due to the kind of visual being the content that people like to consume.

    It has served us well so far but it would be interesting to put your idea to practice as well. Your thoughts?

    – Akash
    authorSTREAM

  • lovmydoxies

    Hi Greg, Did you see the reply I got a month ago (sorry, I just read it this weekend!) In case you didn’t see it, the answer is to “add a link in the text of your status update”
    Hope this helps.

  • Greg Stannard

    Got it….thanks..!

  • I like the actionable advice – it’s also a reminder the same content doesn’t work on every site. Thanks for sharing!

  • Krithika Rangarajan

    “Bite size pieces of visual content” – LOVE! Thanks Pratik!

  • Dani Fagan

    Facebook has a minimum size of the image you use, that is needs in order to make your post’s featured image look nice and big – and fill width of facebook feed. I think its minimum 600px or so width… this will fix your tiny thumbnail issue! 🙂