Case Study: How To Get More Facebook Shares On Your Blog Posts

Written by Zac Johnson
social social social

Facebook is the largest social media on the internet. And shares is the currency of the internet. According to Jeff Bullas, “47% of all Internet users are on Facebook.” (source)

With more facebook influence, you can build a loyal audience and increase engagement with your target audience.

Many bloggers and content marketers are creating more content with the hope of reaching their ideal audience on social media platforms – especially facebook.

They want to get more traffic for their blog to build an audience that’s going to buy their products or services. More Facebook shares would mean more traffic to your site, which can lead to more clients or customers to your services or products. And of course, all of these would increase how much money you get at the end of the day.

After all, that’s why you started your business online. But how do you get more  Facebook shares?

Lay a Solid Foundation: Research Your Audience

The first step to getting more social media shares is to know your audience well. You need to know which posts resonate with them most. What are they always looking for? What are they sharing with their friends on Facebook?

Find out the popular blog posts in your topic and dig into them. Find out the elements that made these posts successful.

Here are a few tools that could help you with this step:

i).   Ahrefs Content Explorer: This is an awesome tool to find the popular content in your topic. Just enter the topic you want and you’ll see the top posts related to your topic sorted by the number of shares.

You could also sort them by Facebook shares if you are targeting Facebook.

Ahrefs_Report

ii).   Buzzsumo: It works the same way as Ahrefs content explorer. Just enter the main keywords to find the most shared content:

BuzzSumo

Now you have a better understanding of what works best for your audience.

2.   Use a Number in Your Headline

List posts are always proven to go viral.

Henneke’s post, 37 Tips for Writing Emails that Get Opened, Read, and Clicked was the most popular post on Copyblogger.

Aside from the fact that this kind of post is useful, list posts always get more shares than average blog posts.

When Coschedule did a research with Okdork on the most used phrases in popular headlines, they found that list post was the first one.

Most_Popular_Words

According to a research done by Conductor, Buzzfeed, one of the fastest growing blogs on the internet, published more list posts than any other content type including how-to posts.

Headline_Preferences

The reason why people love list posts is because it’s perfect for scanners, and most of internet readers scan through the posts, before reading it.

It also provides value for readers. Everyone would prefer reading an article titled 10 ways to get traffic than reading get traffic for your blog.

Even if they have the same content, but when you mention the number of ways, people already know what they are looking for in your posts.

That’s why whenever you can, try to use numbers in your headline. It’d motivate more people to share your posts on Facebook.

3).   Leverage visual assets

Being in the technology era, our brains respond better to visuals.

According to the next web, “the human brain processes and transmits visual information (infographics, videos, memes, charts, and more) 60,000 faster using plain text (such as blog posts, article etc).”

Brain_Processing_Visuals

Posts which has at least one image get an average of 64.9 shares, compared to posts that has no images, which gets an average of 28 shares. A huge difference just because you don’t use relevant and professionally-looking images for your blog posts.

Average_Shares_for_Articles

Infographics is by far the most shared content on the internet. A lot of blogs saw a huge boost in their traffic when they started to add infographics to their blogs.

Shares_By_Content_Type

One of these blogs which used infographics to get more visitors to its blog is KISSmetrics. In 2010, infographics helped Neil Patel generate over 2.5 million visitors and and build close to 42,000 quality links.

Neil Patel has also reported that when he started to use infographics on his blog, his brand popularity started to increase dramatically.

More people are emailing and telling him that they found his blog everywhere now that he’s consistent with infographics marketing.

When people embed Patel’s infographics on their blog, they’re also promoting the Quicksprout brand.

So it’s totally worth spending extra time creating more visuals to support your text and help you get more social shares on Facebook.

4).    Place Social Share Button at Vantage Location

In a recent post, Michael Stelzner said that where you place your social share buttons will definitely affect how many shares you’ll get.

When your share buttons are well placed, it’s easier for people to share your post. Instead of logging in and sharing from their facebook profile, they could do all this with just 2 clicks.

Most bloggers prefer to have their share buttons scrolling at the left side of their posts, but Upworthy uses a different approach – they placed their share buttons beneath the description of their posts. And they’ve over 7.6 million shares on their recent content.

UpWorthy_Share_Buttons

Since readers can easily locate the wide buttons, it also acts as a reminder for them to click it more often.

Another important thing that makes social share buttons work is social proof. People are encouraged to share things that others are already sharing.

When people see that your post has already been shared by others, they’re encouraged to share it.

QuickSprout_Interest_Over_Time

Actually, the opposite could also happen. When your posts don’t get any shares, it could affect your site negatively.

Social proof can make a big impact on people sharing your posts or not. The reality is that social proof plays a big role in the use of social sharing and can make a big impact on the success of your blog posts.

Here is an A/B test done by Visual Website Optimizer that proves this. When they removed the social sharing buttons from product pages of Taloon.com, they increased add to carts by 11.9%.

Taloon_Sharing_Buttons

So where exactly exactly should you place your social sharing buttons?

The place that gets most shares is top left. It’s because of the way site users navigate the web page – from left to right.

A recent study conducted by Jacob Nielsen in 2006 on eye-tracking found that,

“online users often read Web pages in an F-shaped pattern.”

Heatmap_Example

The cloudy-yellowish region is the most seen portion. That’s why the top and the left are among the best places to put social share buttons. Jerry Low from WHSR also has his share buttons at the top right side on single post pages.

WebHosting_Secret_Revealed

More important, Garrett Moon of CoSchedule shares the six best places to position social media buttons on your blog. Here’s an excerpt from his post:

Popular_Placement_for_Social_Sharing_Buttons

In all, there is really no right or wrong location to place your social buttons. You’ve to test this yourself and be sure. But remember that prominence is what truly matters.

In other words, make your buttons visible and your post valuable. You’ll definitely inspire more people to share your post.

5).   Don’t use many social share buttons

Another important thing to keep in mind to get more Facebook shares from your post is to offer less alternatives.

Giving people a lot of choices will make confused. Copyhackers, one of the leading CRO blogs allow 3 buttons (Twitter, Facebook and Google+) only:

Having examined several authority blogs, I discovered that giving your readers the opportunity to share on 3 social media networks (Twitter, facebook and Google+) will give you much traction.

Side_Bar_Social_Shares

Although some blogs use more than 3 share buttons, but you’ll notice that only 3 out of the 5 gets the most shares. Here’s an example from Copyblogger.

CopyBlogger_Social_Shares

The truth is that having more than the required social share buttons on your site will disrupt your site load time. Decreasing the speed means less people are going to stay on your site and that could result in a noticeable decrease in SEO rankings.

That’s why Doug Antkowiak of Search Engine Journal says that adding many social media sharing buttons makes your site less social. Most of the authority blogs out there don’t have more than 4 share buttons.

6).   Encourage people to share

Become the Oliver Twist of bloggingask for more. Don’t just let people devour your awesome post, ask them to share it with others. They’ll like to reciprocate.

If you want more people to share your articles, ask them at the end of your posts to share it. Seriously, it will increase your social traffic.

Persuasive content needs a clearly stated call to action. Yes, your readers know how to share your content, but sometimes, they can forget or don’t just feel like doing it at a particular time. Remind them.

To prove it, tweets which has ‘please retweet get 4x more retweets’ than normal tweets. Imagine getting 4x your shares by just asking more people to share it.

Please_Retweet_for_Social_Shares

So the next time you want more shares for your post, tell your readers to share your post.

7.   Evoke Emotions in Your Post

According to Jonah Berger, an expert in studying viral content and the author of the New York Times best-selling book Contagious: Why Things Catch On, there are 6 elements that make your post go viral.

One of these is emotions. Your content has to have an emotional effect on your readers to be able to get more shares. When you evoke emotions, people will respond better because they’re first and foremost ‘emotional beings.’

Popular_Emotions

According to Jon Morrow, to be unforgettable, you need to treat your readers like walking deads, and wake them by charging your emotions and letting it flow into your writing.

Jon Morrow’s post On Dying, Mothers, and Fighting for Your Ideas is the most popular post on Copyblogger. Till date. One of the reasons why is because he intended to make people cry, and he did it really well.

Which is better, positive or negative emotions?

As stated by Jonah Berger, posts with positive emotions perform better than negative emotions.

Noah Kagan also proved this. He analyzed the top 10,000 shared posts on the internet and mapped each one to an emotion. Here is the breakdown of the emotions:

Social_Sharing_and_Emotions

Notice that awe (25%), laughter (17%) and amusement (15%) did better than sadness and anger, which made up 7%.

But Jon Morrow proved the opposite?

Yes, his post on Copyblogger was the most shared post, but he created another post on Problogger titled How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise and Get Paid to Change the World.

The post attracted over 70,000 visits in the first 24 hours and it’s on track to getting nearly 1 million visits.

This post generated much more traction than the Copyblogger post. The main reason is because he wants to inspire people which is a positive emotion.

So when you write your next post, try to inject positive emotions into it. Trust me, your grandma will be excited when you show her your social analytics.

It’s Your Turn to Get More Facebook Shares

Now, you know the characteristics of posts that get more Facebook. What are you waiting for? Apply the above steps in your next post and see what happens. Just rinse and repeat and you’ll start to see huge results from Facebook.

You just need to take action. Nothing is going to change if you just read this article and don’t do anything.

Remember that the more facebook shares your post receives, the more traction you’ll gain online and your referral traffic will increase as well. As long as you’re producing high-quality content with a well-placed social share buttons, you shouldn’t worry about getting more socials signals.

As usual, we’d appreciate your feedback. How do you get more facebook shares on your blog posts?

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One Reply to “Case Study: How To Get More Facebook Shares On Your Blog Posts”

  1. Great case study Zac. Loved how you put forth the 6th point. ‘Become Oliver Twist of Blogging’ need to work on that one personally.

    I too have experienced the power of adding number in headlines (point NO 2 mentioned by you) it definitely boosts shares and grabs eyeballs.

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