If you are familiar with this blog, you know I recently attended Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Success Summit, in which social media best practices were thoroughly discussed. I am happy to report that I have passed my exam and am officially certified as a Social Media Success Summit attendee.
Kind of a big deal.
So keep this in mind while I share these often overlooked steps to make your blog super-social media-friendly. When I come across the following bumps-in-the-sharing-on-Facebook-road, I want throw my computer against the wall, ensuring I never visit that blog, or other blogs, again.
1. Tweet Button doesn’t auto-shorten links: 140 characters are precious. Don’t take up 98 of them with a lengthy URL link. There are plenty of tools to shorten a link (TinyURL, bud.ly, bit.ly ), but having to take the initiative of shrinking the URL down and pasting it into a tweet is just exhausting. Readers are already doing you the favor of sharing your content; don’t make them work to do so.
2. Tweet Button uses wrong Twitter handle: This happens surprisingly more than one would imagine (ahem, 12 News). The person is reading your post and willing to share it, time to set the hook and make him a follower. Having your brand’s handle either in the Tweet Button tweet that your social-media-savvy self already crafted (with a shortened URL, see number one), or in a prompt after sending the tweet is a great way to turn readers into followers, but for gosh sake’s make sure that handle is right!
**UPDATE: AS OF AUGUST 29, 2012 @12NEWS TWITTER HAS BEEN RESURRECTED AND SENT ITS FIRST TWEET SINCE APRIL 8, 2009 **
3. Links don’t open in a new tab or window: One of the many, many great things about online publications is the ability to supplement information and give back stories with links. Don’t know who Roger Federer is? Only one click away. Unsure where Bangladesh is located? Only one click away. No idea what the health care reform really means? That will probably be a whole bunch of clicks. Once I have learned the information needed, I can get back to enjoy the article…
…had the link not opened in the same tab, thus taking me away from my original reading material. Sure, I can easily go back a page, but now I’ve lost my place, and I don’t like to lose. Besides, why send someone away from your blog? Always have links open in new tabs.
Before you start clicking through every link of every blog I’ve posted, this is one where some slack is cut. It is one thing if one or two slip by unprepared, and backends of websites can be finicky. It’s an entirely different thing when a site never links to new tabs.
4. Comment threads are confusing I have a secret: I sometimes engage in comment wars with strangers. I find it is a good way to release some stress and keeps me from taking it out on people I actually know. Conversations in comment sections can be messy, but not just because it’s a sad, scary world out there. Comments can be in reverse order, several dialogues can be happening at once – all sorts of madness that can scare a less confident reader away.
Make your comment sections less scary by keeping them in chronological order starting with the first, and allow replies to specific comments to keep a conversation together. An exception would be if your blog receives thousands of comments a day, as scrolling through all of them would be a waste of a perfectly good eight seconds. These blogs should have an option of the comment order for the user to decide.
5. A tweet, a post, a pin with lying links: When I see a post talking about Katie Holmes’ detailed plan to escape Mr. Cruise, the accompanying link better take me to a story about Katie Holmes’ detailed plan to escape Mr. Cruise. Don’t take me to a homepage and make me search for the valued information. The same goes for links to Facebook or Twitter posts, event registration, downloadable documents, so on and so forth. Again, make the customer do as little as possible while engaging and sharing.
6. Security Test Tricksters:This is a bonus because it is not the fault of the content creator, but is definitely head-banging-on-keyboard inducing.
Most blogs require a user to sign in before leaving a comment. Sometimes, this requires taking a test. It’s a good defense against spam and very easy: The person is to type in the letters and numbers shown in a distorted image. No biggie, until you’re given a test with characters not found on your standard North American keyboard.
Even our own alphabet can toy with us. There are more than a few letters that, without a size reference, are verbatim upper and lower case. This can present a problem during a case-sensitive test, especially when the numbers are all wiggly and jostled about in the first place.
Now, I’m not calling these deadly sins, but they are certainly really bad cold sins. Consider these your daily vitamins to keep you blog healthy and happy.
Trust me. I’m certified.