Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Four Easy Creative Hacks to Boost Social Click-Through

A common social tactic is to publish on a blog, then publish that in social networks. The basic idea of this is, usually, provide good value content on a topic your audience cares about and they’ll click through to your website, which is invariably your point of contact or point of sale.

Around 60% of the social strategies I write have an end goal of ‘increasing sales via a website’. So before we start make sure your content is of value. Will they care? Is it useful? Is it topical and immediate? Is it new? Who’s it targeted at and at what point in the purchase process? Creating small up-front editorial calendars of upcoming events, special days, product launches, conferences and trade shows with hashtags etc. is fried gold. Having newsworthy content ready for sign off well in advance is where you need to be. Remember, don’t just write for the sake of it – a well-researched paper that’s bang-on for the audience will have a shit-tonne more long tail and get shared and reshared long after those 4, quickly dashed off, keyword-soggy, blog posts regurgitating old ideas.

The best places for editing links to content, from social, are LinkedIn and Facebook. Twitter, obviously, you can write whatever the hell you like. Facebook, in a desperate attempt to stop spammers, ‘fake news’ ™, scammers and click-bait, have (in the last few days) scrapped the ability to edit a link preview (its image, title and text) before we can share. This, I gotta say, makes running Facebook Pages a seriously bloody ugly experience. There is, however, light at the end of the tunnel. Right now, Facebook is allowing ‘some Pages’ and ‘Publishers’ to identify their website domains and so any link from that domain that’s posted to relevant Pages will be editable. If you nip to the ‘Publishing Tools’ tab at the top of the Page (when you’re on desktop devices) you’ll see a ‘Link Ownership’ section, if you’ve been blessed with this functionality by the SM gods. We should all be getting it over time, as Facebook does, but it will be policed.

So anyway, we’ve got our strong/valuable content and our SM platforms. How do we make people click through?

Create strong titles.

There are a few tricks here that I can testify work.

First off, power words.

Yeah, I know that sounds gimmicky but bear with me. The more emotional headlines stimulate click through and (very often) sharing. Yes, there’s a fine line. We are not, after all, the Daily Mail (we’ll, most of us aren’t). Words are cues and triggers. We can, however, try to use words that stimulate emotion in the reader and put some passion in the headline. If we stimulate curiosity, urgency (that FOMO factor), make people question things, feel safe, inspire them, or stir up emotions we have them. If there’s an emotional benefit to the headline there’s a significant increase in click through rate.

Here are some examples of power words:


Time saving

Think about what you’re trying to say, and then stimulate genuine feelings. There’s hundreds more words like this and some will actually come from the brands traits. Just think about it. If your directing middle-aged trans-gender people to an article about skin care on a website for a laser treatment clinic you’ll be engaging the audience with a different set of words and stimulating different desires and emotions than if you're pointing millennial engineering students to an article on coastal erosion on your website about specialist surveyor training. When you’re crafting strategy, list a few and include them in sample messaging (if appropriate).

Use good, and properly sized, images.

In our busy streams of daily social media fluff we need to stand out from the heard, but be on brand while we’re doing it. Keeping a common layout, font, theme, border or style helps - even if it’s just a specific filter used on all images.

Every platform has an optimal image size for links. Use it.

Facebook, for example, uses a few: A normal link on desktop: 470 x 246 pixels. A normal link on mobile: 560 x 292 pixels. A link on right hand side column: 254 x 133 pixels. Desktop ‘carousel’ images on links: 200 x 200 pixels. Mobile ‘carousel’ images on links: 240 x 460 pixels.

LinkedIn uses: A normal link: 1200 x 628 pixels.

Can you take an optimised slice of your Infographic out of the master at this size? Can you add a few words or choose something a bit more epic or cooler than what the embedded link has trawled from the website? Can you show something aspiration or humorous (if suitable)?

Add numbers to titles.

Titles with numbers in them show value and demonstrate knowledge of a topic and/or research. Statistically (no pun intended) they garner greater click through and say – up front – what the reader can expect. They make, if you will, a promise. ‘7 brilliant litter tray hacks for your stay at home kitty’ is a much better title than ‘DIY cat litter tray ideas.’

Answer, or ask, questions.

Asking questions the user is asking is a great way to demonstrate empathy and to be of value.

Some of this comes down to research. What does your audience want to know? A quick search on Quora or Yahoo Answers around your brand's industry can give you a wealth of potential blog topics and headlines. So, simple enough. Give these a try. Remember that emotional hook and dynamic language. Have a good image, created for the link if time permits. Answer the questions the audience is asking. If you have bullet points, give them numbers and flesh them out. Remember your overall brand style and keep it on track – this shouldn’t disrupt the brand persona or existing tone of voice.

If you start seeing click through results or have any more ideas, let me know.

This was originally published over on my LinkedIn profile at