Social media shares are a golden mine for websites, because they provide them with steady traffic and continuous exposure. One would therefore believe that site owners have researched the platforms and optimized their sites for maximal impact. Yet there’re quite a lot of them, still missing out on the opportunity to receive 313 % more engagement in form of web traffic and social interactions on their posts.
Here you’ll find out all about this overseen social media optimization for 313 % more engagement and will be guided through the process of implementing it – step-by-step and with screenshots.
Simple Social Media Optimization For 313 % More Engagement
Sharing your posts on social media is one of the absolute musts of website promotions. Ideally, sharing should be done via dedicated and professionally managed profiles on multiple social media platforms, where focus is on engaging your followers.
It’s the behavior of your target group that should be behind your choice of social networks. If your followers are on SnapChat, it’s there you should be most active. However, in most cases it’s also recommendable that you are active on the four major social networks: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google+.
Facebook remains indeed the most popular network with 1 871 million users, followed by Instagram with 600 million, and Twitter with 370 million (data for 2016 published by Statista). Facebook is also the leading network in terms of social sharing and stands for 57 % of all social content shares, followed by Twitter with 18 %, and Google+ with 10 % (data as of 2nd quarter of 2016 published by Statista).
Of course, the type of content you share on social media has a great impact on generating likes, shares, and clicks. Social Media Examiner reports that photos are not only the most prominent type of content, shared by pages, but also the most effective in terms of driving engagement.
While this might not surprise you overwhelmingly, much more prominent results from research, carried out by Twitter, show that including an image in your tweets can drive up to 313 % more engagement.
Twitter is indeed one of the social media platforms making the live of marketers difficult due to the restriction of included characters in updates. It is therefore a must to master tweeting. If it takes an image to drive 313 % more traffic, then you must include images in your tweets.
This is though, only half-optimization, as you miss the opportunity for more engagement every time somebody else tweets a link to your posts without manually adding an image. So, what can you do to take control of your tweets? What about Facebook shares?
Understanding Social Sharing Optimization
The way ´shared links from your site are rendered by the different social media networks, depends on the structured data implemented on your site. As long as you have implemented the required kinds of structured data, the different social networks render your links automatically and return rich data view for them.
In the picture below you can see the difference in appearance of link tweets with and without Twitter cards implemented. Similar is the appearance of link shares on Facebook, dependent on whether Open Graph was implemented or not. Google+ is the platform accepting the most different types of structured data to generate rich preview. Shema.org is, though, recommended.
The fact that both Facebook and Google+ use Open Graph, means that this kind of structured data is sometimes included in the code of WordPress themes or social sharing tools. This is, however, not the case with Twitter Cards.
Open Graph And Twitter Cards Plugins
Plugins make the implementation of Open Graph and Twitter Cards a very easy task, which makes it a mystery, why so many publishers and bloggers don’t invest a few minutes of their time in this simple social media optimization for 313 % more engagement.
If you need to only implement Twitter Cards or Open Graph, which is the case when the other’s already present on your site, there’s an easy way to do that as well. For Twitter optimization, you can use JM Twitter Cards, a plugin, recommended by Twitter itself, that implements Twitter Cards on your site and offers preview in Edit mode. For Facebook (and Google+) optimization you can use the official Facebook social bundle plugin, implementing Open Graph protocol markup and providing you with a long list of social options.
Implementing Twitter Cards With JM Twitter Cards Plugin
As mentioned above, JM Twitter Cards is one of the 3 plugins, recommended by Twitter for integration of Twitter Cards. Here’re the steps you have to follow to enable Twitter Cards on your site:
- Begin by downloading the plugin here or finding it directly from the Plugins->Add New section in your WordPress Admin panel by typing the name of the plugin in the available search field.
- Click on Install. Wait for the message that the installation was successful.
- Find the plugin in the Plugins->Installed Plugins section of the WordPress Admin Panel.
- Click on Activate.
- When the JM Twitter Cards field appears in the main Admin menu to the left of the screen, click on it to enter its settings.
- There’re many options and fields, some of which are irrelevant to you (see picture).
- Start by typing your Twitter user name with @ in the beginning in the Creator field.
- For Site enter your website’s domain. Don’t include http:// or https.
- Choose the preferred Card Type. Here’s the description of the available Twitter Card types.
- Excerpt means the first few lines of your post or page. As long as you use SEO plugins to customize titles and description, you should choose No to this setting to use SEO meta description instead. Otherwise, you can choose to show excerpt as a description text on your social updates.
- Whether you’ll activate Open Graph or not, is up to you and depends on the use of other plugins or a theme enabling Open Graph. It’s not recommended to use multiple plugins enabling Open Graph and/or Twitter Cards, as this can cause errors.
- Choose an Image Fallback that will be used in case the image associated with the post can’t be loaded. It’s recommended to use the logo of your website or a very generic image that fits all types of posts.
- Choose Image Size or leave the default setting, if you’re uncertain about image sizes.
- If you have an app in App Store or Google Play, you should also fill out the respective fields on the Settings page. If not, just leave them empty.
- To make sure Twitter Cards have been implemented correctly, you should validate them with Twitter’s validating tool.
- If no issues are detected, you’re ready to post rich view tweets. All you need to do, is share a link on Twitter as usual.
- If an issue is detected, it’s likely that the plugin isn’t compatible with your installation. You should in such case simply try another plugin and re-validate your Twitter Cards to make sure they work.
Implementing Open Graph with All in One SEO
You can of course use another plugin, for example Yoast SEO or Facebooks official plugin (Be though aware that Facebook’s plugin hasn’t been updated in more than 2 years now, so there’s no guarantee in relation to compatibility, functionality, or resolving issues!). The steps here are, however, based on working with All in One SEO. Here’s how you do it:
- Go to Plugins->Add New in your WordPress Admin Panel
- Type All in One SEO in the search field
- When the plugin appears on your screen, click on Install.
- Go to Plugins->Installed Plugins in your WordPress Admin Panel
- Find All in One SEO and click on Activate
- When the plugin appears in the Admin menu to the left of the screen, click on it.
- From the list of options that appears in the Admin menu, choose Feature Manager.
- Find the Social Meta panel and click on Activate.
- Look again to the left. The new option Social Meta should now appear under All in One SEO.
- Click on it
- The first thing you see are the General Settings. Take a look at them and, where not sure, place your cursor on the question mark to get an explanation of options.
- Whether you choose to check Run shortcodes in titles and descriptions, is up to you. I would normally say yes to this, as there, on occasion, can be a shortcode in a title or description ruining the appearance of your social updates. If there’s no shortcode, this setting doesn’t affect the way your content appears.
- Autogeneration of Open Graph (OG) descriptions is useful, if you haven’t added SEO meta description to all your pages and posts. Otherwise, it’s not necessary.
- In the Home Page Settings, you can choose to use AIOSEO title and description (All in One SEO settings) and this is also the recommended setting, as long as your home page is optimized. You can though, anyway edit your site’s name and add a fallback image, if something should go wrong with your featured image on the home page – or if the home page doesn’t have a featured image.
- In the Image Settings, it’s important to choose, which image should be used for OG. If your site has featured images on each page and post, it’s, of course, best to use them. It’s also great, that you can choose a default image to use, if no image is found. It’s recommendable to use your logo as a default image.
- Facebook Settings are the next section. They are explained under the image.
- Facebook Admin ID is a numeric value that you can find by using this tool. Enter the value.
- Facebook App is an app, you should create and register on Facebook. Don’t worry, you don’t need to have technical or coding skills. It’s all automated via Facebook for Developers, where you start.
- Choose the best fitting Facebook Object Type for your content. The rule is to choose Blog, if your front page shows your latest posts, and Website, if your front page is static.
- The next option allows you to choose to auto-generate Facebook tags for all objects with an Article tag. You can either tick this option, or choose to generate OG tags only for custom types of content.
- In order to get your social posts linked to your Facebook page, you should enter the URL to it in the Facebook Publisher field. Enter the whole URL. This option works, though, only is you set the Object Type to Article.
- If you check the Show Facebook Author on Articles, your shared posts will include a link to the Facebook profile of the author of the post.
- The next setting – Posts Object Type – is where you should choose the type of content, best fitting your posts.
- That’s all. Take a look at steps 30 and 31, though!
- The next section reviews Twitter Card options.
- The setting Default Twitter Card gives you the opportunity to choose among the available options for your site. You can later on change this setting.
- In the Twitter Site field, you should enter your Twitter username with @, as shown in the picture. It appears on your tweets. If you don’t want it to appear, simply leave this field empty.
- If you thick the Twitter Author option, the author’s name will appear on the list of users on your Twitter profile.
- Twitter domain means simply the domain of the site, associated with the Twitter profile, and is added without http:// in the beginning.
- OBS! Before clicking on Update options and finishing the setup, click on Scan Social Media->Scan Now to check for duplicate social meta tags. If duplicate meta is detected, remove it to avoid errors!
- Check whether your Facebook social meta works properly with Facebooks Sharing Debugger. If you also use All in One SEO for Twitter Cards, remember to validate them as described in the section on Twitter Cards above.
More Social Media Optimization For 313 % More Engagement – Or More
Optimizing your content with social meta is a great first step to generate considerably more engagement via your social media updates. But this is only the first step.
Knowing when to post, is just as important in order to achieve maximal impact. There’re two ways to figure that out: do research and see what others’ experience shows or experiment and figure out what’s the best strategy for you.
While there’re some numbers you definitely can trust, the best optimization that leads to the strongest engagement is usually the kind that is unique to your business’ target group.
To make it easiest for you, I’ve done the online checkup for you. According to it, you should post during work days on Twitter, optimally at 12 PM, 3 PM, and especially around 5-6 PM. The best publishing time for Facebook is, though, the weekend, slowly beginning already on Thursdays, with peaks during the day at 9 AM, 1 PM, and 3 PM.
If you want to do the work that true optimization requires, you should test your results on social media by scheduling posts for publishing at consistent hours over a one-month period, then changing the schedule 2-3 times and running it for a month each time to be sure that you have enough data.
Then you should check your Twitter Analytics and Facebooks Insights and analyze the data. See which posting times – and which type of posts – generated the most engagement. Use then these insights to optimize your strategy for maximum engagement.