How optimized tweets can double content sharing

There’s no sense in posting an article without promoting it. Nor is it wise to rely on basic tweets and RTs to spread the word. Here’s how to make the most of the expansive Twitter network.

In this world of extreme information density, creating great content is no guarantee that anybody will see it.

We must focus on content ignition-techniques to get our content seen and shared.

Of course, this is the entire focus of “The Content Code,” but I wanted to share one common problem that might be stealthily killing your content.

Obviously, every piece of online content should include social media sharing buttons, but many organizations miss this point. Taking this simple step can increase the sharing of your content by 700 percent.

There’s a bigger problem: Of the sites with sharing buttons, fewer than half have properly optimized their tweet button, which could be killing a lot of social media sharing. This is happening even on the content sites of Fortune 500 companies.

Here are the four key elements of an optimized tweet button and why it is important:

Is there a title?

I know this sounds preposterous, but many standard tweet buttons post only the URL and not the name of the post. I see this at least once a month. Here’s an example of when I tried to tweet an excellent article about dealing with information density:

Pro tip: People are more likely to read your article if they know the title.

Shortened URL

Sometimes the URL for the content piece is so long it bumps up against the tweet’s 140-character limit. Here is what I see when I try to tweet some awesome content from eConsultancy:

Whoa. That’s a lot of link. Not only is there no title, but the URL takes up all the tweetable space.

Remember that when somebody retweets you, their Twitter handle is added to the tweet and perhaps a comment like “MUST read.” If it gets tweeted again, another name is added to the tweet and so on.

Obviously, your goal should be to send out an accurate tweet in as few characters as possible. In WordPress, this is easy to do. Simply click “edit” near the URL name at the top of the post and condense the name of the URL.

Keyword

When you are editing and condensing the URL, make sure it contains the target keywords for the post. This gives you an SEO boost.

Credit handle

All too often the default tweet button does not include the handle of the content creator at the end of the tweet.

I frequently have to search for the correct handle of the author so I can give credit for the tweet. Even worse, some people have not changed the default setting on the button, so the credit shows up like this: “I am a social media expert” via @sharethis.

You are going to all this trouble to create great content. Why give credit to somebody else?

Every social media sharing solution provider has its own procedure to change the default settings of its widgets and plug-ins. Check the documentation or FAQ page for instructions on how to change the Twitter handle from its default setting to a custom Twitter handle.

Want to get your employees involved and active online? Download our free guide: 6 steps to crafting an internal social media plan.

I haven’t seen research comparing optimized versus non-optimized tweet buttons, but the former could double content sharing on Twitter while giving you appropriate credit.

Go forth and optimize.

A version of this article originally appeared on Mark Schaefer’s {grow}.

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