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3 Ways to Add Social Sharing Functionality to Your Content

How many of us have ever written a piece of content we feel confident about, only to have it fall flat on its face (*raises hand*)? In a way, content marketing operates very similarly to economics. The greater the supply, the less the demand — and this has never been more true than today. Marketers are creating content out the wazoo, but buyers can only consume so much of it.

To really make an impact — to prevent your perfectly good piece of content from falling on its face — your content needs to have it all. I’m sure you’ve read articles about how to make your content more shareable, with tips ranging from telling a story to trying a new and different medium. Those are all great tips, but I’m here to let you in on a little secret: sometimes all you need are just a few social sharing buttons to boost those sharing stats.

Think about it. Your buyers are busy and overwhelmed. They’re only going to take the time to share a piece of content if it really speaks to them, and they’re even less likely to share it if they have to craft the social messages themselves. By placing “Share via LinkedIn/Twitter/Facebook” buttons at the end of your white papers, blog posts, and even your emails, you’re making the process that much easier.

There are a few ways to approach content sharing, and it depends on the type of content you’re creating and whether you’ll be using buttons or text links. Let’s take a look at a few scenarios.

Scenario 1: The White Paper

Ever noticed the buttons at the end of a white paper suggesting that you “share with your networks!”? Clicking on one of these buttons brings up a window in which you can edit your message and share a link to the content’s landing page with your networks (remember, you’re not trying to sacrifice lead generation by giving your content your content away for free).

These buttons are relatively easy to set up! Once you’ve designed the creative in a tool like Adobe Illustrator (or even PowerPoint) and added them to your white paper, you’ll place a custom hyperlink behind each one. Those hyperlinks will look like the following:

LinkedIn

http://www.linkedin.com/shareArticle?mini=true&url=http://www.pardot.com/blog/marketing-metrics-matter-vanity-metrics-trap/

To correctly modify the link above, you’ll just need to substitute in the link to your landing page for the URL bolded above. Clicking the link will lead users to a window like the one below, where they can type in a customized message or just post as is.

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 9.39.12 AM

Facebook

http://www.facebook.com/sharer/sharer.php?u=http://www.pardot.com/whitepapers/salesforce-b2b-marketers-complete-guide/

Similarly to LinkedIn, you’ll need to substitute your own link for the bolded part of the link above. Clicking on this link will lead users to the following window:

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 9.45.50 AM

Twitter

There are two ways you can approach creating a Twitter sharing link, and each have their pros and cons. The first option is to modify the link below, which allows you to insert a bitly link so that you can track link clicks:

http://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=Salesforce%20for%20B2B%20Marketers:%20The%20Complete%20Guide.%20Get%20it%20here:%20http://prd.to/1u5N7QM

A little daunting, right? Here’s what you do: first, write the message you would like to display in your Tweet. The “%20” represents a space, so you’ll write each word in your message with “%20” in between (this is bolded in the example above). Next, refer to the italicized section above. This is where you’ll insert the link to your landing page. I would recommend using a shortened bitly link instead of placing your full link here. You’ll also want to test your message and link to make sure they’re under 140 characters. See what this looks like when clicked below:

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 9.55.56 AM

A simpler alternative is to use a service like clicktotweet to generate a link for you. While this is easy to set up (you simply type your message and insert your link while the service counts your characters for you and produces a final link), you won’t be able to track link clicks unless you have a paid account.

Scenario 2: The Blog

Sharing buttons on a company blog can be created a number of ways: using the technique mentioned above, using text links within the copy (for example, Share via LinkedIn), or using a plugin or service that provide sharing buttons for you. On the Pardot blog, we use a plugin called Digg Digg that places the following buttons at the top of each blog post:

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 10.01.55 AM

Not only do these keep a count of social shares, but they also allow you to click on the social network you would like to share the post with and share a link directly from the post. You’ll see a pop up window similar to the ones posted in the section above. Easy as pie!

Another great (and mobile-friendly!) option is a service called AddThis, which places social sharing buttons like the ones pictured below (on the left) on your webpages to facilitate social sharing.

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 10.18.10 AM

Scenario 3: The Email

Many marketers don’t think of emails as particularly shareable, but neglecting to place sharing buttons in your emails can prevent you from reaching some key audiences! By adding social sharing functionality, you’re creating a way for your email recipients to share the content of your emails with their social networks. This is great for emails that advertise events, webinars, or new content that your team has created.

AddThis, mentioned above, is great for adding sharing functionality to your emails. For example, Pardot features an AddThis integration that allows users to add social sharing buttons to their emails. Clicking on any of these buttons brings up a window similar to the ones featured earlier in this post.

Are there other ways to share your content with just a click of a button? Let us know in the comments, and get sharing!