Marketers are constantly on the hunt for new tactics, free tools, or sneaky hacks to gain a competitive advantage in their digital and social marketing campaigns. Having been forced to utilize a combination of free and paid tools over the years, we have become accustomed to changing newsfeed algorithms and search engine updates. And it drives us nuts.
So coming up with new and creative methods to attain our marketing goals always has been an important skill in our jobs. That’s why it’s no surprise to see social elements such as sharing buttons evolve into what’s becoming, what the LA Times calls, sharelines.
In this article I’m going to explain what a shareline is, give some examples, and show you how to create sharelines on your own.
What are Sharelines?
Sharelines are short pre-written social posts that can be shared to social networks in a couple of clicks. When sprinkled around, within, at the beginning or end of content, they give readers a menu of options to share what they are reading.
Think of them as unique social buttons scattered throughout your content that help to entice people, who may not normally, share your content.
The two important social buttons every website needs are follow (like/connect) and share buttons. That old one size fits all model will soon be no longer par for the course. Sharelines are here to stay, so you should start embracing them.
Forbes uses a blue twitter bird at the end of sentences to signal a shareline. When you hover over it, the sentence then is highlighted. You click on it, sign in, connect, and then post.
Mashable positions their version of sharelines as quotes that protrude into bodies of text. When hovered over with your mouse, they become sharable posts to different networks.
As I mentioned before, the LA Times uses sharelines in the form of three mini summaries slotted at the beginning of each article.
There is this one website I enjoy reading that has a custom shareline feature I really like. It allows you to highlight and share any sentence within their articles to either Facebook or Twitter.
How to Create Sharelines
There are different types of plugins that you may be able to install for some content management systems, specifically WordPress or Joomla!. Other plugins, such as pin it over lay buttons on images, can also have the same effect as sharelines, especially if your content is heavily image driven.
One service that I have used before is called Click-to-Tweet. It’s been around since March of 2013 and it is really easy to use. It also has its own WordPress plugin that some of you may find useful. To use the service, you can either sign in with your Twitter account or use it without signing in to generate basic click-to-tweet links.
If you sign in with your account, stats for your links will be tracked automatically.
For non-registered users, the way it works is you input your tweet in the field box and click “Generate New Link.” When someone clicks on this link, it will automatically pop up your pre-loaded tweet in a new window.
Registered users receive additional options including the ability to add an image.
If you use any quotes in your content, that’s the lowest hanging fruit available. Quotes on social media usually fare well in regards to engagement as long as they aren’t offensive or inappropriate.
Statistics are always a good starting point too. They hold a lot of weight when backed up by sources and everyone is always clamoring for new statistics within their preferred industries.
Quick summary style bullet point sentences between paragraphs can help split up the monotony of paragraph after paragraph. They can also help emphasize a specific discovery or tip your sharing.
Sharelines can help make your content easier to share. Whether you use Click-to-Tweet, or find a different method, optimizing your content to increase sharing opportunities should be seen as a benefit to both you and your audience.
Picture by Id-iom via Flikr with modifications (cropped & brightened)