Sharing Is Caring, Even with Social Media
Usability of sharing tools
Sharing options on Web site pages are great but often suffer from the “prepackaged” issue mentioned above. Do you really need 225 sharing options? By doing a little research using a Web site analytics tool such as Google Analytics, you can learn which social-media and sharing options are most frequently used by your Web site visitors and reorder the 225 options so the most frequently used ones are the only ones that appear. You can keep the “more” option in case you have someone who wants to use, say, Friendster to share your Web page — that option still will be available to them without cluttering up the page for the majority of your users. I suggest addthis.com, which has a user-friendly, familiar drop-down menu interface. And, it's free.
When you are using social-media sharing tools, make sure you are getting the biggest bang for your social-media buck. For example, if you have a “share this” option on your Web site and someone chooses to share an article on Twitter, do you know what the tweet says? Are you using Twitter hash tags? How about key words? Make sure to utilize customization options that will allow you to tweak how exactly the content is shared from your Web site to the user's Twitter account. The text used on Twitter especially is critical, as the more interesting the 140 characters are, the greater chance that content will be re-tweeted.
Christina Johns is senior manager of DRTV and social networking for the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.