October 18, 2011
If you’re still evaluating the merits of putting a Facebook Share button on your site, it’s time to get off the fence. And make sure you come down on the right side. Oh, and while you’re at it, you might as well just start tearing the whole fence down.
Right this minute there are more than 5 billion people who are using mobile devices. There are 2 billion, at any one time, communicating on the Internet. And Facebook alone has a membership of more than 750 million users. No man is an island, and no blog can survive without connections.
Sometime within the next few days Facebook is going to introduce Frictionless Sharing. Maybe it’s already happened in your neck of the woods. If not, fear not. It’s on the way. But the big question isn’t when. The big question is, will you be ready?
Frictionless sharing is going to be powerful. When a visitor comes to your blog or website, if they’ve enabled access, Facebook will automatically post your content on that user’s wall. No more clicking the Like button. No more copying and pasting links. He visits your site and it shows up on his wall.
Sound a little far-fetched? Only if you haven’t been paying attention. Start reading some of the tech blogs. Sound a little scary? Like maybe Big Brother is watching over your shoulder? Maybe so. But in a good way. If you use it to your advantage. Don’t think people will go for it? Think again.
If you’re one of those bloggers who doesn’t worry about Facebook because you think only young people use social networks, you’re wrong, and you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. Sixty percent of U.S. Facebook users are over the age of 35. According to the Pew Research Center, two-thirds of all Americans use social networking sites and more than 42 percent of Americans over the age of 50 use social media. There are millions of people of all shapes, sizes and interests, using Facebook every single day and they love it when Facebook makes it even easier for them to share.
How Are You Currently Using Social Media?
Your reaction to Frictionless Sharing may be, “So what? It doesn’t appear on my wall. How does it affect me? Take a look at the way you’re using Facebook now.
Who is Sharing Your Content?
With more than 750 million people passing links around all day you really have no idea who’s Sharing your content. But it’s a safe bet it’s nowhere near 750 million, simply because of the way you’re targeting your audience.
Right now you’re probably doing what you’ve been told to do by some guy selling a $47 ebook. You’re putting keywords in your titles and scattering them throughout your content. In the end, you’re creating content that ‘reads’ like the Encyclopedia Britannica or like it was written by some mindless robot. Yes, your readers are sharing it – if it’s engaging and it grabs their attention. Right now, your content gets ‘Shared’ or ‘Liked’ though, only if someone makes a conscious decision to click the button.
Where is Your Traffic Coming From?
Check your analytics to see where your visitors are coming from. If you do have Facebook traffic, you have no idea who they are or why they came to your blog. All you can see is that they came through a Facebook link.
Consider the possibility that they came to your blog because someone told them it was interesting, informative, engaging, maybe even entertaining. They visited because someone else told them to, not because of your search engine optimization. That may only apply to one or two of your visitors now, but soon those numbers will change.
What You Need to Do Now to Enhance Your Connectivity
We’ve all been conditioned to believe that the best way to develop connectivity in the social networks is to use niche keywords to search for users who would be interested in reading our blogs. Once we find a certain number, like 2000 Followers on Twitter, we stop and let gravity take over. Like a snowball that grows larger as it rolls down a hill. The problem with that is, there’s more than one hill out there. With 750 million users on Facebook alone, you’re missing a lot of opportunities to connect.
Remember those people coming in from Facebook? Remember how you don’t really know who they are or how they got your link? Once Frictionless Sharing arrives, anyone who enables the feature and then visits your blog will automatically be posting your links on his wall. Nobody will have to click a button. It will just happen. And all of his Friends will see it. It’s important to understand, too, that your visitor only has to have a Facebook account for this to occur. He doesn’t have to arrive on your blog via a link from a Facebook page. Everything he looks at, no matter how he gets there, will be posted on his wall.
We’re all under the mistaken impression that because we have sites like Facebook and Twitter we’re all members of one vast connected community now, but nothing could be further from the truth. We’re still building fences, only with keywords instead of logs or stones. We’re so concerned about optimizing for the search engines that we’re missing the real mark – the 5 billion people out there who are willing to connect if we’d only give them a reason.
Soon, that one person who thought to hit your Share button isn’t going to have to think about it anymore. Soon, when he visits your blog, 500 of his friends are instantly going to know he was there and they might just check you out, too. And when they do, their Friends will also know about it. What if, instead of fencing them out with keywords and highly optimized content, you actually opened up your blog and welcomed them in? What if you talked to them like they were real people instead of just traffic numbers on your analytics report?
Phrases like ‘quality content’ and ‘content is king’ are thrown around so often that most webmasters don’t even hear them anymore, but they’re more important now than ever before. In fact, we should also start talking about ‘engaging content’ and maybe even put it at the top of the list.
Facebook is initiating Frictionless Sharing as a benefit for their users, to make it easier for them to share engaging content and keep them engaged with Facebook. Use it to your advantage. Assume, now, that anyone can, at any time, be reading your blog. How will you make the connection?
Donna Anderson is a freelance writer specializing in SEO web content and article marketing techniques. Visit her blog at http://whitehatwriting.com for writing tips and article marketing advice and read her recent rant, Screw the Pandas, Send in the Lions!