Share The Social Media Wealth: Why Your Hospital’s Blog Needs Share Functions

Stop and think for a minute and answer these questions:

When was the last time you commented on a blog post or online article?

Once you’ve answered that question, answer this one:

When was the last time you “shared” content from a blog post or online article?

Chances are if you’re like me, you share content a lot more than you comment on it.

There is one main reason for this: the share functions that allow you to share content with your friends on social media accounts are ubiquitous. You can’t go to a website or blog these days without seeing some form of a share button.

I like share buttons because they make it easy for me to share content without having to leave the page, and they’re a lot less committal. Rarely do I comment on blogs or articles because I’m just not always compelled to say something. But that doesn’t mean the content didn’t resonate with me, and that’s why it’s nice to have the share buttons. They’re a low-risk, easy way to say you like what you read, without a lot of effort.

That’s why it’s crucial that your hospital’s website and blog feature easy-to-use share buttons. Social media is all about sharing, and you want to be sure that you are making it as easy as possible for your readers to share your content, especially because you are providing important health information.

Luckily, there are numerous sharing buttons you can add to your blog or website depending on where you want your content shared. All of the features below allow you to include buttons for sharing the page on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, e-mail, and many other social media sites, often with just the click of a button.

Facebook share buttons. You can choose from several types of Facebook buttons, such as the “like” button, which allows users to share pages from your site and post them to your Facebook wall with just one click. You can also choose to add the “share” button, which allows you to not only share a link, but also insert a comment.

Twitter share buttons. Twitter has its own share button that allows readers to share content simply by clicking a  “tweet” button. The URL and article title comes up in a new window and you can choose to customize the tweet or send as is. You can choose from the standard tweet button or a count button, which allows your readers to see how many others have tweeted your content.

LinkedIn share buttons. This is a fairly new button, and is formatted similarly to Twitter. You can choose to post articles to your LinkedIn profile and you can also include a counter.

Multiple social media web site buttons. There are also many options for you should you choose to give readers the option of sharing content across multiple social media sites. There are several tools that allow you to do this, such as the DiggDigg Plugin for WordPress, Sexy Bookmarks, Wibiya toolbar, ShareThis, Add This and Addtoany.

In addition to the traditional social media platforms you can share, there are a couple of other ways of sharing content you should keep in mind:

E-mail. Believe it or not, not everyone has a Facebook or Twitter account. But most everyone does have an e-mail account, so make sure you include this option too. Sometimes I use this function to send articles I like to myself, and an e-mail button is the fastest and easiest way to do this.

Subscribe option. Give your readers a way to subscribe to your blog. At Hive, we use Feedburner, a free service that allows our readers to subscribe to our blog.

Now that you know all of your share content options, here are a few pieces of advice when implementing your share buttons:

Keep the number of share options to 6 or fewer
There might be dozens of social media sites out there but that doesn’t mean you should allow readers to share content on all of them. Keep it simple by sticking to the most common social media platforms. At Hive Strategies, we have just four options in our share button: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and e-mail.

Put your share buttons in a logical place
Fewer things annoy me more than when I find an article or blog that I love and want to share, but can’t find the share buttons. Sure I could just copy and paste the URL into a tweet or a status update on my Facebook page, but I have a lot to get done during the day and honestly, I don’t want to deal with the extra step. Does that make me lazy? Probably. So please, put your share button in a place where I can find it easily.

Reduce the number of clicks it takes to share
To ensure that you get more activity on your site, make sure the number of clicks it takes a user to share your content is minimal.

Do what’s right for your blog
When choosing what share button is right for your blog, consider the effects of the counter buttons. If your blog is fairly new and you aren’t getting a lot of visitors, consider opting out of the counter. Many times if people see that you have zero re-tweets they aren’t as likely to tweet the content. But if your site gets a fair amount of traffic and you’ve been around a while, maybe the counter is a good ego-booster. Just pick what’s right for your blog and remember you can always update your counter as you become more successful.

What it comes down to is the fact that you should make it as easy as possible for readers to share your information, because the more your content is shared, the more attention it will get.

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How we help

Hive Strategies helps hospitals engage patients through social media. We don’t manage social media. Instead, we help hospitals develop an effective social media strategy and mentor them through the implementation process. Start a conversation. Email us or call us at 503-472-5512.

 

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