July 22, 2014

Getting Social Media Votes

Most bloggers hope to gain large volumes of traffic through social media, which of course requires getting votes from other social media users. There are a number of different ways to get votes, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. If you are hoping to have success with social media, you will have the best results if you have a plan and if you consider where those votes will be coming from.

Here’s a quick look at some of the different ways that you can/will get social media votes.

1. On the social media sites themselves

Once one of your blog posts is submitted to Digg or a similar news-style social media site, ideally users will see it on the upcoming page and vote for your (and hopefully they are also clicking-through and actually visiting your blog).

2. From a toolbar

Many social media sites, including StumbleUpon and del.icio.us, have their own toolbars that users can download and install in their browser. The toolbar makes voting quick and easy.

3. From your blog

Most blogs now include some type of buttons, links, or widgets that allow visitors to vote for the current page on social media. Some of these are for a specific social media site, such as the Digg button, and some are more general in nature and allow the user to choose from a number of social media sites.

4. In response to a request

Almost every social media site has some type of option for sharing content or links with friends in attempt to gain some exposure and votes. Digg’s shout system and StumbleUpon’s share with a friend feature are two examples. In addition to sharing a link with a friend directly through a social media site, many bloggers will email friends and contacts to request a vote.

How Does This Affect You?

The approach you take to market your blog through social media will need to take into consideration how you hope to get votes. The process of gaining a vote from Digg’s upcoming page is a bit different from getting a vote through a Digg button on your blog post, and it’s certainly different than using the shout feature. In most cases, unless your blog has a huge audience you will need to consider how you will get votes.

Votes coming directly from the social media site

Each social media sites works a little bit differently, but in some cases the number of votes that you get directly from the site will be influenced by who submits the post. For example, on Digg, many users view the submissions of their friends, so if a post is submitted by a “power user” that has a lot of friends, you are more likely to get votes than if it is submitted by a new user that has no friends.

Additionally, titles are extremely important for getting votes this way. Think for a moment about how the upcoming pages at most social media sites work. It’s probably a list of 10 – 20 titles with maybe a very brief description. In this case, the user is not going to click-through to every item, he or she will only visit those that are attention grabbers. Without a strong title or headline, your submission is likely to get passed over in favor of others that are more compelling. Your first challenge is to get a click, and the next challenge is to provide content that will make them vote.

Also consider the factor of blind votes. Many times, submissions with strong titles will draw votes without users even clicking-through to the page. While this is not what you want (since you are actually trying to get people to your blog), it still beats them not visiting or voting. At least blind votes have the potential to lead to other visitors.

Votes from the toolbar

While you have no control over what toolbars your visitors have installed, if you consistently market to particular audiences you are likely to gain readers that use a specific toolbar. For example, if you market to StumbleUpon users and some of those users become regular readers of your blog, you’ve just increased the number of readers that have the SU toolbar installed. Of course, the more visitors that have the toolbar installed, the better your chances will be of getting votes through the toolbar.

For social media sites that use a toolbar, I have found that it helps to funnel traffic from anywhere possible. If you have the ability to get traffic from another social media site, chances are some of those visitors will also be users of StumbleUpon and del.icio.us, for example, and hopefully they will use the toolbar to bookmark your post or give it the thumbs up, even though they originally found it through another source.

From my experience, the ease of use of the toolbar makes traffic transfer from one social media site to another. For example, if a Digg user finds something they like through Digg, they are somewhat likely to quickly use their toolbar to bookmark or thumb up the page because it is fast and convenient. On the other hand, if an SU user comes across something they like, they are much less likely to try and track that page down on Digg to give it a vote.

Votes from your website

By placing a voting button or widget directly on a blog post you may be able to convert some of your existing traffic into votes. On my primary blog I was able to get a few posts to the front page of Digg, not because they were submitted by a power user, but because I put a Digg button on the post and a percentage of the visitors also took the time to click on the button. In this case you can make up for not being submitted by a power user.

To have effectiveness using buttons and widgets you will need to limit your use. Some bloggers cover their blogs with 50 different buttons and widgets hoping to get traffic, but all it really accomplishes is a distraction for readers. You’re much better off to use a very small number of buttons for social media sites that are specifically relevant to your content. If you know many of your readers use a particular social media site, consider including a button on your posts.

You challenges with voting buttons and widgets are getting visitors to notice them and then getting them to vote. Because these buttons and widgets are so common, many visitors tend to overlook them and not even pay any attention to them. This is where using few buttons will help, as it will make the ones that you do use stand out a bit more. In order to get visitors to vote, the best thing you can do is to provide quality content that they will want to vote for, and choose the social media sites that you target carefully.

Votes from sharing with friends

This method can be very effective or not effective at all, depending on how you approach it. The shout system at Digg was very effective when it was first implemented, but that quickly wore off as it was abused by many users and most people got sick of getting so many emails. On the other hand, bloggers with a strong network can get votes with other approaches. StumbleUpon’s share feature has worked pretty well for me in the past.

The challenge with sharing submissions with friends, regardless of how you do it, is not to go overboard and not to be seen as a spammer. No one once to be constantly asked for votes from the same person, so save this approach for those times when you need it or when you think it will be most effective.

What’s Your Opinion?

Where do most of your social media votes come from? What methods work well for your?

About Steven Snell

Steven is a web designer, blogger, and freelance writer.

9 comments

  1. I agree that having a voting button or widget directly directly on a blog post you may be able to convert some of your existing traffic into votes.

  2. To me, the most important aspect is getting it in front of the right people. If you’re targeting digg users, then obviously you have a much higher chance of getting digg votes.

    So ask yourself how you can get in front of the right users. This usually means getting in involved in the community. It’s a lot easier to have success as an insider, than someone trying to get votes from the outside.

  3. Craig,
    That’s a good point. I face this issue on my other blog when I’m targeting delicious. You obviously can’t get a delicious bookmark from someone who is not a user.

  4. Hi Steven, my favorite tip above is one that I’ve seen you mention at Vandelay Design before – the chaining of social media sites. It’s so true, and not hard to imagine when you think about it. That’s what happened with me – del.icio.us, SU and Design Float feeding off each other :

    The Success Checklist I Used To Hit #1 on del.icio.us, with Resulting Screenshots

  5. Thank you very much for the article submission to the Bringing more traffic to your blog – April 25, 2008 – 4th Ed. Blog Carnival. The carnival edition has been published:
    http://blogging4good.blogspot.com/2008/04/bringing-more-traffic-to-your-blog.html

    Have a good weekend!

  6. Useful info. Lucky me I discovered your website by accident, and I’m surprised why this accident did not happened in advance! I bookmarked it.

  7. I still believe Google will buy it for the reason it need to get the latest update for their search engine… If Facebook buy what are they going to do with it? I mean they already had micro blogging integrate why do they need it for?Wong Chendong recently posted..3 Most Overlooked Problems that Are Stopping You from Making Money Blogging and Why You Should Never Ignore!

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