1. Use default social sharing buttons.

Default social sharing buttons are the ones that the social networks themselves provide in their documentation. Twitter’s one is here. Facebook’s broad selection of social plugins are here. They even allow you to generate the code if you’re not a tech pro.

Why use the default social sharing icons and plugins? They are the most commonly seen by users. That means that when people are reading your content, like it and want to share it to their friends and social networks, they will instinctively look for … the sharing icons they see everywhere else online.

ProTip: Don’t make your life more complex by designing up fancy social sharing icons: I’ve done it before and learned the hard way that they reduce social sharing. They look great, but I promise that - most of the time - they wont work as hard as you want them to.

2. Use the Open Graph Protocol.

With Open Graph tags, your website looks sexy when it is shared on Facebook and other social channels. Without it, it looks shit. All you need to do is visit http://ogp.me/ and you will learn how easy it is to make your site sexier in social. I promise you won’t regret it, particularly if you’re disappointed so far with the traffic you get from social shares (you’re tracking that with Google Analytics already, right?).

ProTip: The copy you use in the Open Graph Tags on your web pages should go through a strategic filter, just like SEO. Put yourself in the shoes of friends and fans of the sharers. What will they do when they see one of their contacts has shared a link? There has to be a clear call-to-action that drives engagement, whether it be click throughs to your site, more shares or likes.

3. Create a sexy Tweet structure.

How many times have you clicked ‘Tweet’ on a Page, only for it to look crap when Twitter interface comes up? If you have this problem with your site and/or have complaints from users, the simplest solution is to refer to the Twitter link in point one. Here, I’ll share it again but this time, in its full URL glory: https://twitter.com/about/resources/buttons . You can use Twitter’s simple tool to structure what goes into the auto-generated Tweet. Put in a hashtag. Make sure your Page Titles are all properly set-up, too.

ProTip: Very, very few websites do this well. If you do it well, you are already beating your opponents and many major online publishers too!

Follow these tips and start allowing your site and web content to win on social. For more ideas on social, tweet me at @oiwoods.