Getting more likes, follows, and subscribes at the end of the day means you’ll get more traffic to your website and more money in your bank account. It also means you’ll have more long-term reach to launch viral campaigns from and promote new products.
So how do you get more likes, follows, and subscribes?
Make It Prominent on Your Website
By default, Facebook has a very small “Like” button. The same is true for the default “retweet” buttons. In fact, each social network generally doesn’t have buttons that are very well optimized for conversions.
Did you know that you can actually create much bigger buttons? Depending on the service, you might need to use a program or just get someone to do a tiny bit of code for you ($5 to $10 outsourced), but you can really make your “Like” or “retweet” buttons look any way you want.
The same is true for subscribes. Make sure it’s large and prominent on your website. Don’t just put your opt-in box in the upper right corner of your website and hope someone opts in.
Use Social Proof
Another powerful element you can use to get more likes, follows or subscriptions is to post how many other people have already done the same.
Are you more likely to “Like” something if nobody’s liked it, or if a hundred of your friends already have?
There are many ways to take advantage of this principle. For example, for StumbleUpon, you can display the number of stumbles you’ve already gotten on your website. For RSS subscriptions, you can display the number of existing subscribers.
Ask for It in Your Content
One overlooked technique is to simply ask. Want more follows on your Twitter? Ask! The call to action is so intuitive that some people leave it out. Yet the simple act of asking for it can make a big difference.
An even more effective way to ask for actions is to give some sort of incentive for it. For example, tell people to “Like” your page, then post on your wall if they want to enter a contest. Since there’s such a strong incentive, they’re much more likely to do so than if it were free.
Give People Options
Some people will prefer to “Like” you on Facebook. Others prefer to follow you on Twitter. Others prefer subscribing by RSS or by email. Still others want to “Like” you on Facebook and so on.
Give people the option of interacting with your website in whatever way they like. If you only have the “Like” option, you’ll miss out on all the RSS users. The opposite is also true.
If you use social proof, make your buttons prominent, ask for the action in your content and give people options, you’ll have a very high visitor-to-action ratio at the end of the day.