marketo blog new subscribersDo you publish content or have a blog? It seems everyone has one today. In the last year or so, many more companies have been in touch, asking us how to improve blog conversions. That could be from blog to actual leads or customers, blog to blog subscribers, blog commenting and sharing increasing, etc.

Having recently published on my blog how Jeffrey and I helped Marketo increase their blog visitors to subscribers by 10x, I was asked to present more information about it at the local Austin AUSOME meetup in December. However, I wanted to start sharing some of my tips with you here.

One of the first things I experimented with was trying to get more people to comment and then share content. On my WordPress blog, I tested multiple comment platforms, but found Social by MailChimp to be most effective in getting the conversation going. In order to get a lot of comments, you have to write content that is designed to inspire comments, such as this one. The first thing this comment plugin follows is the first rule of leverage social sign-in:

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Make Social Registration Visible

There are two things this plugin is doing to make things obvious. First the “sign in with…” button is plainly visible on top of the regular registration and then they display the comments that have already occured on Twitter. I have found it is much easier to get someone to comment if they don’t have to go through a full registration process and just login with their preferred social login.

Let’s look at another couple of examples:

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While the Chicago Sun Times offers social login as an option, notice they only use the words ‘register for free.” When you hover over the words, they also don’t show the social login option. They only display it after someone commits to the action and clicks on “register for free.” Most people today have registration fatigue. They don’t want to setup new accounts, they don’t want to remember passwords, etc. So make it obvious they don’t have to by displaying the social login options.

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Contrast that approach with the “on hover” that Entrepreneur shows where you can sign in with your social login.

Now that your visitors know they can register with their social login, they can click on their social network of choice, but you must still explain to them why they should use social login to register.

Merchandising Social Login Registrations – What Is In It for Them?

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The Sun Times copy is right on the mark here:

Tired of new usernames and passwords? Register for free with your social network. It’s fast, easy and secure.

That is exactly why people would want to use social login. Now compare that approach to this from one of the other Chicago newspaper websites:

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Don’t Ask for Too Much Data

Remember when you are asking for data about their personal information, this is an exchange of value, so make sure to ask appropriately in regards to the nature of your relationship.

Compare seeing someone ask for just your email to complete registration:

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To someone asking for email, zip code, date of birth and gender:

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They are also kind enough to tell you they are going to email you about products, events and promotions with out the ability to opt-out. That is one of the main reasons people choose social logins to avoid email “spam.” They don’t even tell you why they need this information or what they are going to do with it.

At least here they tell you why they need more information and give you the option to opt-out of newsletters:

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Make Sure You Are Clear on What You Are Going to Do With Their Permission.

When they see the list of things you are requesting authorization for from their social account, if you push it too far, they may not register. Compare these two. Which would you feel more comfortable authorizing: A or B?

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Once they have registered with social login, there are several benefits you can leverage. You can pre-fill parts of forms with information you have from their registration. Don’t keep this data in isolation. A user’s social identity is so much more than just their profile information – it is insights into their likes, interests and behavioral activity online. It also represents the data necessary to connect that user with their friends. Showing what their friends have been doing on your site will keep your users engaged longer and promote an increase in content consumption.

Once you already have their social identity for registration, you can also leverage this so that your visitor can have greater interaction with your brand and publication. They can now more easily share content, comment, leave ratings and reviews, engage in live chat or even participate in loyalty and retention programs.

However, your goal should not be limited to just using their social login for registration, but for using that login as a basis for gathering more behavioral data on your visitors so that you can take action.

That is one important downside of the Social by Mailchimp platform, and other point social login solutions like Discus: they lack data integration with the rest of your systems. The more complete social login providers such as Gigya allow you to fully leverage the social data on your platform and data collection stack.

There are so many ways you can boost engagement and conversions on your blog and publications, such as social login for registration and commenting. Next time, we’ll look at other simple tips you can leverage to lift social shares, content discovery and articles read per visitor, increase the number of subscribers, and more.