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When Sharing Buttons Work

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At the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) we use sharing buttons on our website to help people share content from web pages with their colleagues and friends. With one click, a user can post a page’s link to popular social networking sites or send it via email. The article To Use Social Sharing Buttons or Not looks at some ways that social sharing buttons are actually used. Here’s a look at what works for us.

On our main website, GAO.gov, we have sharing buttons on the summary pages of our reports and testimonies, as well as on our topics pages. Similar to our neighbors in the U.K., we found these sharing rates were generally low. We were happy to see a very different picture when it came to our blog, the WatchBlog.

In January, 2014, GAO launched a new blog as part of our continuing effort to reach our audiences—Congress and the American people—where they are currently looking for information. Our blog format allows us to provide a little more context about our work than we can offer on its other social media platforms.

The WatchBlog has now been viewed over 12,000 times, with much of the traffic coming from Facebook and Twitter. Readers are also eager to share our blog posts on social media using our sharing buttons. Overall, our sharing rate as a percentage of pageviews is 15.2%.

The five most popular blog posts have sharing rates between 15.2% and 45.2%.

Page Social media shares Pageviews Shares as percentage of pageviews
Navigating the Complexities of the Federal Budget 273 604 45.2%
GAO’s Defense Capabilities and Management Team 123 368 33.4%
Government Accountability Office: What’s in a Name? 114 294 38.8%
GAO’s International Affairs and Trade Mission Team 93 334 27.8%
An Introduction to GAO’s High Risk List 45 297 15.2%

Many reads have shared blog posts on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Twitter was the most popular choice for sharing.

Social media platform Total blog post shares
Twitter 799
Facebook 612
LinkedIn 423

We’ll be keeping a close eye on this trend. We hope you take a moment to check out the WatchBlog!

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