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So following on the heels… or perhaps in the footprints of last month’s “Exact Target Social sharing: Augmenting email with social media”, I’m going to go over replicating some of the “share this” functionality in Exact Target through alternative sources. This first part is going to be fairly basic, adding your standard set of social sharing buttons into an email, and using them to submit an HTML version of your email.

Things you will need:

  • A hosted version of your email.
    Most HTML emails have a “view as HTML” link. Before your send, send yourself a version, then either:

    1. Copy the HTML and drop it into a web page (the best alternative) or…
    2. Copy the “view as HTML” linkWARNING if you choose to take this path then you will have to set up and send to your self several times, each time replacing the URL in the following send with the URL of the previous send. The reason for this should be pretty obvious if you think about it: you can not get the URL of the email you’re about to send because it has yet to be generated, so instead you are including a link to your previous send. However that previous send will also have a share this link, and so you will have to set up that share this link to share a previous complete version and so on and so forth.
  • A shortened URL that points to this link. I recommend clop.in as it allows you to set analytics variables.
  • Images for your social sharing links

With all of that together, take one of the following URLs:

  1. http://www.twitter.com/home/?status=[YOUR TITLE, DESCRIPTION, and URL]
  2. http://delicious.com/save?url=[YOUR URL]&title=[YOUR TITLE]&notes=[A DESCRIPTION]&tags=[RELEVENT TAGS]&v=5&noui=&share=yes&jump=close&time=1253047595&recipients=
  3. http://www.reddit.com/submit?url=[YOUR URL]&title=[YOUR TITLE]

In place of [YOUR URL] place your shortened URL, in the place of [YOUR TITLE] place your title, etc. Then place them in a simple anchor, and place the image you want to use as your button within it (thats <a href=”[sharing site url listed above]”><img src=”[URL of image you want to use]” /></a> for the non-HTML oriented)

This works with almost any social sharing site, so check out the submission urls of each, then just put your shortened URL into each. That said, I’ve yet to make it work with Facebook due to their reliance on meta tags and php for the title and description. The basic URL is the same as the above:

http://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=[YOUR URL]&t=[YOUR TITLE – doesnt seem to do anything]

However, it will take the title or URL of the page (in our case cl.exacttarget.net if you’re using a view as HTML link) and the beginning text, neither of which you particularly want to use. The user could enter their own appropriate text, but the fact that you’re not immediately providing this info could reflect poorly on you. I’m working on some work arounds for this and if they work I’ll include them in a future blog post. Meanwhile if anyone has any ideas please leave them in the comments.

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