The power of sharing is what sets social media apart from other marketing channels. When someone shares your post, they’re not only giving your content a stamp of approval, but publicly recommending it to their network, increasing your reach and potential engagement. It’s word of mouth marketing with bells on and sugar on top
The theory seems simple enough, but encouraging others to share your posts isn’t necessarily so straightforward. So here’s the first instalment of a two-parter covering sharing best practices to put you in the social limelight.
This part explores:
- How to create engaging content
- Building a rapport with your audience
Appeal to consumers’ motivation to connect with each other — not just with your brand.
The New York Times’ Psychology of Sharing study
Create content that’s shareable
Understand why people share
People share content that engages them emotionally, reinforces how they want to be perceived (helpful, insightful, edgy or funny, for example), reflects their values and beliefs, and, ultimately, helps to strengthen their own relationships.
As with everything in marketing: understand what’s important to your audience and tailor your approach to tap into it.
Produce high-quality content
This almost goes without saying, so I won’t labour the point (more insights on content and content marketing here). Don’t aim to create good content: aim to create remarkable content that impresses people enough to make them want to show it to their friends and colleagues.
Make it easy to take action
Ensure social share buttons are prominent on your blog and any other pages you want people to share. Consider using a ‘floating’ share bar that readers can’t miss, or adding a ‘click to tweet’ button that allows readers to instantly share predefined quotes from your content.
Focus on how to be social, not how to do social.
Jay Baer, president of Convince & Convert
Engage, persuade & influence
Ditch the hard sell
A rule of thumb is that only a third of your posts should overtly market your company, with the rest focusing on adding value and building relationships. Besides, why limit yourself to self-promotion when there are so many other ways to create a buzz?
This is a great way to spark interaction if you can tap into a topic or interest that’s important to your audience. Encourage people to get involved by voting, submitting their own ideas and suggestions, or posting photos, for example.
Show your human side
Put some personality into your posts. Share a video of your staff happily doing daft things for charity. Throw in some humour if it’s appropriate. Authenticity is what differentiates your brand and creates trust.
Our CEO Matt braved 31 buckets of freezing water to raise money for charity during last year’s Ice Bucket Challenge
Impart nuggets of wisdom
Post tips and advice that will help make your audience’s life easier. If you can demonstrate them using photos or video, all the better. People love to share this type of post as it allows them to bask in reflected glory.
Make a point of sharing others’ content
Regularly circulate stories and ideas from thought leaders and like-minded businesses in your industry; add your own comments for a personal twist. Don’t be held back by a reluctance to promote other companies: focus on sharing content that your audience will find valuable and interesting.
Always respond promptly to comments and questions, whether on social or in your blog’s comments section. Meaningful, personalised interaction – the building of rapport and trust – is the holy grail of social media marketing.
Now read Best practices for sharing on social media- Part 2 to find out how to:
- Maximise your impact
- Sharpen your social strategy