Social sharing is one of the most powerful ways of increasing the reach of your content. Here’s Part 2 in our series on how to use sharing strategically to engage and influence
Best practices for sharing on social media – Part 1 covered how to:
- Create content that’s shareable
- Engage, persuade and influence
In this part, we explore ways to:
- Maximise your impact
- Sharpen your sharing strategy
“You need to spend 50% of your time on the idea and 50% on how you spread it.”
Jonah Peretti, founder of Buzzfeed
Maximise your impact
Use hashtags effectively
Overuse has given hashtags a bad press but, but a few well-chosen hashtags can be the key for being discovered on social media. As always though, know your audience: hashtagging is generally frowned-upon on LinkedIn, for example.
Take a cue from the hashtags industry influencers and competitors are using and research trends using tools such as hashtagify.me
Grab attention with visuals
It’s well established that posting visual content such as photos, GIFs, infographics and slideshows boosts engagement, and this is backed up by science: our brains process imagery much more efficiently than words alone. But it’s short videos that are really getting those fingers clicking (or tapping, for mobile users). Fortune magazine reports that video posts on Facebook reach 35% of their audience, compared with 14% for photo posts, since Facebook launched video posting in early 2015, and just 4% for text-only updates.
Source: Jeff Bullas
Get involved in communities
Becoming an active member of relevant communities, such as LinkedIn groups or Twitter chats, will give you the chance to engage with a very targeted audience. Contribute to discussions and share your own content sparingly to avoid being seen as spammy.
Customise for each platform
Tailor your posts to play to the strengths of each one, particularly if you’re linking back to the same content across different platforms.
Grab yourself a platform-by-platform guide to optimising your posts by downloading our social media cheat sheet.
Craft strong headlines & calls to action
Put as much thought into crafting each social post as you would a blog post. Your headlines need to grab attention, demonstrate relevancy and pique your audience’s interest.
Be explicit about how you want people to react to your post. Actually asking people to share can be surprisingly effective: according to Socially Stacked, tweets including ‘please retweet’ are more likely to be shared.
“It’s hard work. I’m not going to lie. But if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and get dirty, and are willing to constantly analyse what you’re doing and scrap what doesn’t work and continue what does work, and keep at it, you can be very, very successful.”
Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner
Sharpen your social strategy
A schedule allows you to plan in advance what you’re going to post where and when, and ensures you social media activity is harmonised with your content plan and significant dates in your marketing calendar.
Your plan doesn’t need to be set in stone: one of the best things about social media is the ability to be quickly responsive and spontaneous.
Use Google Analytics or each platform’s native analytics tool to gauge which posts are getting the most engagement. How you measure success, whether it’s the number of reshares, likes or click-throughs, will depend on the objectives of your social media strategy.
Be active when your audience is
Keeping an eye on your performance metrics allows you to form a picture of the times and days when your posts get the most traction.
There’s a lot of research into the best times to post and apps to help you maximise your scheduling but, while some general rules may apply, the formula for getting this right will depend on knowing your audience, monitoring engagement and a degree of trial and error.
Concentrate on the platforms where you have the highest chance of engagement
Few brands find equal success on every channel. Identify where your messages resonate the most, and focus your efforts here. We’ve put together this infographic to help you compare the pros and cons of each platform at a glance (click to enlarge).
Share posts more than once
Don’t be afraid to share content several times on a platform to maximise its reach, as long as it’s retained its relevance and value. Avoid sounding repetitive by tweaking your headline, imagery and/or timing for reshares.
Encourage employees to share your content
Employee advocacy is a powerful and cost effective tactic. Read our Knowledge Base article for step-by-step advice on creating brand ambassadors.
Manage your time effectively
Tools such as BuzzSumo, Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Buffer can help you to plan, automate and analyse the performance of your posts. Take advantage of the free trials on offer to identify which best suit your needs.