The Easiest Way To Make Your Content Dominate On Social Media
What's the key to getting your content shared? Columnist Jordan Kasteler says it's understanding your audience.
Chances are you spend a significant amount of time producing your content. You dwell on the points you want to get across, you outline your content in a way that’s easily digestible, and you hit “publish.”
Then… radio silence.
One of the most important aspects of successful social media marketing is the promotion of the post — and to get your content shared, you need to understand your audience.
Who shares your content? What triggers them to share this content? How do you inspire your audience to take action?
Look Who’s Talking
Here are five levels of promotion divisions (the who in the equation) that you should strive to have share your content.
1. Inside Business
Set the example and take charge of social media sharing by starting in house.
Create a checklist for where you will share every piece of content. Once published, go through the checklist item by item and blast your article, video, or images to the social world. These are a few of the items that should be on your list:
- Share with your email list.
- Post on strategic social media platforms (this requires knowing the audience on each of the platforms and why people show up).
- Add and use the share buttons on your blog posts for the most relevant social networks.
- Incorporate @ mentions and hashtags where appropriate to spark and track conversations about the content.
- Share each image at least once.
2. A Team Effort
Each of your team members has a network of their own outside of the workplace. That means that your employees should be sharing your content, too.
This requires a little bit of coordination to do effectively. Here are some tips:
- Create social media guidelines for sharing the content.
- Train your team on how to share the content.
- Adapt your message to suit to each employee’s unique audience.
- Write the script so all your employee has to do is copy and paste.
- Highlight the top sharers and performers in the organization to encourage future sharing.
3. Influencer Involvement
Regardless of industry, there are a few core people that influence decisions and trends. Getting these people involved will set your brand apart and make you stand out.
To leverage influencers in your industry:
- Foster strong relationships over time by reciprocating the favor of sharing content.
- Ask for their opinion on a piece and give them a say in the topic you’re discussing.
- Email them away from the social networks to let them know you value their opinion.
4. Rallying The Community
When you think of social sharing, this is what you’re thinking of; Strangers, community members, and your core audience entrenched in conversation about your content. This is the heart of social sharing and should not be taken lightly.
Remember that the vast majority of people will only stalk your content and will rarely engage with it. That’s okay. The goal is to get the smaller numbers of community members chatting it up online. Here’s how to encourage that behavior.
- Ask for the share. Tell the reader what you want him or her to do.
- Solicit your reader’s opinion by asking a question.
- Make it as simple as possible to share by incorporating buttons and optimizing the design of your content.
5. The DIY Approach
If you’re just starting out, you might need to use a DIY approach first. Get your name in front of others in your industry by:
- Creating a system with another startup in your niche and sharing each other’s content.
- Asking your friends to help spread the word about your endeavor.
- Join conversations already happening online, such as in Google+ Hangouts or LinkedIn groups.
What Triggers A Social Share?
Once you’ve promoted your content, what triggers your readers to continue the sharing process? It turns out there are seven motivational factors that elicit action, according to the New York Times Consumer Insight Group and Latitude Research.
- To pass along valuable and entertaining content to connections.
- To “brand” or define ourselves
- To share our support of specific issues or causes.
- To enhance our relationships with people we might not otherwise be inclined to stay in touch with.
- To form a connection with like-minded individuals.
- To keep a pulse on what’s happening in the world.
- To change opinions and encourage others to act.
Each piece of content you create must serve one of these core motivations. Without offering a person with at least one of these reasons to share, your content will remain stagnant on your website and unseen by your audience.
Structuring Content For The Share
To create great linkbait, your content needs a few core components.
- A strong title
- Images and/or infographics
- “Goldilocks” style of length (not too short and not too long)
- Easy to skim sections
- A conclusion
Inspiring Your Audience To Take Action
Components aren’t enough. You also want to inspire your reader to take action by writing in a way that appeals to a sharing audience.
To do this, start with the most important point first. For example, in this post, the key takeaway is at the top: To get your content shared, you need to understand your audience.
The faster you define the key takeaway, the faster you’ll give your audience a reason to share your content.
Once you’ve clarified what your reader will learn in your post, it’s time to drill down to the details. Start with writing what’s most important and continue to narrow in on what you want your audience to know.
When you’re finished, ask for the share! Encourage your reader to share your content.
Here are a few expert tips for how to do this effectively:
Offer A Reason To Share
You already have social sharing buttons on your post. Now, give your audience a reason to click those buttons. With plugins, such as WordPress’s One Press Social Locker, you can incentivize your reader to share your content with a free giveaway.
Pull Out The Best Quotes
Help your reader show off his smarts by pulling out the best quotes from your post for him.
Using the “Click to Tweet” feature, you make it fast, simple, and straightforward for your reader to share your best stuff. Highlight a few quotes throughout your post and then generate a link using “Click to Tweet.”
Use Images Wisely
In my presentation about designing and prepping content for sharing and social media, I talk specifically about visual appeal.
Similar to curbside appeal for brick-and-mortar stores, your content needs to have the same sexy appearance. Use images that enhance the story you’re weaving with your words. Infographics are an easy way to incorporate valuable visuals that continue to draw your reader’s eyes down the page.
Interview An Expert Or Two
Remember when we discussed the importance of getting influencers invested and interested in sharing your content? One surefire way to make that happen is by giving them a voice.
Interview an influencer on your blog. Then, ask the person to share the article once published. Their audience will visit your page and, if your content is well-formatted, read further, share other articles, or sign up for your list.
Keep It Concise
No matter how you segment your audience, one thing is certain: your readers are busy. They have lives away from your website and outside of the topic at hand. They probably don’t have time to indulge in a full essay.
Keep your content concise. Write concise sentences. Then, limit your paragraphs to one point or idea. The longer you elaborate, the more overwhelming your content looks. With verbose paragraphs, your reader is less likely to invest time sorting through all your key points.
You’re in charge of the social sharing bus. As the content creator, it’s up to you to start the promotion of each piece of content. There are five groups of people that you can target to help you spread the word about your content:
- Your internal marketing team
- Your employees
- Industry influencers
- Your community
In addition to reaching out to each of these groups, you need to maintain an equitable balance between the promotion you pay for, the promotion you own, and the promotion you earn. A healthy relationship between each of these types of content promotion will yield the strongest social sharing success.