The real power of marketing through social media is not the direct views you get when you post content, but rather, the viral spread of your content when your followers share your message with their friends and followers. Sharing is the ultimate word of mouth advertising. Social networks are built to make sharing easy. Long before social media, studies have shown that people pay more attention to content and recommendations sent by friends and colleagues, so getting your content shared is critical.
There are three main psychological drivers for shareability:
- Value. Know what your audience values and give them content that reinforces those desires and needs. If your audience is broad, you’ll need to parse out your content to reach all of them with targeted value-add messaging.
- Disruption. Sometimes, people pay attention to messaging that challenges the normal way of thinking. Don’t confuse this with being controversial, which generally is not a good way to market your brand. This is more about “shaking things up” in an interesting way that makes people go, “hmm.”
- Emotional engagement. Personal, human stories that evoke universal emotional responses tend to get shared. If it touches people, they will want to share it with friends to “spread the love” and good feelings.
On a more practical level, here are a few tips to improve the odds of your social media content getting liked, shared, and commented on:
- Get visual. “A picture is worth a thousand words.” This old cliché is particularly relevant on social media. Photos and videos are better at capturing the attention of viewers who are scrolling furiously through multiple social networks in search of relevant content.
- Target your audience. Create original images and infographics that educate, enlighten, solve a problem, or inspire action. Images with short, actionable advice, tips, quotes, and fun facts can weave entertainment and education together for a value-added experience aimed at specific demographics.
- Be timely. Play off of breaking news, or plan ahead for upcoming events and time your content delivery to match.
- Stay consistent. Having a presence on a social network but rarely updating the content may be worse than not being there at all. People will tune out if you fail to provide a consistent stream of relevant content. You can share at the same time every day so customers look forward to your daily wisdom. Or use an app like Buffer to compile content and have it automatically pushed out throughout the day in a random order.
- Include a CTA. Just as with traditional communications, a call to action is essential to encourage interaction, such as sharing, clicking links, and commenting.
- Make it easy. Always include share buttons and social icons on your website, blogs, email newsletters, email signature, and anywhere you communicate with your customers, so they can easily share with a simple click.