Content sharing on blogs and social media is now a key opportunity to build awareness and make your brand grow. Having a lot of shares is much more important than having many followers on your channels. This is exactly the first parameter to take into account when determining whether the content published is interesting and engaging.
If you are not getting enough shares, don’t worry, we will give you 5 ideas to rethink your content and make its sharing irresistible to readers.
Where does sharing take place?
The first answer that comes to mind is on social networks. This is indeed confirmed by the fact that 31% of online sharing takes place on Facebook, plus another 10% generated by the sum of all other channels.
Surprisingly, social networks are not the most important sharing space. 59% of online sharing takes place via emails, forum posts and instant messaging apps. These are known as “dark social”, a term coined to identify those sharing spaces that cannot be directly monitored by web analytics programs.
This shows that, regardless of social networks, the digital world is by its very nature a space in which people interact and exchange information. Sometimes sharing takes place between a person and a group, like in forums, and sometimes between two individuals: two friends who share a link of the best shoe stores on WhatsApp or two colleagues who share the latest news regarding a brand competitor via email or Slack. In this case, content visibility is minimal, but the possibility of conversion, in terms of clicks and leads, is very high. Marketers have no control over most of these dynamics but they can work hard on creating relevant content that would make people voluntarily promote their brand.
The benefits of sharing: awareness, sales and leads
There can be many benefits arising from content sharing:
- Improve brand perception: people are more likely to trust what their friends share than what a company directly tells them. When a company receives positive and spontaneous mentions, thanks to direct interaction between users, its reputation is enhanced.
- Increase leads: online sharing leads to an increase in website traffic. 31% of referral traffic is generated by shares and is therefore made up of highly interested users with greater likelihood of conversion. Shares are a great source to get leads because they rely on a spontaneous mechanism: people who go to the website are already inclined to leave their details to keep in touch with the brand.
- Increase sales: 70% of people admit that their purchase decisions are influenced by what their friends share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram. This means that creating good content, which encourages people to talk about it with their own circle of friends can result in an economically tangible outcome.
Why certain content has hundreds of shares and others don’t?
A good content marketing strategy must ensure constant content production for your blog and social networks. But all this work would be useless if no one shares them and talks about them. What makes content so appealing and become viral?
- It helps solving a socially sensitive issue felt at a certain moment.
- It generates emotion (amusement, endearment, surprise) that people want to spread to their contacts.
- It helps people show their views and what they care about.
- People who share are fans of the brand, they like its products and support it in everything it does.
If your content does not fall under any of these four cases, perhaps it is time to revise your editorial strategy. Where to start? We have at least 5 tips for you.
How to increase your blog and social media shares
#1 Check content display on mobile
In 2015, 33% of web traffic was generated through mobile and this percentage will keep growing in the coming years. More and more people will read articles and news exclusively on smartphones and tablets. The site hosting the content will load more quickly and be perfectly optimized to ensure proper display of content, thus offering the best conditions to encourage sharing. Brands without an optimized web space must act quickly if they do not want to lose leads: 57% of users abandon the site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load the page. A quick and effective solution is offered by online systems to create mobile sites. Without requiring any special technical skills, they allow you to create a perfectly functional web page and to quickly catch up with your competitors.
#2 Multiply share buttons
In addition to having viewable content on mobile, all modes of interaction, comments and social sharing buttons should also function perfectly. There’s no need to add dozens of buttons for every single channel activated by the company. Placing the most relevant ones to your sector is sufficient. Where to put them? It is a must to position social sharing icons at the top and at the bottom of your post. If there are quotes or particularly relevant phrases, a “click-to-tweet” button can be placed so that people can share them immediately on Twitter. Images can be associated with a Pinterest share button, remembering to give them a meaningful name that will appear as a description of the photo on Pinterest. The clothing brand Zara has done this not only for all of its products but also for editorial images with seasonal trends.
#3 Give a good reason to share
When you create content, the question that you should keep in mind is: why should people share it? Brands often neglect this aspect and create content that talks about a product or service, without putting themselves in the shoes of potential customers.
There is no magic formula for creating viral content, but there are elements that will surely work better than others. Quizzes, for example, attract users and are easily shared to challenge friends and to prove their intelligence. Posts with exciting or engaging images can help too and it’s even better if it is a video. Other ones that work are lists with practical advice to solve a problem. A study has analyzed the most significant cases of viral content in 2015 to provide a full picture of what works best in sharing. The table below summarizes the results or the recurring elements that help increase sharing.
#4 Offer a premium content
People love to share interesting content, especially if they offer something in return. This can be a free download for an eBook or a discount coupon.
The ideal mechanism is to invite those who see the offer to share it with their potentially interested contacts. Various social sharing buttons and a forward email link should be clearly placed. To increase leads, a simple form can be inserted, which invites users to enter their email address in exchange for free content. This will enrich the contact database for future initiatives.
#5 Pre-format your content for social media
Most blog visitors only read the title and the first few paragraphs of a post. To convince them that it is an interesting content to share, you have to make the first few sentences compelling, starting with the title: it must have an impact and be sufficiently mysterious. But it also has to be short for a greater impact and for technical matters: to be entirely displayed on Facebook, the title post must be under 100 characters, while link description must be kept under 250 characters.
The same applies to pictures: they must be attractive to entice sharing and must be pre-formatted for social media. Posts on social media might have a different format than the original and can have less impact. Therefore, it is always better to test them in advance, by copying the URL of the page in a test post so as to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Have you already thought of how to make your next content viral?
Adele’s “Hello” music video has got more than 500 million views in just few days. The list of “51 Of The Most Beautiful Sentences In Literature” published on BuzzFeed has reached 9 million views and has been shared by 1.4 million people. The color quiz published on social media by EyeSocialEyes has got 5 million shares on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.
Even if you may not reach these records, taking small actions like the ones mentioned above will surely help you get more shares. What will you focus on for your next content?
About the author:
Silvio Porcellana is the CEO and Founder of mob.is.it, the online tool over 1,000 agencies and professionals use to build mobile websites and native apps for customers worldwide. From his retreat in the Monferrato Hills in North West Italy, he bootstraps companies, writes about web and mobile marketing, and helps customers succeed online. Read more from Silvio at mob.is.it blog