Funnel your social sharing to build your online audience
This is Day 12 of our new series: 30 days to a better online reputation. Be sure to subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss a single important lesson![divider]
“Choice might be appealing as a theory, but in reality, people might find more and more choice to actually be debilitating.” Sheena Iyengar
You’ve created something amazing and you’re ready to share it with the world. You click publish and then…nothing. You check your web analytics and your social media monitoring dashboard and…still nothing. It’s one of the most deflating feelings in social media marketing and you’re not the first person to experience it. The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way. You shouldn’t give up on your amazing content, you just have to help your audience discover and share it.
Make it shareable
The first step in getting your amazing content shared is to make it shareable. Your carefully crafted blog post is not going to get shared much if it’s paragraph after paragraph of text, with no visual stimulation, and a title that only its mother could love. If you want your amazing content to be shared, you have to think like your target audience. What would make them want to share it?
For written content, a catchy headline means that someone tweeting your post doesn’t have to think twice about what to say. You’ve helped them out by creating a headline that is interesting, engaging, or mysterious. When you add an image or two to your post, you make it easier for someone to share it on Pinterest because now they don’t have to hunt around for an image to add to their Pin. And when you add bolding to key points or use bullet points instead of a wordy paragraph you capture the attention span of busy professionals on LinkedIn.
The internet is a time suck and you don’t want to add to that problem. By making sure your amazing content can be shared quickly and easily, you increase your chances that it will be shared via one of the many social networks out there.
Be socially selective
There are literally hundreds of social networks where your amazing content can be shared. If you’re not careful, you could end up with a smorgasbord of social media buttons all vying for the attention of an audience that is already inundated with requests to share what they’ve read, watched, and heard with their network of friends. Show them a dozen different social sharing icons and they’ll just stare at them like a deer in the headlights, and end up not sharing at all.
Instead, display only those social media icons that best match your circles of influence. If your stakeholders don’t tend to hang out on Reddit or Digg then don’t use those buttons on your content. If you’re actively trying to reach more people on Twitter, then make sure that you include a button that makes it easy for them to tweet what you publish. WordPress publishers can find many plugins that will let you customize what social sharing buttons are displayed on each post. For other web pages, you can quickly install sharing buttons using a service such as AddThis.com or ShareThis.com.
Lastly, be sure to place your most important social sharing buttons first. If your main focus is to get more Facebook likes, then place that button ahead of any others. It sounds subtle, but the order in which you line up your social sharing buttons can make a difference in where your content is shared the most.
Don’t rely on the buttons
While placing the social sharing buttons next to your amazing content will help spread it around the web, you shouldn’t rely on your audience proactively clicking them. Sometimes it takes some extra effort to get those initial retweets or Likes. You can give your amazing content a chance to enter the realms of social media glory by using some of the following tactics:
Suggest it – don’t just place social sharing buttons around your content and hope that someone will decide to click on one of them. At the end of your post or during the closing credits of your video ask your audience to share it with their friends. Sometimes politely asking is the impetus they need to share it.
Email lists – here’s something that you know to be true, but likely overlook: just about everyone that uses social media also has an email account. When you publish your amazing blog post, viral-ready video, or link-attracting infographic, make sure you email it to those that are subscribers to your blog or to customers that have given you permission to contact them. At the bottom of that email, ask them to consider sharing it with others, if they found it useful. Email marketing services such as MailChimp.com make it easy for you to add social sharing buttons to your email messages.
Boost it – Twitter and Facebook are just a couple of social networks that provide options to sponsor your content and it give an artificial boost. Spending $20 to give your content a quick boost might just be enough to get the ball rolling and the Likes flowing.
Ask for a favor – I’ll admit that there are times that I worry that the latest piece of amazing content I created will not gain much traction. That’s when it can be helpful to have a group of close industry friends and peers that you can reach out to privately and ask if they might consider tweeting, liking, or commenting. However, that generally only works if you’ve earned enough social currency to cash in.
Earning social currency
Forget Bitcoins. The hottest virtual payment system doesn’t have a platform for trading and spending. Instead, it relies on something that people have been using in business for hundreds of years: goodwill. Goodwill is what you will use as your social currency to help increase the sharing of the amazing content you’ve worked hard to produce.
Goodwill is earned when you unselfishly look to help those in your centers of influence. It’s earned when you tweet the post of an existing customer. You bank goodwill when you help one of your peers out by giving their latest video a thumb’s up. Goodwill also increases when you spend time sharing great content that doesn’t benefit you in anyway but adds to the value of your stakeholders. Think of that one person your know who is always helping others. Always sharing things that help you do your job better. The person who you would jump through a fiery hoop to help out. That person has a lot of goodwill.
Goodwill is the social currency that helps make your amazing content become viral content. You earn it by not trying to actively earn it. In other words, you build a reputation for being a person or brand that is relentless in helping others to be better.
When you earn that reputation you’ll earn a lot of goodwill. Then you’ll find that when you publish that amazing content, you can cash in some of that social currency by asking others to help spread the word. Earn enough goodwill and you won’t even need to ask. Your stakeholders will relish the opportunity to help you out.
Over the next four days you’ll learn how to build up a ton of goodwill.