Social media sharing of an article or blog post you find interesting is pretty easy to do. Click the share button and it’s off. But is it enough?
The resounding answer is no. If you’re trying to engage your followers, whether on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or other platforms, simply sharing a link and moving on IS. NOT. ENOUGH.
The purpose of sharing content to your fans and followers on social media is:
- To help them in whatever path they are on.
- Let them know you are a trusted source of valuable information for that path.
- You are more than a content sharing machine: you add professional insight to what you share, thereby increasing the value of the information you impart.
This applies to social media sharing of your own content, or curated articles from others in your industry.
So, how can you do better? By making your posts count.
Here’s 5 ways to add value to your social media sharing:
1. Create Great Content
The first step in adding value to your social media sharing is to create content that is valuable. Fill your blog posts and social media content with unique facts, statistics, advice, quotes from industry leaders, infographics, video, and the like.
You can then can pull excerpts and quotes from throughout your blog post to share to your various social media pages. You can also make stand-alone content, such as infographics and image cards with quotes and statistics for your social media pages.
This makes repeated shares different from previous ones.
What grabs one person’s attention, may be different from what appeals to another. There may various facts, figures or advice in your post that would spark the attention of various audiences.
To create valuable, and varied content you’ll want to set up categories of what to post, and rotate through those categories.
For example, if you’re a business owner, you could schedule content that is:
- Informative: How to articles, Tutorials, Historical Perspectives, Industry Analysis, Industry News
- Interactive: Polls, Surveys, Video, Popups: Check out this post on Convince and Convert on interactive video ideas. And take a look at my post, Top 10 Digital Marketing Questions to see a Poll in action via a WordPress plugin extension by Gravity Forms.
- Entertaining: You can’t always be the nerd of the party. So it’s good to create entertaining content once in a while. It doesn’t have to be published to your blog, if you’re trying to keep that space professional. But you can create GIFs, memes, funny quote cards and similar content for your social media sharing. You can easily create Gifs at GIPHY.com
- Promotional: Finally, you’ve got to promote your business once in a while. That’s why you’re doing all this social media sharing in the first place, to get business. But remember to follow the 4-1 rule: for every four posts you share, only one should be promotional. Some people use the 80/20 rule: only 20% of the content you share should be a direct pitch.
The how-to is the most powerful of all the blogging archetypes.” — Social Media Examiner
Remember, your goal is to help your followers as much as possible. Posting three times a week about your restaurant’s daily specials doesn’t help many people. But posting an informative article about the process of making a pasta dish might.
Be interactive by engaging with followers through polls, open-ended questions or surveys. Entertaining posts are simply there to make someone smile.
Finally, tailored marketing posts are more effective when they come about every once in a while. Nobody likes to feel like they’re being fed a sales pitch all the time.
2. Snag Attention with a Snazzy Title
Whether you’re sharing your own content, or someone else’s blog post, if the title or tagline is boring, then you’ll see zero in engagement numbers.
To be honest, I write boring headlines. They are very factual — “this is what my blog post is about.” So I struggle when coming up with blog title ideas.
But I know I have to stand out amongst the constant stream of chatter on my social media feeds if I want to draw attention and click-throughs to my blog or engagement on my social media posts.
To stand out, you must make your blog and your social media sharing titles sing with adjectives, numbers, controversy and emotion.
Yes, emotion. There’s been quite a few studies and resulting articles that prove posts with titles that evoke emotions such as fear, excitement, curiosity, empathy, or yearning, get shared more.
The Advance Marketing Institute offers a free Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer to find out your blog title’s emotional marketing value. Coschedule also offers a free headline analyzer.
Portent’s Content Generator and Title Maker is another great tool to come up with titles full of adjectives that draw attention. Some title ideas Portent proposes are bit outlandish, but hey, if it works, why not?
Numbers in headlines also do well. You can share statistical numbers in your headline, or simply the number in your blog post list, i.e. 7 Ways to Draw More Attention to Your Brand Online.
Controversy also makes a good attention-grabber. But don’t make something out of nothing. I tend to stay away from these types of headlines, because, really, what can be so controversial about digital marketing?
But many of my peers do manage to add a bit of controversy to their social media shares. For example: Why Twitter is Not Dead and Isn’t Going Anywhere. This headline got a total of 1.3K social media shares.
To avoid being lost in the online netherworld, make your blog post and social media sharing titles standout with emotion, adjectives, stats, and controversy.
3. Add Commentary
We already know that simply posting a link to something you like or found interesting isn’t enough.
But, why is that?
I’ll give you an example. If I’m scanning my Twitter feed and see a link to an article with a title that I’ve already seen on someone else’s feed, I’m not very likely to click on it.
But, if the person has posted a specific reason as to why they are sharing the link — it touched them, it resonated with them, it helped them understand a concept better, it enlightened them etc. — I’m more likely click on that link.
Another way to add value to your social media sharing is to add your two cents to the topic or author’s view: you disagree with a certain point, add an extra tip or advice, expand on a point or topic as a whole.
If you simply don’t have a enough time to brainstorm on what to say, an easy save is to highlight a particular quote or fact, and share that.
Stand out from the crowd, and add your unique insight to every social media share.
4. Vary Your Delivery
There’s no need to post the same one-liner over and over in different words.
If your message isn’t getting through or people aren’t responding to you, find another way to reach them.
If no one is responding to your poll, maybe ask a more direct question next time, or add a photo or give some quirky comment about your business or even a personal comment, if appropriate.
People will engage if they feel like they can connect with you and understand you on some level. Dig deep to get down to them.
Don’t give up, try different ways to reach people.
5. Change Your Approach Based on the Platform
While you can share much of the same information across all your social media platforms, there are some cases where it doesn’t fly.
It’s not a matter of redundancy, but of appropriate subject matter and formatting.
- Twitter posts should be short and sweet, using hashtags and brief but potent messages. The content can range from outrageously entertaining to a place for sharing news updates, depending on what your brand or business is about.
- LinkedIn should be more businesslike, since your network is full of people who are there for professional networking. Memes and cat photos don’t belong here. But industry news updates, and career or other professional business information do.
- Facebook can be a little more casual and full of personality, but professional updates also work on this platform. Images and short captions work best on Facebook.
- Google Plus is discussion oriented. People go in-depth with their posts. Rather than publishing a one-liner, full excerpts from your blog post, or a paragraph with questions and comments that prompt engagement works here. Here’s a great article on how to format your Google Plus posts.
- Instagram and Pinterest are all about visuals: Infographics, quote cards, GIFs, or just a gorgeous photo. Don’t forget to use lots of hashtags on Instagram, and a few on Pinterest.
By changing your posts to fit each social media platform you’ll be fulfilling your social media sharing strategy, but even more importantly, you’ll be connecting on a deeper level with your audience.
Adding value to your social media sharing takes much more time, thought, and energy than just slapping random things up on your feed.
But, in the end, you’ll win by sharing content that speaks to people, and followers who know they can count on you to be informative and engaging.
What Do you Think?
Do you have anything add, or any questions about this post? Let me known in the comments box below.