When it comes to Facebook, sharing is THE most important metric when it comes to growing your platform.
Sharing is the best kind of feedback you can get - it tells you that your content is resonating with your audience, and it helps you organically (read; cost-effectively and quickly) scale your growth and amplifies brand awareness. Sharing helps to validate your brand, and it’s what makes content go viral.
On Instagram you can ‘repost’ or ‘tag’ people in your posts (which is also hugely beneficial), but for the purposes of this article, we will refer mostly to Facebook. For most brands, a combination of platforms will be most effective.
If you’ve followed my blog for the last couple of years, you’ve read about the importance of creating authentic and relevant content.
But there are some finer details used by professionals to make content as appealing and share-worthy as possible.
Here are just a few:
Put Your Audience First
Have you ever felt backed into a conversation with someone who speaks “at” you…versus with you; pausing only to take a breath before launching into their next diatribe or thought?
Sometimes people just need to be heard.
It’s an art to gracefully extricate oneself from one of these one-sided conversations, and sometimes I find myself avoiding contact with these kinds of conversationalists in the future.
You know how people handle this kind of person online?
They “unfollow” them.
So where it’s easy to think that creating content from a place that is authentic might mean having it be all about you, the opposite couldn’t be more true.
As content creators, we must think about the consumer first.
So how do you “share your brand story” and “be authentic” when you create content - without making it all about YOU?
It’s easy - think of how your message can be of service to someone or provide a solution to a problem they’re having.
For example, Brendan Kane in his bestselling marketing book, One Million Followers shared an amazing example of when Katie Couric documented her experience getting a colonoscopy on national television.
After the show aired, the number of Americans screened for colon cancer went up by 20%!
The lesson of this story? Have an impact on someone so they feel compelled to share with their family and friends.
How to Develop Shareable Content
So now that you know what you want to share, and how it can be useful to your audience, how do you put it all together?
Here are a few good guidelines for writing shareable content.
Some of the most popular types of content that is shared fall under entertainment (with an element of surprise), utility (like a life hack or tip), or inspiration.
Typically, content that goes viral either has an element of surprise, evokes a strong emotion, or provides a helpful skill or service, or maybe is relevant to something big happening in the world.
Idenifying which of these purposes your content addresses will help you create your content with intention.
Once you decide which category your content is, you can tag it and target your audience appropriately when you’re placing your paid ads (a must when it comes to leverage - Facebook is pay to play!). If you’re feeling ambitious, you can leverage social proof by employing the use of influencers and ambassadors, or consider running a giveaway or contest to encourage sharing - just be sure to heed the platform requirements, so your ad won’t get pulled down.
Edit, edit, edit!
It’s one thing to be a good writer, but a great content creator must also be a skilled editor.
First look at the media you’ll be using; either a photo or a video - and ensure that ANYTHING irrelevant is edited out. I always suggest taking a step back and ask yourself, is it exactly the right piece to tell your story?
Write a captivating headline, tag the content appropriately, and write your caption as if you’re speaking to someone you know. Short captions will work well for some, others can pull off long-winded, expressive posts. Find your best fit. When in doubt, just keep it simple and true to you.
As Coco Chanel once said, “Elegance is refusal”.
Follow Your Intuition
When it comes to timing, typically your gut will tell you when its best. Surely there are algorithms and sophisticated software that can point out which topics, themes, and hashtags are trending (as well as the world’s most popular articles, videos, and memes from the last 24 hours to 365 days!) but I truly believe that NOTHING beats the “feeling” you get when it’s time to click publish. Just go ahead - post it.
Regardless of how many people share your content, just continue being authentic when you’re posting, stay consistent, and continue creating content with intention.
You’ll be sure to grow your network of engaged, loyal customers for life.
Thanks for reading!