You’re ramping up your content marketing efforts, yes? Got the blog going, maybe you’ve rolled out a nice, robust piece of anchor content, and you’ve created that Facebook page. What’s that you hear? Crickets?
We’ve written a lot in the past about the importance of social media (although let me emphasize that social media is not very effective without a content marketing strategy), but despite its ubiquitous nature, social media is still largely misunderstood in the corporate world.
When you’re ready to ramp up your content marketing efforts, one of the best things you can do is make it as easy as possible for readers, both internal and external, to share your content. You can be writing the best content on the Internet, but if no one can find it, your content begins to lose a lot of its value. The marketing part of content marketing is every bit as important as the content part. Social sharing is vital to marketing.
In this post, I’ll outline some tips for nailing social sharing. You can apply these tactics to sharing any type of content socially.
1. Think before you write. Yes, I said “write.” No, I’m not talking about a blog post or some other type of content – I’m talking about writing your social media posts. Social sharing should not be just the title of your content and a link. It also shouldn’t be the same “Check-out-our-blog-post-about…” line for each, but should be unique and creative (but we’ll discuss more on that in the next point). A best practice for writing social media copy is to create it immediately after, or even while you’re writing, your content– that way it’s fresh in your mind!
2. Mix it up. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ are all very different social networks in terms of the people who use them and the content that gets posted on each. Craft copy for these properties based on their target audiences. Your audience on Facebook and Twitter is most likely very different than your audience on LinkedIn, so make sure you’re reaching each group with a few sentences that are most effective for them. You should also be mindful of the character limits for each property and aim to get the most important and persuasive part of your message at the beginning of the copy. Be aware that Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ will all display a “Read More” type of message after a certain number of characters in your post (generally around 300 characters), so drawing readers in quickly so they click on the beginning of the copy is key.
3. Track everything. All of your marketing efforts should be measured – social media is no exception. Facebook and now LinkedIn offer insights into how successful each post is in terms of likes, comments, and shares, but you can also go a step further by using a trackable link shortener like Bitly. Using the same shortened link to share on all your properties allows you to see how that blog post performed across all the social properties on which you shared it. Not all social media sharing/traffic can be measured accurately on your web analytics platform, so tracking links sheds a little more light on that data. If you’d like to consolidate some of this information and monitor interaction on social media, you can always use social monitoring software like Hootsuite or BufferApp (both of which are inexpensive!).
4. Share smarter. There are many easy ways to make social sharing less time consuming and more effective. Adding the right social plugins to your blog, for instance, can make it very easy for readers to share your content. Check out the plugin we use – AddtoAny – underneath my name on this post. Readers can use this plugin to share on virtually any social or bookmarking site on the Internet. Also, notice the social sharing buttons at the end of this post before my bio (also pictured below). Again, anyone reading this post can post it to their own personal social networks with a click of one of those buttons. The meta title and description for this post will display for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+, so it’s practically all done for you!
5. Recruit your colleagues. Often, smaller companies struggle with building social media audiences and gaining traction because they’re ignoring a big potential resource: their employees. When your company puts out quality content, recruit your coworkers, colleagues, and other collaborators to share it. I know what you’re thinking – social media is not in most people’s job descriptions. But if every person at your company shares your content with their own personal network, you’re reaching far more people than you will if you only share from your company page. That sharing is also important so that employees build their personal and professional brands online. Getting others at your company to share may seem like pulling teeth, but it doesn’t have to be. Alert these people that your blog post has been published with an email and a short description of the post. Remember those social sharing buttons from the last tip? Take the URL from the new window that appears for each and insert it into your email. Recipients will be able to share directly from that email as they would from the buttons within the post. There’s really no excuse for your colleagues not to share when you make it that easy for them.
6. Don’t let the numbers get you down. With social media, it’s not always about the numbers. There are facets of your social media activity that should not be measured, and the hard truth is that unless you’re a celebrity, your social sharing stats are most likely going to grow slowly. That’s ok! Don’t be discouraged if your first earnest attempt at social sharing earns you no traffic, likes, comments, shares, or retweets. Keep at it; the more people that are exposed to your consistent, quality content, the more likely they are to click through and maybe join the conversation. As with all good things, it takes time!
7. Be a content curator. Sharing quality content from other sources is another way to increase your potential audience and provide value when you don’t have original content to share. Make sure that you actually read what you share and include a comment offering some insight, if possible.
Social sharing shouldn’t be overly time-consuming, but it should require some strategic thinking. These tips will help you to make sure you’re getting the most out of your content. Be proud of your content and start sharing!
Have any more best practices to share? Let me know in the comments! Get more tips to boost your content marketing strategy. Download our eBook, “How to Grow Your Business with Content Marketing.”