Wednesday, 13 January 2016

5 Ways Content Marketing Can Drive: Social Sharing

5 ways content marketing can drive social sharing

Spoiler alert: Content marketing and social media are not the same thing. While the two must operate in tandem, one is never sufficient without the other.The reason is that social media is just one slice of your content marketing publishing strategy. Each time you create a piece of content marketing, you must consider social media. You should also consider your website, partnership sites, and search engines.

Why It Matters
There are many ways to distribute your content marketing, but social sharing should be one of your top outlets. In fact, we’d argue you should never publish a piece of content without building a strategy for posting it on Twitter, Facebook, and other social channels.
This is primarily because social media is a direct route to brand loyalty and engagement with your audience. As Jay Baer puts it, content marketing’s goal is consumption, while social media is focused on participation.


Social media offers secondary benefits, as well. For example, social media can be a fantastic way to glean valuable audience insights.
Luckily, almost every social network offers some form of analytics. Social giants such as Twitter Analytics and Facebook Insights rival even Google Analytics with their audience nuggets.
Social posts also offer immediate feedback. When it comes to your website, it can take days or weeks to learn how well new content is resonating. Social media, on the other hand, lets you know within hours.
Social shares are one of the primary ways to get this type of information. If audience members share your content, it’s an objective indicator that you’ve done something right. In fact, sharing is even more indicative than comments, since the latter can be positive or negative in sentiment.
Though exact results may vary depending on your chosen social media channel, there are certain methods that can increase sharing across every social media network. Let’s take a peek at five ways to skyrocket your shares.
Photos and Memes
Content Marketing Institute was spot-on when they said “visual content is the new black.” This trend has only been growing in popularity since 2012 – and growing fast. In fact, 70 percent of marketers increased their visual content budget in 2015.
One of the main reasons is that visual content is ripe for sharing. Think about your own Facebook timeline: How often do you see a snarky meme or cute puppy pic that reminds you of someone else? Better yet, how often do you see these pictures show up as reposts or shares?
Obviously, your goal as a content marketer is to be that coveted first-mover who posts a picture that others share. But social media has a few unspoken photo rules that you should know first:
  • Be wary of stock. These photos typically have less personality than a piece of cardboard. In fact, we’ve been known to have a little fun with the most ridiculous pics we come across. Though we’ve seen radical improvements from brands such as Unsplash, just remember: If you think it’s cheesy, every one of your audience members will, too.
  • Embrace your inner designer. There’s no excuse for plain visuals anymore. Thankfully, this is due to free, cloud-based photo editors popping up everywhere. Our personal favorite is Canva. Just pick a photo size and select from their menu of texts, photos, and graphics.
A direct example from us above – we used Canva to create this very eye catching visual for social media.A direct example from us above – we used Canva to create this very eye catching visual for social media.

Yes, cute kids and animals work. Why fight the warm and fuzzies? Unless your brand specializes in crisis management or construction supplies, consider at least one visual campaign that’s light, fun and a little bit cute. After all, almost everyone loves to share something that makes them smile.
Videos
Original videos are an undertaking, but they’re well worth it. The benefits are only growing, especially since 77 percent of internet users now watch digital video content at least once per month. How many other forms of content marketing hold your audience captive like that?
However, video is one form of social media where you have to consider your social network first and foremost. For example, Facebook is ideal for videos that can be viewed on silent mode. Twitter, on the other hand, must be short above all else.
If you want to incorporate video into your social sharing strategy, try to plan for a series, rather than a one-off video. This is one of our favorite ways to get more bang for the buck.
Also, channel your inner Charlie Chaplin and create videos that don’t need sound to be understood. Audiences much prefer to start videos on silent, turning up the volume if and when they want to hear more.
leaftv how to eyeliner
In fact, big brands are creating their videos with this concept in mind. Buzzfeed and LeafTV both publish videos with simple music that isn’t even necessary to get their very different products across.
Top 10 Lists
Digestible content is key on social media, especially when it comes to sharing. Anything you post must be catchy and easily-consumed on the go. Lists are an ideal way to accomplish this while also adding the “share” factor that makes audiences want to repost or retweet.
In terms of topic, looks for subjects that relate to your readers. Our favorite lists are those that share an inside view. A few examples: 10 Reasons You Should Totally Date a Writer from WhatCulture or Thrillist’s 18 Things You Have to Explain to Out-of-Towners About Chicago.
If you don’t see an insider angle, think about a list of tips. They should be genuinely helpful and fall within your brand’s wheelhouse. We enjoy mindbodygreen’s 5 Steps to Relax Before Bed.
A final note: Don’t cut corners on headline. Besides content quality, nothing matters more when it comes to share factor on these lists.
Prizes
This strategy has been around since the early days of brands on social media. It’s no surprise why: It works. After all, who doesn’t want a shot at a free trip to Hawaii?
Social sharing is ideal for any type of grand prize raffle for a few reasons. First, it’s easy and quick for audience members to accomplish. Also, it’s enticing to new readers who haven’t followed you on social media yet.
As with most forms of social media, there are a few caveats to keep in mind: First, run any prize or giveaways through your legal team. The legalese at the bottom of each sweepstakes isn’t written just for fun.
Also, make entering a simple task. Feel free to ask for name, email address, and phone number, but think hard before requiring anything else.
Finally, shareability should be built into the prize. Sure, a lot of people will share a sweepstakes with their friends, but it’s not a given. Instead, offer extra entries into your sweepstakes with each share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc…
Baiting
Understandably, clickbait has given this concept a bad rap. No one enjoys the empty disappointment that comes from a spicy headline and subpar content. Luckily, social media is ideal for baiting your audience the right way.
So, what exactly do we mean by bait on social media? It means picking a hot topic that fits with your brand, and asking an informal survey question right there on your network. For example, if you’re a candy company, bait your readers with a few topics per week:
Nestlé CEO Paul Grimwood has vowed to remove artificial ingredients from its candy, including those that haven’t been proven harmful by the FDA. What do YOU think about this move?”
“‘Chocolate helps me relax.’ What are your thoughts on that statement?”
“Fruit Parfait-flavored Kit-Kat?! What do you think about this Japanese candy flavor?”
The key is to moderate and participate with your readers. If someone makes a fun or insightful point, thank them. This will encourage them to invite their like-minded friends into the conversation.
Though these tips will increase your social sharing, your work won’t be done yet. You must have an end-goal in mind, whether it’s to convert your followers into customers or gain new followers to add to the funnel.
Above all, keep your long-term goals in mind each time you post, and be grateful to the audience members who are loyal to your brand on social media. After all, sharing is caring last we heard.

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