Social media platforms have been a boon to marketers and sales teams who use content to promote or engage prospects.
Gaining significant traction on social can drastically increase your company’s web traffic, and expose you to readers who would otherwise have never found your company. And yet, with thousands of articles and various forms of content shared to social media platforms every minute, it’s also very easy to get buried in the noise if the content you share doesn't hit the mark.
The key to being noticed on social media, and gaining the attention of your target audience, is to create 'ultra-shareable' blog content. Easier said than done, right?
If you're looking to make your company’s blog posts 'ultra-sharable', or even your own, here are six key tips to help.
1. Create content with the audience in mind
If you're only posting company news, you’re going to have a hard time engaging readers.
While such content is fine occasionally, people don’t want to share a sales-sounding article all the time - instead, when you sit down to write a post, think about what you would want to see on the site if you were your target audience. More operatively, you need to provide relevant advice that your audience would find useful enough to share with their networks.
The best way to do this is to create personas of your audiences - basic demographics, job titles, challenges, how your company relates to those audiences, etc. This will help shape your content narrative.
For example, a vacation company could post a list of ten must-haves for a beach vacation, a pediatrician could post the five signs that your child suffers from seasonal allergies, a social media management software company could write about the challenges social media managers face with feed algorithm updates.
2. Surprise your readers
The web is chock-full of posts that contain the usual, expected advice and viewpoints. Where do you tend to differ in your points of view?
For instance, if you're a marketer who feels that people who use social networking for business are wasting valuable time, write about it.
Anytime you can provide a fresh point of view, or an unconventional solution to a common problem, you're providing a different perspective, and that type of insight is more likely to be shared.
Please note, however, that this doesn't mean you should create sensationalized headlines or clickbait titles - you’ll only anger your audience if they feel duped, and they may start to view your content as untrustworthy.
3. Customer-generated content
A rising content trend is to get customers involved in the content creation process.
Typically, called “user-generated content," this enables your audience to essentially become ambassadors for your brand.
This type of content adds variety to a company’s marketing strategy by letting customers add their voices to the marketing strategy, while it also increases authenticity, with the material coming direct from users.
Need some data to back this up?
User-generated content posts shared to social channels see a 28% higher engagement rate than standard brand posts.Also, according to Adweek, user-generated content results in 29% higher web conversions. This content catches the eyes of consumers looking to make their final purchasing decisions.
4. Establish trust and credibility with your content
Without establishing trust and credibility, people won’t want to share your content.
Just as you or your company may be guarded in what to share, general audiences are as well with their own social networks.
When your content includes credible sources, cited data from reputable names, etc. readers will recognize that you’re doing your homework. Why would they trust you if you start making up data or points without any backup?
Find authoritative websites in your industry, or sites that talk about things related to your business and interests. These platforms will become the go-to for your citations, and to back up any claims your content makes.
5. Create attractive content so your audience wants to share
Some of these may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many company blogs or general blogs still fail in this category.
Even if your content is amazing, if you don’t make the posts easy to read, clean, and organized, you’ll lose out on many potential social shares.
A few ways to make so your audience wants to share (besides great content):
Write short paragraphs with plenty of white space. It’s more attractive to the eye, easier to read, and doesn’t look difficult for your audience to digest either.Mix up the layout of the articles. Include bullet points, add text highlights, blockquotes, bold words, use header tags, etc. Of course, don’t do all of these things on every line or every post, that can be too much on the eyes.
Balance these carefully.Probably one of the most common tips is to add Images, videos, and even infographics to break up the content.Lastly, include easily accessible social share buttons. Which social share options you use depends on your style and industry, but a blog should always have accessible social sharing buttons to make distribution that little bit easier.
6. Ask employee advocates to create content
Similar to asking customers, getting employee advocates to create content can also fall under the user-generated umbrella.
Who are employee advocates? These are the internal people who already advocate on behalf of your brand online, have decent social followers, and are excited to be involved with your marketing effort. Your company should encourage these employee advocates to work with marketing to create some interesting content.
Note that you can’t, and should never try to, force employees to participate, but if they're already advocating they will probably be interested. You can also look to incentivize such efforts if necessary.
While marketing is essential to creating content and assets, other departments can bring different perspectives and fresh ideas to content - and not only will other employees be interested in sharing such content as a result, but your organization will also be seen as one with knowledge, and which trusts its employees.
Previous research has shown that brand messages reached 561% further when they were shared by employees vs the same messages shared via official brand social channels (MSLGroup).
Not every blog post is going to 'go viral' or instantly get thousands of social shares, and oftentimes its the content you least suspect that takes off.
But by remembering the key advice above, you can get readers more engaged, increase your social shares, and significantly improve your blog's traffic and brand visibility online.