If our current social media habits were any indication of our childhood ways, then we never would have had a problem sharing our toys, Fruit Roll-Ups or juice boxes with siblings or friends.
We simply love to share online.
Whether it’s information about ourselves on Facebook, interesting facts on Twitter, or the latest industry news on Digg, there’s no shortage of content being passed around.
Social Networks vs. Google
Take the following information Gigya pulled about referral traffic from some top brands: 7 of the 8 mentioned get more traffic from social networks than Google.
If this is a forecast of the next trend, it tells us two things. Businesses have yet another reason to learn how to properly use these social media channels — I’m sure the Kenneth Cole debacle is still fresh on our minds if you need a quick social media etiquette refresher.
But also, businesses need to learn how best to position their content so it stands out from the masses and has the best potential to get passed around.
Here are 5 entry level steps to help any business get their content shared more.
1. Write Good Stuff
It’s the simplest things that always work the best. But while the concept of producing enticing content is clearly the easiest to understand, it’s usually the hardest to implement.
People don’t want to share just anything they find online; they have to be compelled to think others will benefit from this information, too. Make sure your content offers something to the reader, whether it’s new tools, expertise, or insight.
2. Know Your Audience
Even the best content about KitchenAid mixers won’t have any influence in a sea of electrical engineers. Before you even sit down to write, think about whom you’re writing for.
If you’ve done market research into your business’ target demographic, this and your other analytics will help you nail this down. You probably already have a following on Facebook and Twitter, so poll them to see what they’re most interested in reading about.
3. Encourage Engagement
Quality vs. quantity has been a raging debate in social media: What good are 15,000 followers or fans if they don’t care about what you have to say? Actively engage your readers with your content by asking questions to generate comments, Likes, or replies.
A person who comments on a piece is more likely to share it with their friends, as well. But don’t just broadcast that you want their opinion: Take time to read what they wrote and reply back. If that doesn’t work, offer incentives or perks to people who engage with you on your social channels.
4. Use Your Sources
The most used word in the English language is “I” and that’s the same principle in the social-sphere. People like talking about themselves, so why not include the people who most want to find your content in your content? Storify helps make that possible by letting you search tweets, photos, videos, and more all related to certain topic. When people see that they were specifically mentioned in something you wrote on your business blog, they are more inclined to pass it along.
5. Give ‘em The Tools To Share
If you want people to spread your gospel, you need to make it easy for them. By including the standard Facebook, Twitter, and social bookmarking functions throughout your site, you eliminate the heavy lifting when it comes to spreading the content. And contrary to popular belief, just because you built it, doesn’t mean they’ll come. Don’t expect your readers to do all the work. Use your Twitter, Facebook, Digg, and StumbleUpon to start circulating the message, a message that’s tailored to each medium you’re sending it out on.
If done properly, optimizing your social media channels will fit snugly into your company’s overall SEO strategy. The easier your content is to share, the more likely it will get picked up by other people and other sites, and the more incoming links you have pointing to site. And if you peppered in a few keyword links here and there, the better it fits into your goals for ranking well in Google under that term.
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