You take a long time creating your content, and you want people to see it – particularly your target audience. One of the best ways to spread your content online is to get social media shares, but how do you get people to share your content on social media so larger audiences find it?
First, you have to be realistic with your expectations. According to Steve Rayson, Director at BuzzSumo, most online content isn’t shared as much as you might think. His team analyzed content from the top 100 business-to-business websites and discovered that only 4% of 114,000 blog posts (that’s only 4,500 posts) were shared more than 3,000 times. Here are a few more statistics from that research which might surprise you:
- Posts published on the top five marketing and technology sites (including Moz, Social Media Examiner, TechCrunch, and other big sites) received a median of 803 shares.
- Posts published on the 95 most popular marketing and technology sites (such as Hubspot, Buffer, Search Engine Land, and more) received a median of 106 shares.
- Posts published on Hubspot’s B2B customer sites (127,000 articles were analyzed) received a median of just 22 shares.
- One million random articles included in the evaluation received a median of only 8 shares.
In other words, don’t start publishing blog posts and expect to receive hundreds or thousands of shares. In fact, based on this research, getting dozens of shares is unlikely until you build a sizable audience of engaged followers.
With that said, you can take some simple steps to increase the number of social media shares your content receives. Here are five tips to get you started:
1. Use the Right Sharing Tool
Before you do anything else, you need to make sure the tool you’re using on your website and blog to enable easy social media sharing of your content is accurately tracking shares. This is the tool that enables a visitor to click on a social media icon and instantly share your content to their corresponding social media profile. See the top of this article where the social media sharing icons are as an example. If the tool you’re using is not tracking social media shares accurately, you won’t truly know what’s happening with your content!
Keep in mind, no social media sharing tool will tally every share that your content gets. However, some are better at tracking shares than others. If you have a budget, I recommend Social Warfare. I started using it on my sites recently, and I’m very happy with the results.
If you’re looking for a free tool and you use WordPress, AddThis is a good choice. There are other free WordPress plugins available, but some of them add a lot of extra code to your site while others can slow your site down. It’s a good idea to test free plugins to see what works best for your site.
2. Use Tweetable Pull Quotes
You should always make your content as shareable as possible. That means not only should you have social media sharing buttons on every blog post, but you should also offer sharing ideas like tweetable pull quotes. Here’s an example:
[clickToTweet tweet=”The majority of blog posts only receive a median of 8 social media shares.” quote=”The majority of blog posts only receive a median of 8 social media shares.”]
I created that tweetable pull quote using the Social Warfare plugin I recommended in #1, but there are other tools that work as well. For example, I’ve used the Click to Tweet WordPress plugin to create tweetable pull quotes without any problems, and the best part is it’s free.
3. Share Your Content Multiple Times
The life of a social media post is very short. According to a study conducted by Moz, the half-life of a tweet (the time within which it receives half of all of its retweets) is just 18 minutes. A study by Wiselytics gave tweets a slightly longer half-life of 24 minutes while Facebook post half-lives are longer at 90 minutes.
Similar half-lives are the norm for other social media platforms as well. That means the post you send today is unlikely to be seen tomorrow. In fact, it’s unlikely to be seen an hour or two from now!
With that in mind, it’s important that you share your own content more than once, but that doesn’t mean spamming people by repeatedly publishing links to your posts! To make the process of reviving your old content easy, use a tool like Buffer or Agorapulse to re-queue your old content. That way, it will automatically be shared to your chosen social networks at the frequency you choose.
4. Share with People Mentioned in Your Content
If you write a piece of content that mentions other people or links to their content, send them an email to let them know about it. They just might read your content and share it with their own social media audiences!
Just make sure to contact people only when your mention of them within your content is substantive. In other words, a fleeting link doesn’t warrant outreach. Consider the value of the mention before you hype it to the person mentioned.
5. Write a Round-up Post Featuring Influencers
I get contacted frequently by bloggers who are writing posts about marketing, branding, content, social media, and more. They’re writing posts about a specific marketing-related subject and looking for experts to provide their insights. They reach out to a number of experts with the hope that some will respond, so they can publish a round-up blog post filled with all of the useful insights provided. They also link to every person’s website and social media profiles within the post, and they email everyone who participated to let them know when the post is published.
Once the post is live, it’s highly likely that some or all of the experts who provided their insights will share it on their social media profiles and pages. That means the author gets a lot of great quality links to their website as well as new traffic!
You can do this on your blog, too. All you have to do is identify online influencers in your niche who have the eyes and ears of your target audience. Next, come up with an idea for a round-up post where sharing their insights would be useful. With your idea in mind, reach out to ask for their participation and insights.
Once you’ve collected the experts’ submissions, write and publish the post, and then, let the influencers know when it has been published. You can also tag all of the participants in your social media updates about the blog post. Yes, this can be a time-consuming process, but it can also work really well!
To find influencers in your niche, you can conduct blog and Twitter searches, or you can invest in some tools to make things faster and easier. NinjaOutreach and BuzzSumo are both excellent for identifying people who write about and share content about topics similar to yours and who your ideal audience might already follow. These are perfect people to invite to participate in your round-up post. If you have a bigger budget, PitchBox offers some great features you might want to check out.
Your Next Steps to Boost Social Media Shares
Of course, these tricks to get more social media shares aren’t the only things you should be doing to extend the reach of your content. You should also be sending an email newsletter on a weekly basis at a minimum, and you should be spreading your content as far and wide across the internet as you can.
Remember, the power of content marketing and social media marketing comes from the domino effect that your content and conversations have over time. Sharing is just one of the social signals that you should watch as an indicator of the success of your efforts.
As always, if you need help with your social media or content, I’m here to help. Just contact me to get started!