We bloggers love to see our content shared on social media, but we’ve all experienced the disappointment of watching our awesome work lingering in obscurity. The bad news is, the competition for readers’ attention has never been fiercer. The good news is, there are some things you can do to tip the scales in your favor.
If you hope to get shares on any platform, you can really benefit from spending some time thinking about why people use that platform.
Now, there are those who will tell you that you have to be an active user on every platform if you want to get shares there. I haven’t found that this is always the case.
In my opinion, if you’re creating the kind of content that the network’s audience enjoys AND you are able to get it shared by an influencer on that platform, you can come in as a very new user and still see huge rewards.
Social Media Psychology
Before we talk about getting influencers to share your content, let’s first discuss some of the reasons people share content on some of the most popular social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest LinkedIn and Google Plus.
According to a recent study performed by Latitude Research and the New York Times, the following five factors are the strongest motivators for social sharing:
- We share to bring valuable and entertaining content to others
- We share to define ourselves to others, and to receive social validation
- We share to strengthen and nourish our relationships with one another
- We share for self-fulfillment—“We enjoy getting credit for it”
- We share to advocate for causes we believe in, and less commonly, brands we want to support
Our first goal as bloggers striving for shares is to meet one or more of those needs for our readers. This will greatly increase our success in getting shared. I wanted to create an image to represent the information we’re about to discuss, but don’t forget to read the rest of this because we’ll go into much more depth here in the post.
People use Facebook for a lot of reasons, but studies show that the most common motivator is to keep up with family and friends.
Take a minute to think about what this means. Sure, most likely your post isn’t going to be about any one person’s family or friends, but that’s okay. Think in terms of “would someone share this with their family and friends?”
How can you know the answer? Well, a good place to start is to honestly ask yourself if You would share it. If the answer is no, you can’t expect a huge result.
Why do people share on Facebook specifically?
So, assuming that most people are sharing content on Facebook with their family and friends, in many cases your only chance at getting shared will be to create content that users want their friends and family to associate with them.
Our social media activities continue to shape our public identifies more and more all the time, so you’ll find as a common theme in much of what you see shared that it makes a subtle (or sometimes not-so-subtle) statement about the sharer’s identity. From the content they share, we can assume that on some level they are hoping we perceive they are smart, health conscious, well-informed, trendy or perhaps most commonly, funny.
We rarely feel compelled to share anything on Facebook that we don’t find remarkable because 1) there’s so much content to choose from and 2) we want others to perceive that we have good taste in content.
We have our work cut out for us on Facebook, that’s for sure… but (and we’ll get to this) if you can get the social proof of being shared by someone influential, you’ll be well on your way to success.
People share on Twitter for similar reasons to the ones that motivate them on Facebook, with some slight differences.
First, Twitter users seek out and share more content by celebrities and public figures than users of other networks. You can take advantage of this by curating and sharing tweets by influential people in addition to your own content. This can establish your good taste and help you build a following, as you’ll become known for having good taste.
People share things on Pinterest for somewhat different reasons than they share share content on other networks, as it serves as more of a visual bookmarking platform.
What does this mean for you?
Users are less motivated by social validation on Pinterest and more motivated by their own interests and tastes. If you produce helpful, exciting, informative or beautiful content, you’ll be in great shape here– especially if you get shared by someone influential.
A Warning About Pinterest
Like I mentioned previously, people are strongly motivated by the visual impact of content they see on Pinterest, which means that your images are hugely important here. Even if your information is solid, you might not get repins if it’s not photographed beautifully.
Make sure you either can take great photos or find quality stock photos to share on Pinterest. Also, it helps to spend some time playing with fonts, colors and laying out text so you can improve there as well.
A great way to get started toward improving your skills for Pinterest is to find a small group of pins in your niche that you find appealing and observe what they’ve done successfully. It isn’t copying to “steal their secrets”. You’re just learning from the best!
If you’re a business blogger, LinkedIn is a great place to be. For the most part, people use LinkedIn to network with others and advance their careers, so if your content could help them do that, you’ll be in much better shape there (although people don’t share as often there, it does happen).
How LinkedIn Can Help You
In the end, getting shares on LinkedIn might not be the most important way to make this network valuable to you.
In my experience, it’s been much more beneficial to spend time on LinkedIn making professional connections than it was when I was just pushing content there.
One thing you can do on LinkedIn, though, is share your content as part of a larger conversation either in a group or between you and another individual. If you can show through professional dialogue that you are someone worth respecting, you might open doors you didn’t even know existed.
Google Plus can be tricky since many bloggers aren’t as used to it as they are to other platforms. If you’re one such blogger, this does not mean you should ignore it! Tons of sharing, networking and conversation goes on within Google Plus and those who know what they’re doing there are seeing huge returns.
When I think of a Google Plus superstar, the first person that comes to mind is Ana Hoffman. She not only has thousands of followers, but she consistently gets engagement on her posts that would put your average Facebook post to shame.
How to Succeed on Google Plus
People often share content on this platform that will make them look good professionally, and use platforms like Facebook and Instagram for more personal content. One reason for this might be how easy it is to tag others in your posts, as we all know that this can be a great way to call attention to them when you’re sharing their work– an essential networking practice.
Admittedly, I’ve only just begun to learn the ropes on Google Plus. Let’s keep learning together!
Getting the Help of Influencers
Once you’ve created shareable content, you might still have trouble getting it shared if you have a small or less-engaged following. That’s why networking with influencers is so important.
How to Get Influencers’ Attention
We talked about this subject at length in this post, but in essence it’s all about the golden rule. Comment and share others’ content as you want them to comment and share when it comes to yours.
Asking for Shares
Even your blogging BFFs might forget to share your content if you neglect to ask them. It’s not necessarily because your content isn’t good enough, it’s just that we get really preoccupied with the zillions of things most of us have going on all the time and we might miss your fabulous new blog post. Sorry!
The solution to this problem is simple. It doesn’t hurt to ask– wait, maybe it does sometimes. Maybe I should say that it doesn’t hurt to ask tactfully. Again, if you’re unsure as to how to develop the kind of a relationship that might increase your chances of getting the shares you want to ask for, read this. But the point is, if you really feel like you’ve created something worth sharing, make sure you find a tactful way to get it in front of people with an audience that might appreciate it.
When I’m asking for shares, I usually say something along the lines of,
“Hi *your name here*! I just finished this post about *subject* and your name came to mind as someone whose followers might enjoy it. I’d be honored if you’d share it but either way, thanks so much for your time! Have a great day!”
Okay, I know, I use a lot of exclamation points… but you get the idea.
If you want something to get shares, the formula is simple. Create something that will make your readers look good if they share it, then make sure it gets shared by people with an engaged audience. If those things align, you’ll be off to a fantastic start.
Over to You
What kind of content have you been most successful with? What’s your secret to getting shares? Did I miss anything? I love learning with you. Leave me a comment now!