The Internet is full of people sharing interesting things all day. From liking pictures on Facebook to retweeting cool articles, sharing is something everyone enjoys doing in one way or another. Yet receiving likes and retweets can seem impossible. Why is this?
Here’s the secret to receiving social shares: you need to create content that people like. When people can empathize with, or are impressed by, something you post, a part of their brain is triggered that makes them want to share with their friends. Here are seven guidelines you can follow to achieve this effect.
1. Value Exchange
Before you post anything you need to take a step back and really consider what interests your followers. Instead of taking for granted that your fans will enjoy hearing about your brand in each of your posts, try to discover the things that spark their passions and provide value to them in those ares. This is why General Electric, for example, links to sources across the web that explain technology in addition to telling their brand story.
2. Disruptive Ideas
If you post something that challenges people’s understanding of the way the world works, they will stop to notice your idea. Take, for example, women’s rights activist Moira Johnston, who is tearing down male-female double standards one public topless appearance at a time. When people see Johnston walking in New York or Philadelphia they learn that just as men can legally appear shirtless in public, women can, too. Minds blown, bystanders shoot pictures and videos and quickly share with friends.
3. Great Story
A story worth sharing does more than tell the rational aspects of the latest gadget; a story becomes worth sharing when it inspires emotions. This is why the Humans of New York blog receives thousands of shares every day. More than posting great photographs, Humans of New York includes text that pulls on our heart strings and makes us say, “I just have to share this.”
4. Fresh Interest
People want to share content that is new and interesting. How can you tell if something is new or interesting? Here’s a simple test: share your content with a friend. If his immediate response is, “So what?,” your content didn’t pass the test.
5. Social Proof
Never underestimate the power of the crowd; people are more inclined to do something they’ve seen others do before them. This is why Mashable’s site is organized by the social momentum articles have gained and how many shares articles receive.
6. Creative Participation
When people creatively participate in creating your content they are much more likely to share. This is why social media campaigns like USA Today’s #chewievine are so popular.
7. Simple Advocacy
“Ask and you shall receive.” This may be one of the most common yet unheeded pieces of advices to content marketers: asking fans for a share makes them much more likely to do so. It’s a proven fact. So stop being a scaredy cat, make your content easily shareable, and then (tastefully) ask your fans for a retweet. It’s that simple.
Follow these guidelines and you’ll be on your way not only to creating better content, but creating content that people want to share. Just remember the little people when you grow jaded from Internet fame.