For anyone who uses social media to get their business noticed and loved, sharing is the Holy Grail. The more people you get to share your content, the more likely you are to spread the word about your brand.

But sharing isn’t that simple. Many brands can spend years trying to master this aspect of social media management, all to no avail. Take a look at this guide and see if there is something you’re able to implement quickly and effectively.

All of the ideas here should help you get your brand to the place where you post shareable content regularly.

The Beginner’s Guide To Making Your Content Incredibly Shareable

The two golden rules of shareable

If we’re going to do this right, we’re going to have to set out a couple of ground rules first. The most important one is that people are more likely to share your stuff if it’s from the happier part of the cloud. Don’t get us wrong here. Now and then you can be as serious as you need to be. Silver lining content and other stuff that is positive and aimed at making people feel better is more likely to receive shares.

Don’t waste time giving your audience content that is simply dull and negative. It will get you nowhere. Post stuff that you know will either raise a smile or generally bring a lighter step to your audience and their day. Keep it pacey, fun and smart, in other words.

This is as important as it gets. If you don’t believe us, try a little test. Post a set of content that is generally ‘down’ in nature. Then check your metrics. Compare it to stuff that is happier, and carries more of a buzz. You’ll find, soon enough, that positive stuff will get shared and negative stuff will be largely ignored.

Another big thing is to make the content that you produce incredibly useful. This is vitally important. If you churn out a bunch of pieces and updates that don’t offer any value, no one will be sticking around to see what you do next. There is no need to, literally. But if you’re firing out content that occasionally brings an insight and a level of real utility, you’re making a difference. A killer guide to an aspect of your industry can really create excitement and make people want to share more readily.

So now that we have outlined the two golden rules of sharing, let’s take a look at the practicalities of getting people to share what you create. We’ll keep it as simple as possible so that each tip is actionable.

keep it fun

Any last tips before we start?

Just the one. You can get ahead in the game from the outset by a simple little tweak that places you in the best position.

Ensure that any content you create has social media sharing buttons around it. This could be as simple as adding share buttons to your blog design. It is very easy to forget this. To get the shareable content out there, you have to make it as easy as possible to share stuff in the first place.

You should also ensure that you include the number of shares that a piece gets. Why is this important? This makes it a lot more ‘real’ for people. They appreciate that your content is getting shared, so you know what, they better share it too. If someone visits your blog and sees that there have been many shares of the content, he or she will likely share as well. It’s as simple as that. So set yourself up for success and make it as easy as possible to share stuff.

Social networks make sharing as easy as clicking a very obvious button. You should too, on all your content. In fact, while we’re at it…

Making your website a searchable heaven

Your website should be the place that gets all the action when it comes to sharing content. Having those buttons all over the place is just a start. We recommend going through the following ideas and ensuring that you implement them.

Create quality content

This is the big tip. Don’t waste time spending every day creating content that is just okay, or even just good. Instead, focus on ensuring that your content is of the very best quality it can possibly be. Make sure it informs and engages readers. The more value you offer…you get the picture.

There are no shortcuts here. This content is meant to be sharable, and at the heart of all shareable content is the quality of the piece itself. Scrimp on the good stuff here and you may as well be doing nothing.

Keep the content varied

Work on ensuring that the content you create is varied as much as possible. Anyone who has ever seen a blog, for example, that is full of text, will know just how deathly dull it all is. Use video, images and infographics to bring in more traffic and engagement.

And having that variety means that people will naturally want to share because it’s all just so much fun.

Headlines, headlines

It is vital that the headlines of your blog posts are incredibly attractive, short and memorable. Chances are that you are not the only one covering the same topic in your industry. Making the headlines short and catchy will give you more of a chance of being shared.

In addition to that, steal an edge on your competition by making your headlines short enough to be easily tweeted. Twitter is a great place for sharing content, so if you can create headlines that are ‘pick up and run’ for Twitter, you will have a sharing hit on your hands.

Respond

As soon as you start getting comments on your posts, then answer as quickly and as fully as is reasonable. This encourages people to share content because it means a conversation is taking place. So build in a routine where you are constantly looking to respond to comments. This will also make you a much more productive brand when it comes to engagement on your site.

Conversations get shares, pure and simple.

Got that? Now let’s look at the nine tips you need to get on board with to make your sharing a reality.

Engagement is incredibly important for any brand. It helps that brand to connect with its audience and to also establish a voice. The conversation needs you in it, basically, and on Facebook this is even more urgent.

1) Know your audience

This is possibly the oldest marketing tip in the book, let alone the oldest tip when it comes to shareable content. Knowing your audience means you get the opportunity to create content that resonates with them. Anything that resonates tends to get shared.

There is a quick and easy way to get to know your audience very well and that is to read the comments and the feedback that they give you. As your presence grows, check out the blog comments you receive. Or take a good look at the comments and replies you get on social media. A message on Twitter, for example, may give you an idea of what your audience likes to read about. A comment on the blog that you run can give you a very clear perspective on what excites the people you are marketing to.

Take a deep interest in what people are saying when they are responding to your content. You will build up a bank of usable material that will quickly turn into a resource for creating shareable content.

Case in point: Nando’s

Love them or hate them, Nando’s has a great way of pulling together a very responsive Facebook page. The company is always responding to what their customers say, and this is a key feature of how they handle social overall. This post here is just one example of how they are involved in the conversation their customers want to have. It also shows how quickly they respond to stuff. Each conversation in social media can lead to more content ideas, and eventually to a mastery of all things shareable. It’s worth thinking about, and all it takes is reading and getting involved in comments.

2) Get up to speed with modern life

No, we’re not about to give you lifestyle advice. You can go elsewhere for that. Instead, we’re just suggesting that you start thinking about current affairs a little more. People do not exist inside a bubble, and they will relish the opportunity to get your take on the news. The happier the news the better. The more you are able to show your audience that you have your finger on the pulse, the more likely they will share the content you create.

You want to have a social media feed that shows it is switched on, that it has some idea of what is going on in the world. This is, again, an example of a conversation your audience is interested in. They switch on the news and they hear about the events of the day. They go to your social stream and they see that you too are talking about this stuff. And you’ve also created some shareable content about it too.

Do it enough times and it will soon seem as natural as drawing breath. And it also helps that sharing current affairs-related content gives you a steady and inexhaustible stream of ideas too.

If you want to make this whole thing even more fun, jump on the cultural bandwagon. Find content angles that you can relate to when it comes to movies, music and fashion. Some of the most electric content ever has been tied into the exploits of the Kardashian family, for example. You can almost certainly guarantee that brands are gaining huge shares simply by tying their content into the Star Wars phenomenon.

3) Give away free stuff

We know it kind of goes against the business brain. Giving away free stuff for sharing really does work, and it is a bit of a classic method too. Think about what you can offer for free and then ask people to share your content for the chance to receive the free stuff.

This free stuff could be a discounted future purchase for example, or it could be even the chance to win a discount.

Some brands find a book that they know their audience will want to read and they get a bunch of copies of this book. Then, they simply state that the first 100 people who retweet their content will receive a copy of the book. It all makes perfect sense in the long run because sharing really does help to boost your presence. And if you can grab those 100 shares by giving away a book, it would be silly not to go for it.

free stuff

4) The power of questions

Questions make people think. Asking people to ask you questions allows the thinking to become even more involved. Get your audience to ask a question on anything that you have some kind of expertise and can guarantee them an answer. This leads to engagement and more shares because people will want to let others know about these questions and the answers they bring.

The more you do this, the more people will start to come to you for answers, naturally. But if you get it right, you’ll soon be asking people to give you questions on a daily basis.

The whole idea behind the internet revolves around answers. This is why they have search.

question

Make sure that you position your brand as a provider of answers. This is a surefire way of creating a situation where people just naturally share the content you deliver. Try it. Check your metrics after a few weeks to see if it has affected your engagement. We bet it will.

5) The power of imagery

It has long been known that using images and photos in your social posts will help to create engagement. If you aren’t using video on Facebook and Twitter, you’re losing out in the race for engagement. What some brands don’t realise is that imagery can also boost sharing of content quite significantly.

One of the most effective ways of boosting sharing is the collection of ‘how to’ content through imagery. This is where you outline a process that you need your audience to understand and then use images to illustrate the process every step of the way. This is as old as the hills (remember your textbooks from school?) but it is incredibly effective because people like to have attractive imagery that shows them how to do something.

It works really well, and it isn’t particularly hard to do either. Many modern cameras are as good as professional level in quality. With a bit of hard work and focus (sorry), you should be able to produce imagery that really helps explain a process to your audience.

One of the very best ways of using imagery to gain some shareability though is to bring out the local aspect of what you do. If you are a strong local brand, then it is always worthwhile using that in your photos. Get out and about in the local community, and use the visuals in the area to develop photos that truly make your brand a local concern.

This means looking for ways to create photos that use local landmarks. You could also take photos of local personalities ensuring your brand is front and centre all the time. It makes sense to capitalise on your local presence, and a photo or two is a simple and quick way of doing this.

This can also help if you are a brand with many offices. Spend a week creating photos of your office in a town. Invite local people to get involved. Create shareable content that engages a localised audience. This kind of small and focused approach really does have an impact on people, and it will be shared.

Use photos to show the human side of the office too. This has been done to death by some brands. The simple fact that you have images that show your office and its workers in a fun and engaging way will be more than enough to guarantee some shares.

It’s quite easy to do, and if you plan a little in advance it can also be great fun too. Think about any events that are coming up and how your office plans to celebrate or acknowledge them. Then, grab a camera and hand it around so that people can take candid shots of themselves throughout the day. This should allow you to create content that is engaging, visual and great fun too.

Get to the front of the pack with shareable visual content. Make sure that you are adding new photos as much as you possibly can. Take some of the best social players in the world and you will find that they are constantly adding photos to their streams. It’s a habit that they indulge in on a daily and sometimes hourly basis. Of course, you may not have the kind of team that can provide photos and upload them on the hour, but you can certainly work towards a daily update. Basically, the more you post photos, the better you will look in the long run. These do not have to be of your team relaxing around the office all the time (that stuff could get kind of old after a few days).

A key player here is Gucci. Gucci often posts photos (for obvious reasons considering its products and their visual appeal) but does it with style and grace.

6) Use your data

That’s right, drill down a little. Not enough brands are doing this right. Use the data you have to identify the direction you need to be going in to create the best sharable content around.

The idea here is to take a look at your metrics. Find out which of the posts you have published have developed the best engagement. Then work out how you can replicate some of that magic.

Burberry has discovered that celebrities, and extremely attractive imagery and video are the way they need to go. It works beautifully, and it brings a ton of engagement as well as (you can see it this in this post) plenty of sharing.

What’s difficult about this? Nothing. It just means trawling through your data to see which pieces of content get the most shares and other engagement. Looking at engagement makes sense, because you gain an instant idea of what could work for you when you are trying to create shareable content.

Then, to up your game even more, look at the content that other people create in your industry. You can quite easily get a look at what is working for them, and then you can replicate their approach. Obviously, you can’t steal their content, but you can take their approach and replicate it so that you have the same kind of results. You will often find that some type of Facebook posts work really well for your industry. This kind of information can come to you quickly and easily by using Locowise.

Once you know what is working on their platforms, use it yourself.

7) Just write well

If you have just a few characters to make an impression on your audience, it makes sense to make them memorable. Use the opportunity to create great, short and snappy ‘headlines’ that leap out of the page and grab the reader’s attention. The shorter the better. It always pays to make sure that you create content that is instantly fun and memorable.

We picked this example from Mercedes-Benz. It not only uses two worlds effectively to create interest and almost guarantee sharing, it also has a tap into the zeitgeist feel. It works on more than one level.

They’re including references to the Mario game. This kind of linking to recognisable cultural touchstones makes the content instantly shareable. It’s a masterpiece of shareable marketing.

A slight caveat here. Bear in mind that Mercedes-Benz has a strong audience base, to say the least. The company also knows exactly what the audience wants and responds to. They most likely have a huge team looking at metrics. Because of this the brand will know how to phrase this short and snappy content.

By knowing your audience you will be able to do the same thing. Before you go hell for leather in creating content that is meant to draw your audience in, spend some time looking at the audience itself. What do they like? What are they interested in? Again, good use of metrics will help in this area.

8) Get the timing right

Here is a crucial aspect of what works when it comes to creating shareable content. Timing really is everything. What you need to do is make sure that you get a handle on when your audience is online and likely to engage. Locowise can help you with that.

There are literally hundreds of articles out there that tell you when the best times are to post content. There is nothing that beats the individual, personal aspect of what you do though. Using analytics carefully allows you to find exactly when people do engage with you. This will feed directly into when you post content in the future. Nothing is as effective as knowing your own audience and the times they are online. So use the tools to know when the real ‘right time’ to post is.

Also, be prepared for a little testing to take place too. It’s important to be sure that you have covered all the bases as regards times to post. Even if you do know when most of your followers are online, it pays to make sure that you test out different times within these parameters to see which work best.

best time to post

9) Don’t say we didn’t tell you…

We think we did, somewhere earlier in this piece. But anyway, it bears repeating.

As long as you provide value in your content, people will want to share it. It’s that simple. Give the people what they want and they will surely share it with others who they know and respect. And then that lovely virtuous circle of high-quality sharing continues.

This way, you have a chain of events that just builds and builds. It’s well worth trying to establish a bit of a principled approach that allows you to ensure that your audience is always helped by what you produce. Make it your mantra and always aim to deliver useful content that really deserves to be shared. You really can’t go wrong with that approach.

The Influencer Approach

This the next level. You create great content then you are kind of done, right? Not really. The next step is to create a kind of flow of influence. It takes some work, but once you have a handle on it, it will be the juice that keeps your content shared.

There are many ways to get influencers to share your content, but one of the best places to start is to focus on looking at the kind of places they go. It’s quite easy to find out where they frequent online. They will talk about the people they respect in their own blog posts and on their social media platforms. This is simply a matter of checking out the posts that these people create and going to visit the bloggers and the social media stars they talk about. Every single influencer out there will like someone else, and that respect means you need to get involved too. Once you know who they are interested in, you are on the way to gaining their attention.

Once you know where they go to find good content, you need be there. While it will take a lot of time and effort (depending on the size of your team) to get your content posted everywhere, once you start doing so your influencers will see you and you will start to gain traction.

Once you get to know your influencers and what they like, then you can generally start producing posts that appeal to them. This is where you can boost your return by actually contacting the influencers directly. Many people may find this approach a little difficult to feel comfortable with at first (no one likes asking for a freebie). It’s well worth going for it. A simple email that says hello to the influencer and points out your latest post (which will be perfectly aligned to the influencer’s interests and likes) will often result in a share by an important person.

The best thing about sending an email is that it takes just a few minutes to prepare. Write a nice and polite email that introduces yourself and the value the influencer will receive in reading your content. It all depends on some great long-form content being in place first, so your blog has to be full of great stuff before you hit the email route. Pair that up with social media content that meets the criteria above and you should be onto a winner.

Also try collaborating a little. Some of the best examples of shared content have arisen due to a collaboration taking place. This can work in very interesting ways. It can also ensure that you essentially create evergreen long-form content that can be shared again and again.

For example, by asking for quotes from experts in the industry, you can collate many of these queries and then put them together in a list post. Sure, this kind of thing takes some time to put together, but it can pay off massively. Once you have a post on your blog that has quotes from a bunch of experts, you are instantly seen as an expert yourself. And by creating that post, everyone involved in the quoting process will want to share it on social. And that’s where magic happens.

Engage with them too. This is a long game essentially, but it will again make you someone who gains massive influence over time. By following them on Twitter, and tweeting and engaging with the important people as much as possible, you will become known to them over time. When you finally approach them to work with you, you will not be a complete stranger to them.

Finally, just make sure that you share their content as much as you possibly can. This is vital, because it allows you to really be in their vision as much as possible. This will pay off because you will essentially end up in that rare circle of influence. Get as visible as possible and pretty soon you will show up in their streams and that is, in itself, as effective as you could ever want it to be.

Making it happen

Obviously, this is something that you have to kind of take the long view on. At the same time, it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) take forever. With the right approach you should soon be able to get yourself in a position where sharing actually happens on a regular basis.

We suggest the following action plan:

● Audit your current sharing and engagement. Use your data to work out what is going well for you on social media. What is being shared? Is there a conversation you need to start? What kind of content does your audience instantly latch onto above anything else? Take a look at the data you have and start to get a feel for what is working right now. And do more of that. For starters.

● Then, focus on creating great content along the lines of what works (which you discovered from the metrics) using imagery. Make sure you are posting at the times that are right for you. Always, always, test as much as you can.

● Now you are in a routine where you are creating posts that are of a high quality on a regular basis. You are consistently using metrics to gain a foothold on what works. You should also start to build up the understanding of who your influencers are.

With a solid approach to posting, and a focus on getting to know and reaching out your influencers, you will start seeing real results in shareability.