Shared media is a vital part of the PESO model, which also includes paid, earned, and owned media.
Sometimes, however, the lines get blurred between shared media and its earned and owned media counterparts. This results in an unclear definition of exactly what shared content is, and how to use it effectively. Let’s untangle the threads a little, and lay out a definitive answer.
What is Shared Media?
This kind of media is content that is created with the specific goal of circulating it among your social media audience. When used effectively, this media can help you to reach your audience’s audience — and convert them into fans and followers.
While every piece of content you create is “owned”, not all of it falls into this shared category. Simply creating and sharing run-of-the-mill content is not enough to truly benefit from social media. Shared content demands strategy.
Every aspect of social media — from the content you share to your social media profiles — should support your PR strategy and goals. Whether these goals are to increase website traffic or to promote thought leadership, the way you use social media can help you reach them.
Let’s see how you can create sharable content and use social media to reach your goals.
9 Ways to Use Social Media to Reach Your Goals
1. Choose the Right Topics
Your choice of topic goes a long way in engaging your audience, and getting it shared. How do you know what topics your audience will share? To find that out, you will need to do some recon work.
Use a tool like Buzzsumo to see what content people in your target audience share the most. Just enter the keywords you want to shoot for, and list of content will pop up, along with how many shares it received on each social network. From there, you can devise your own unique angle and what keywords you’d like to use.
2. Craft an Attention-Grabbing Headline
Your headline is the critical moment that will tip the scales — when people read a headline, they make a snap decision to read or to move on to a more interesting article. And remember, when people share your content on social media, your headline is going to be the teaser. That is the moment when you need to catch their attention. How?
This process begins with the right format. The two headline formats that garner the most success are usually…
- How-tos — How to Craft the Best Financial Plan for Your Business
- Numbered lists —10 Must-Have Product That Will Make Your Business Run Smoother
The right words are also part of a headline’s recipe for success. Choose words that conjure up emotions, such as urgency or curiosity.
Use a free tool like Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer to craft attention-grabbing headlines that will get the best results on social media. This tool will score your headline, and show you ways to improve it.
3. Create Eye-Catching Images
The second item after your headline to be seen on social media is your image. The right visuals have the power to motivate your audience to click on and share your content.
Your content’s feature image should grab attention and create emotion — whether humorous, revelatory, sad, or amazing. It should also be descriptive and match the post’s topic.
Pay attention to the size of your image — each social network has specific dimension requirements for images. If your image is not sized appropriately, it may be cut off in an unflattering way.
Canva is a wonderful tool that we recommend for visual content creation. This free tool has all the social media sizes you will need, an endless number of stock images, and a variety of fonts and elements to make any image stand out.
4. Add Social Sharing Buttons
Social sharing buttons are an integral part of your content. These make it a piece of cake for readers on your website to share your content with their social media audience.
Here are a few placement tips to think about when laying out your social shairng buttons:
- Use a bar on the left or right side of your post
- Include share button icons on the bottom of your post
- Include share buttons on images
- Make sure your buttons don’t get in the way on mobile devices
Include buttons that show how many times your piece of content has been shared on each social network. This offers valuable social proof to your readers — if 500 people have shared this, I should too!
5. Study Your Audience
Since your audience is your gateway to reaching more people, you need to know your followers’ and influencers’ social media habits.
What are the key times they interact on their social networks? Do they hop on social media during their morning commute? Do they check it during lunch, or as they unwind after a long work day?
According to one study from Coschedule, on average the best time to post on social media is between 1pm and 4pm. This can vary depending on your specific audience and the social networks you use — so do your own research!
Another question to consider is what pieces of content does your target audience share? For instance, do prospects share more infographics, blog posts, or videos? Every audience is different. Key in on what your audience is hungry for, and create the kinds of content that satisfy your different targets.
6. Choose the Right Social Network for Your Needs
Every social network has a unique effect on its audience. Use this to your advantage. When using a particular social network, pay attention to the needs of your audience and create content that is useful for that particular audience.
Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are the three most popular social networks for B2B companies. Each of these serves a specific purpose. Let’s look at how you can use each of these networks in your media strategy.
Audiences on Twitter are most interested in helpful content about their business and industry. Everything you post on Twitter — from the content you create to the posts you retweet — should serve to help your target audience.
LinkedIn is primarily used to network and share innovative content. Craft and post content here that promotes thought leadership and helps move businesses forward. You may even choose to create and showcase unique content on LinkedIn’s publishing platform.
Facebook is a helpful tool in engaging and connecting with your audience. Most audiences on Facebook want content that strikes an emotional chord. This network should be used to share company milestones and your involvement in local events.
7. Beef Up Your Social Media Profiles
When people see your content on social media, they may want to learn more about your company. This is where your profile can catapult them into following you and even checking out your website.
Here are a few tips and tricks to make your profile stand out…
- Choose a clear, professional profile picture
- Leave an impression with your About section
- Include a link back to your website
Take this superb example from Evernote’s LinkedIn profile. Its content is frequently updated and always useful for its followers. Its profile photos are descriptive and fit with its productivity ttheme Evernote also promote its own group, where users can go to ask questions and get on-the-spot troubleshooting solutions. Its profile is created with users (and potential users) in mind.
Another great example is Oracle Business Analytics’ Facebook page. This B2B company demonstrates a superb use of engagement. The page serves as the hub fpr product updates, helpful content in multiple formats, and Live videos. Through comments and other engagement. Oracle make all of its followers feel connected.
8. Engage Influencers
Influencers are those with a typically large, devoted following on social media. Don’t just connect with those who have the largest following — after all, this is not a numbers game so much as it is an influence game. Instead, focus more on engagement levels. How much do they share? Do they have a good back-and-forth dialogue with followers? How many comments and likes do they get on their posts?
Then, engage with the influencers you find. Comment on or even share the content that they post. Study the content they share to see how you can create powerful content that would interest them and their respective audience.
9. Get Involved with Groups
Your involvement in social media groups can spark interest in yourself and your company. It may lead people to read and share your content. Groups are a vital part of your social strategy.
Facebook and LinkedIn both have groups where people can interact on specific industry matters. Join groups that fit your industry and expertise, and participate!
When people start discussing an important industry change, become part of the conversation with your own unique voice that showcases your thought leadership credentials.
When questions arise in these groups, be among the first to offer valuable advice and answers that work.
You may even consider beginning your own group, where your followers can ask industry-specific questions and where you can prove your expertise.
Be careful not to be self-promotional in these groups. If people appreciate your advice or the point of view that you offer, they will likely follow you on their own, or look for more information on you and your company.
Key Points to Remember…
- Grab your audience’s attention with an exciting headline
- Make sure every piece of content includes an eye-catching visual graphic
- Include social sharing buttons on every piece of content you create
- Study your audience to know what tše best times are to post, and what topics and content formats interest them.
In conclusion, shared media serves a unique purpose in your PR strategy — one that you don’t want to miss out on. Integrate these points into your strategy, and see the results that flow in.