Why People Share Content Online (And How To Get Them To Share Yours)
“People share to connect with each other, not with your business,” says social media entrepreneur Laura Roeder.
This is a significant distinction. People aren’t sharing your content because they harbor some altruistic desire to push traffic to your website or because they want to increase awareness of your brand. Those things are incidental. Those are the things you want. What people are sharing are things that strengthen their relationships or build up their own personal identities.
Content for your readers’ readers
People share content that reinforces their values or their sense of identity. They promote your content because it is good for their brand.
An example: A brewery posts a video of hops being harvested. The video shows huge pieces of farm equipment plucking hops from the bines and people hoisting bales. Beer lovers who consider themselves connoisseurs of all things hoppy are excited about this. It is a piece of content that resonates with their personal perceptions that they are in the know and care about this expressive ingredient in beer. They take on ownership of this content because it reinforces that.
When posting content for your business, don’t just think about how you can build something that has value just for your subscribers. Strive to create something that will entice people to share because it builds their own value/credibility.
Speaking of which, your sharers’ own credibility is on the line when they share your stuff. This means you better have your act together or people aren’t going risk aligning themselves with your content. It’s important for your brand or company to have established trust before people will risk pushing your content to others.
Be on-brand. You can be playful, but try to post things that align with your core purpose. Topics can be tangential to your business, but they should always have some tie-in with, and be in agreement with, your company values. Keep things simple and have a clear reason in mind for everything you post.
Sure, you need to stay true to your brand voice and reinforce your values and goals but that in no way means that you need to be conventional and stuffy. Humanize the content you post and it will instantly be more shareable. Feel free to use humor. Be authentic. If your content comes across as corporate and contrived, chances are it’s not going to get shared.
Tie into current events
Content on social platforms moves rapidly. People will attach to content that is relevant with current happenings. This type of content is instantly shareable. Just be careful with this one not to unwittingly step into a polarizing issue which could turn into a PR faux pas.
Don’t post and run. Engage with online users as they interact with your content. Join the conversation. This shows that your brand is accessible and engaged. And your responses to ongoing conversations can themselves become shareable content. That makes participating in conversations about your brand an opportunity to snowball your brand visibility.