The Art of Social Sharing
Sharing a post is the most basic action one can take on social media.
And it may sound simple…
But, it’s not.
Nothing ever is, right?
Unfortunately, as with anything else in digital marketing (or in life), a seemingly simple concept often lends itself to complication the minute you swim away from the wall and decide to dip under the surface.
Once you take the plunge into the depths of social media marketing, you will learn that something as easy as sharing a post actually has its roots wrapped up in a strategy somewhere.
Nothing should ever be done arbitrarily, which is why laying out a strategy comes before content calendars and posting schedules.
All in all, the main goal of posting on social media should be to provide something of value to your audience, so learning everything you can about them and applying that knowledge to your strategy will help you determine what you should be sharing.Learn everything you can about your audience and apply that knowledge to your #SocialMedia strategy. Ultimately, this will help you determine what you should be sharing. Click To Tweet
Types of Social Shares
When it comes to social sharing, there are several different types of post, each with their own specific objective.
Typically, it is a best practice to use a mix of each type of post, but every company is going to have a different strategy for social sharing.
What you choose to share should depend on your industry, the type of content you are producing, how much content you are producing in-house, how viral your company / brand / product is, your relationship with your audience, among other things.
Listed here are the different types of social shares and when you should use them.Get the rundown on the different types of social shares and when you should use them #LikeAFox: Click To Tweet
1. Status Updates
The goal of posting a status update is to tell your followers what’s going on inside your business.
These types of posts usually don’t contain links to off-channel content (and are usually created on a whim without much thought or strategy behind them).
Whether it be an update about an event you hosted, a company birthday party, or a job opening, the reason for posting a status update is almost always because you want to appear active, engaged, and thoughtful on social media.
Oftentimes, company status updates are generic and lack value, so I don’t recommend posting this style of content too frequently unless you already know your audience responds well to it.
But, it can be beneficial to highlight certain components of your business on social media every once in a while, so cluing followers into the inner workings of your organization through the use of carefully considered status updates is a good practice…
…Just don’t overdo it.
2. Promoting Content or Products
Another type of social share is a promotional post.
Typically, B2B companies will share their content with links back to their website, and B2C companies will share links to products.
Like status updates, these types of posts are very self-promotional in nature and are posted with the hopes of driving traffic.
Again, many companies to this day STILL only utilize this style of content sharing because to them, this is the only way to drive real business results from social media.
While of course it is important to distribute your content to your audience and provide your fans a way to purchase from you, this type of direct selling and “funnel shoving”, should be sprinkled lightly into your overall social strategy if you want it to work.
A good rule of thumb is to give, give, give, give, give, give harder, then ask.
3. Curating Content
Content curation is the act of taking content from other companies, places, and people, and sharing it with your own audience.
You may be asking yourself, “Why should I curate content from other places and put that in my newsfeed? Why should I send people to other sites that aren’t my own?”
And the answer is simple.
You should do these things because you are serving your audience, not yourself. (Seeing a trend here?)
As a true value-driven marketer or business owner, you should be focused on helping by any means necessary.As a true value-driven marketer or business owner, you should be focused on helping your audience by any means necessary. Click To Tweet
Have you written every single article possible that would serve your target market? Of course not.
Content creation is a time consuming and expensive process, so when someone else has something that is good, or more timely, than you, you have a duty to serve it your audience.
It could take a lifetime to build out an extensive content library in-house. However, if you curate content from other sources, you will have a lot more to post and you can grow followers without investing so heavily in content creation.
Another tactic that can be used alongside of content curation is something called link retargeting.
Link retargeting allows you to cookie users who have clicked on a specific link. In essence, it allows you to pixel people who click on curated content so that you can serve them your own ads at a later time, thus adding more value to the content curation tactic.
With link retargeting, you can build out your audience 500%+ faster, capture anyone who you’ve influenced online, and expand the awareness portion of your funnel to redirect people to your site in the future.
We use custom Rebrandly domains for all of our clients and offer this as part of our content curation package, but there are other tools that can do this as well.
Your goal with content curation should be to:
- Find relevant information that your audience will love that you haven’t been able to create for yourself yet.
- Use people’s response to the content curation efforts to determine what articles/videos/etc you should create.
- Share from relevant industry influencers so that you can attempt to grow your audience off of their audience.
- Consider using link retargeting or some other form of “tagging” your users for each post.
- Become seen as a source for breaking news, even when you didn’t create it. Over time people should be able to trust your feed with being best-in-industry, even better than the individual places where you are curating from.
- Stay true to your brand and don’t get too Top of Funnel. I’ve seen some people in the Digital Marketing space start talking about productivity and health, etc. That is not why people follow you, stay focused on your core competency.
- Use content curation as a way to build real relationships with partners and influencers. Share the stuff of the people you admire, but also think you can have a conversation with (for instance, I can share Elon Musk’s post all day long, but we won’t have a sit down anytime soon). From there reach out to the person, let them know you love their stuff and think there is an opportunity to work together. It’s way better than a truly cold email, and gives you time to “pre-vet” them for quality.
4. Content Recycling
If you spend a bunch of time crafting the perfect social post, there’s no reason why you can’t share it more than once.
Content recycling is the idea that evergreen posts can be shared over and over again.
While technically this is not a “type” of post and more of a tactic really, it’s still worth mentioning because a large block of your social content can actually fall into the repeat post category if you are using content recycling as a strategy.
Any kind of evergreen content can be recycled, but the catch to this is in deciding the best posting schedule so as not to overwhelm your audience with the same post(s) too frequently.
This means setting up your posting schedule to match the number of pieces of content you have backlogged, and optimizing it as your store of content fills up.
Also, coming up with a strategy to “freshen up” recycled content on a regular basis by updating the headlines, images, hashtags, and so on is a good idea if you plan to share the same articles frequently.
We use a combination of SocialBee and Pocket to help us store and recycle content for all of our client accounts.
Setting up the recycling process the first time is no easy feat, but once it’s ready to go, it runs pretty much automatically and ensures that you will never run out of things to say.
While I do think that this tactic is a bit overused, it certainly does drive website traffic and build retargeting pixels, and it allows you to capitalize more on the time spent in curating and creating social post content, which is why we still do it.#ContentRecycling allows you to capitalize more on the time spent in curating and creating social post content. #SocialMediaTactics #LikeAFox. Click To Tweet
5. Engagement-Style Content
Another form of social sharing is posting engagement-style content.
This type of content is created with the purpose of eliciting engagement and generally does not contain any links. Usually, this type of post comes in the form of a question, a poll, or survey, and contains copy that drives followers towards responding in one way or another.
When we create engagement-style content for our clients, we usually focus on finding interesting quotes, facts or stats that are relevant to the industry and turn that information into polls, questions, or visual content.
When followers engage with us, we have the opportunity to learn about them and their preferences, so it’s a good idea to throw some engagement posts into your content mix.
6. Utilizing UGC
The last component of social posting is when you find content from your customers that they’ve created about your brand and share it.
This is called sharing user-generated content (UGC for short) and using this type of content on social media is a way to show people that other people love your brand.
It’s a powerful form of social proof and a goldmine of (free) content, so if you have the type of brand that generates a lot of UGC, you are in luck.
Most companies have trouble utilizing UGC because there aren’t enough people creating it, and even if they are, it can sometimes be hard to find it.
One of the processes we’ve built out for handling UGC at Vulpine is to hunt it down by searching each platform using branded hashtags and keyword searches, download the image and tag it in a folder, add a link to the content in a spreadsheet where we track all of the sharer’s information (social profiles and handles) and re-share it on social media with a photo credit if possible.
If you can enact a similar process, you will eventually have a list of everyone who has created and shared UGC of whom you can analyze and tailor your marketing strategy towards because these people are your most passionate (and vocal!) fans.
And then you also have a backlog of UGC that you can use on your website, social media and in your marketing materials.
Some ways you can encourage your followers to produce more UGC is to:
- Build engaging elements into your social campaigns. The Ice Bucket Challenge is an example of a campaign that prompted users to take an uncomfortable action in order to drive awareness for the disease called ALS. Anyone who participated caught the action on camera (because how can you show people you did it without the proof, right?) and shared it on their social channels, which resulted in massive numbers of UGC.
- Run a social sharing contest. Ask your fans to take a picture of themselves doing something related to your product or company and post the content using your hashtag for a chance to win.
- Encourage your fans to use your hashtags, especially when sharing branded photos. Place strong hashtag usage CTAs in the places where your followers are most likely to see and engage with your content.
Posting On Social Media Is Just The Beginning
Out of all the many social media tactics, social sharing is probably the most basic concept.
But that doesn’t make it easy.
There is still a lot of strategic thinking that should go into choosing what, when, and where to share.Even though posting on social is the most basic of #SocialMedia tactics, there is still a lot of strategy that goes into choosing what, when, and where to share. Click To Tweet
Knowing your audience, your value proposition, and your own limits on in-house content creation will help you determine the best way to start utilizing each type of social post, and the information you gather after you begin sharing will help you optimize your strategy.
Just don’t forget that social media is about a lot more than posting schedules, status updates and content mixes.
At its core, social media is about discovery.
If you don’t keep track of the things you learn, you’ll end up wasting your time worrying about the things that don’t really matter (posting schedules, status updates and content mixes) and you’ll miss out on the things that do (your audience and how to best serve them).