Social media shares are a valuable currency for brands today.
That’s because shares directly signal which messages, campaigns and images engage your audience the most.
And on the flip side, a lack of shares is often a sign of a lackluster content strategy.
However, getting social media shares is easier said than done when your audience is bombarded with so much content across so many platforms these days.
If you feel like there aren’t enough eyes on your content, we hear you. That’s why we’ve put together a list of seven low-hanging strategies you can roll out ASAP to encourage more shares.
Why do you need to track social shares in the first place?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s briefly break down why social shares matter.
It’s no secret that interactions related to engagement (e.g., shares, “likes” and comments) are among the most important metrics to track. Perhaps that’s why 48% of social marketers use shares as a way to measure the success of their campaigns.
Some critics consider social media shares to be a vanity metric, though.
And those critics aren’t totally wrong. After all, how many shares a post gets isn’t exactly a measure of its quality. Look no further than celebrity Tweets that get shared around or brand Tweets that go viral.
— Harry Styles. (@Harry_Styles) October 5, 2019
Sure, we want people to share our content. That said, shares don’t mean much if they don’t have an impact on your business.
For example, let’s say you have a post that results in thousands of shares but no long-term engagement, no new followers and no sales. What’s the point?
But let’s say that the same post results in a few press mentions, tons of traffic and a flood of new customers. That’s a win, obviously.
The takeaway here is that for shares to be a meaningful metric, they need to somehow be tied to your social media goals.
If you’re interested in brand awareness or community engagement, shares are a direct indicator of your success. Brands should also dig deeper than share numbers to understand why followers decided to engage with a particular post.
8 simple tactics to help you score more social media shares
Now, onto the good stuff!
But first, a quick disclaimer.
Keep in mind that social media algorithms are fickle. There’s no secret or guarantee for getting social shares.
Instead, your end-game should be sticking to the best practices of social promotion while building a foundation of shareable content. Any combination of the tactics below can help and are fair game for just about any business.
1. Prioritize the most shareable content formats (video, images and breaking news)
It’s pretty well-documented that visual content is among the most shared and successful on social media.
Data from the most recent Sprout Social Index™, Edition XVII: Accelerate drives this point home, with videos (54%) and images (53%) taking the top spots among the content formats marketers say are most valuable for social goals.
Look no further than the popularity of TikTok and Instagram as proof that bite-sized video content is booming right now.
Heck, the term “viral video” exists because the medium is so share-worthy. Whether it’s a brief tutorial or a mini-commercial for your business, videos are ideal for keeping your followers glued to their screens.
Meanwhile, infographics and visual representations of data also tend to spread quickly on social media. Because infographics are so easy to digest at a glance and don’t require readers to do much reading, they have much higher sharing potential versus a traditional post.
— Financial Times (@FinancialTimes) November 17, 2020
Remember that social media is still a hotbed of news and “did-you-know” pieces. When in doubt, breaking stories and publishing new information is a safe bet for shares.
Video games may improve mental health, according to new study. https://t.co/XihgEmKa7o
— Complex (@Complex) November 16, 2020
2. Craft captions that make your posts more visible
For the sake of getting more social shares and staying in the good graces of any social algorithm, you can’t afford to ignore your captions.
Dropping links and expecting engagement is a surefire way to reduce the reach of your content. Simply dropping links to videos and blog posts to your social feed doesn’t do anything to signal that your post is worth clicking, let alone sharing.
Some quick tips to beef up your social captions to make them more share-worthy include:
- Implementing a hashtag strategy on networks like Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn (hint: research says that posts coupled with hashtags receive more reach than those without them)
- Using appropriate call-to-action phrases in your copy (think: “retweet” or “share this”)
- Take advantage of character limits in your post, giving you an opportunity to include relevant, searchable terms in your copy (particularly on LinkedIn, Pinterest or Twitter)
For example, coupling your Instagram posts with hashtags instantly more likely to be seen and regrammed.
The same rings true for networks like Pinterest where descriptions and tags increase the visibility of your content.
No, you don’t need to cram your captions with keywords. That said, you should familiarize yourself with character limits on each social network and take advantage of the real estate available to you.
3. Make sure each and every post is mobile-friendly
Fact: the vast majority of social traffic comes from mobile devices.
Thankfully, social platforms do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to mobile optimization. There are some additional steps you can take to ensure that you don’t neglect your mobile audience, including:
- Double-check that graphics are legible, zoomable and not cut off by image previews (Twitter can be tricky about this sometimes)
- Include appropriate line breaks and punctuation in your social captions to avoid walls of text or hashtags
- Add captions to your social videos so they’re accessible to all viewers, including those who have their phones silenced
4. Time your posts to perfection
This might be a no-brainer, but make sure that you’re posting your content when your target audience is most engaged.
We actually have an in-depth guide highlighting the best times to post on social media broken down by network and industry.
True, there’s no secret timing trick to squeeze extra shares from users via social. That said, publishing content based on when your followers are most active makes sense for maximum visibility.
5. Piggyback on trending topics and content formats
Social media moves quickly, as does its many trends.
Whether it’s trending hashtags or the latest memes, capitalizing on what folks are already talking about is a proven way to score shares.
how it started: how it’s going: pic.twitter.com/vIIPBygzd8
— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) October 8, 2020
Trendjacking might be considered low-effort, but doing so certainly help boost brand awareness and showcase your brand’s personality. Just make sure that you read the room and employ humor or trend-based content when it’s appropriate.
6. Publish content that encourages a response (questions and polls)
So much of getting social media shares boils down to driving conversations.
That’s why question-based posts are so popular. Serving as a sort of call-and-response, questions and polls are a prime for shares as a way for followers to bring new people into the conversation.
which is superior:
— Joe Zieja (@JoeZieja) November 17, 2020
The beauty of question-based posts is that they don’t require much in terms of creativity and work for pretty much effort. Through frequent questions, you can build a stronger sense of community with your audience while winning more shares as an added bonus.
7. Make social sharing seamless all other marketing channels
Sharing is easy. Like, really easy.
Or at least it should be.
Your job should be to remove as many steps as possible when it comes time for someone to share your content.
That means no copying-and-pasting or manual typing. Ideal, someone should be able to share your content in a single click or tap.
To wrap things up, make sure that you’ve made it easy for people to share your content and access your brand via social.
This means including social share buttons on your blog posts…
…or embedding tweets within your content that readers can share.
Beyond your website or blog, social share buttons should also be part of your email footer to transform your eager subscribers into dedicated followers.
And when in doubt, don’t be afraid just to ask for shares if you’re particularly proud of a piece of content. The “like, share and subscribe” cliche on YouTube exists for a reason (hint: it actually works).
And with that, we wrap up our guide!
Are you happy with how many social media shares you’re getting?
Getting more social shares is a near-universal goal among marketers.
Sticking to the tips above can definitely help. Meanwhile, brands should be willing to experiment with different types of content and analyze what’s working (and what’s not).
Over time, you can define a content strategy that results in consistent shares from your target audience.
And if you want to learn about what shareable content looks like or how to expand your brand’s reach, make sure you familiarize yourself with what today’s social media algorithms are looking for.
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