Since search is the primary source of traffic for most blogs, you may wonder why social sharing is still important. But there isn’t just one way to get traffic to your website. Instead, your site’s visitors come from various places, including search engines like Google, your email newsletter, and social media.
Almost all bloggers (97%) use social media to drive traffic to their websites. Why? Because more than half of the world’s population uses social media. Are you willing to miss connecting with 4.33 billion people where they already spend more than two hours a day? We didn’t think so. That’s why you need to share your content and encourage others to do so as well.
What is Shareability?
Shareability means something can be shared. It is possible to share. But social media shareability is when you make something more likely to be shared.
How do you make something more likely to be shared? Mark Schaefer, author of “The Content Code,” says you must understand why people share, not just what they typically share. Once you understand why, you can use that knowledge to make everything you write shareable, according to Schaefer. Below is a list we compiled with some of Schaefer’s advice and our own experiences about why people move from passive readers to active sharers.
Why people share content:
- Guidance. The primary reason people share content is that it’s useful. They like to help inform their friends about what is happening. For example, not only did you probably share your “voted” sticker pic on Facebook, you also likely told people how long the line was or how many people voted at your precinct.
- Reputation. People share content because they want others to perceive them in a certain way. For example, you may share the latest viral Tik Tok video about what styles are now “Cheugy” because you think it makes you look hip or trendy. We tend to share information that reinforces the impression we want others to have on us.
- Emotion. People share content that causes them to react emotionally. Do you remember that gif of the little girl who needs to “take a nap right here” on the beach? How often did you share that content because you thought it was funny and you totally related to her?
- Introduction. People share content when it’s new (or new to them), and they want to be the first to tell others. For example, probably everyone reading this has shared an opinion about an Apple product launch at one time or another. Which one of those new colored iMacs do you want?
- Connection. People share if they feel connected with the author and want to support them. You’ll want to remember this one because it’ll come in handy later.
- Relationships. People share content when it helps them stay in contact with people they wouldn’t otherwise. Why else would you be Facebook friends with all of those people from high school?
- Cause Support. People want to rally around a cause or brand they believe in. Sharing cause-related content simultaneously helps people let others know what they stand for.
- Humble Brag. People share content when it represents an achievement, like when the company website features their promotion.
Notice that we didn’t say “people want to share content because it’s great content?” Content quality is not the primary factor for sharing. Instead, people are generally passive consumers of information, which means you have to ignite their willingness to share, Schaefer wrote. Igniting this willingness means forming a relationship with them and reaching them on a personal level, according to the author.
Why You Want People to Share Your Content
You want people to share your content because it gets more people to visit your website. The more people who share and visit, the more people will share and visit. It’s the snowball effect.
Social sharing is today’s word-of-mouth advertising. And more than 90% of people believe a recommendation that comes from a friend. Yes, social media “friends” count!
You know how people write “tweets are not endorsements” on Twitter? Well, they are! Those people are telling you what they think or what they think about. You’ll choose whether you agree with a like or a share, and their audience grows. This concept holds true, regardless of which medium it happens on.
Making Your Content Shareable
You understand now that you don’t want to rely solely on SEO to drive traffic to your site. You want people to share your content. Now you need to understand how to make your content shareable.
Tips for making your content shareable:
- Share First. Don’t just post your content on your site and wait for people to find it. Share it on your business social media accounts as soon as you post it. Share it again later, altering the social post and adhering to the preferences of each medium.
- Share Personally. Remember what we wrote above about how people share when they have a connection to the author? Your social media friends and followers have a link to you. Share your brand’s content on your personal social media accounts too. Share it and ask your friends to reshare it. Don’t forget to tell them why it adds value.
- Think People. Social media loves people, but it doesn’t think too much of brands. Algorithms increasingly keep brand accounts from sharing broadly without advertising, but they don’t do the same with people. Ask those within your organization to share your post. Ask them to ask others to share too. Do you see how the snowball effect is happening here again?
- Ask. Did you notice how much we used the word “ask” to this point? That’s because the best way to get people to share your content is to ask them to. It’s that simple. Maybe say “please” too. It’s always good to be polite.
- Know Your Audience. The better you know your customers, who you’re writing for, the more likely you are to create content that resonates with them and get those shares.
- Consider Audience. Yes, we want shares and traffic, but we also want them to be from the right people. In other words, we want visitors who are likely to convert. Think about which social medium this audience uses most. Spend the majority of your time there. Remember that you don’t have to use every social media outlet. You need to use your chosen mediums well. Using them well means actively participating there.
- Tell Stories. Review the reasons people share content that we listed above. Stories are crucial to many of those methods. People love a good story. Tell stories to build relationships and tap into emotions.
- Validate Opinions. We look for confirmation bias online. We seek out people who think the same things we do… people who will tell us we’re correct. Take a stance in your writing and put it in front of the people you know agree. They’ll share it.
- Help People. People come to the internet looking to solve a problem. If your post helps them, they’re likely to share it with others who have the same problem. Helping solve problems is why how to posts are so popular.
- Be Trendy. Tap into hot topics or trends related to your brand. People will share the post to say something about their reputation or how they want others to view them.
- Report News. Ok, so you’re not a journalist, but remember how people like to provide information before anyone else? You don’t have to be the first to tell them something. You just need to be the first to put it in front of them.
- Support Causes. What does your brand stand for? Supporting causes unites us. It does so more with every generation. Write about what your brand stands for and why. People who agree will share that content.
- Be Original. Imitation is flattery, but it’s not originality. If you want your content to be shared, you have to write something different or differently from anyone else.
- Include Images. Putting images in your posts seems like a small thing. It’s not. People share posts with at least one image twice as much on average as those without.
- Encourage Sharing. Include sharing buttons on your website and on your posts to encourage readers who enjoy what they read to share.
- Consider Post Length. People want a little meat in their posts. They won’t share something that leaves them lacking. Believe it or not, the longer the post, the more likely it is to be shared. The most shareable posts, according to online research, are about 1,500 words. But don’t write words just to write them. Make them worthwhile.
- Include CTAs. After someone reads your post, they pause to consider what to do next. If you don’t include a call-to-action, you leave that decision to chance. If you don’t have a specific CTA for that post, ask them to share it. Be sure to write a strong CTA, telling them why it’s worthwhile for them to share. In other words, remind them how it helped them and how it could benefit others.
Content Journey Understands the Importance of Shareability
We’re pretty proud of our SEO abilities here at Content Journey. We do a great job of using search to drive traffic to our clients’ sites. But we also understand that SEO is just one part of web traffic. We write shareable content for our clients, and we encourage them to share it.
Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss how we can help you get more traffic on your website. Know someone else who needs more web traffic? Please share this post with them.