We all want to be the go-to person with the latest news, the most intriguing viral content, or the hidden gems followers wouldn’t have otherwise found. Easier said than done, though, right?
It actually might be easier than you think–as long as you take the right approach.
The following is a guest post from Courtney Seiter, a content crafter at Buffer, a tool that makes social-media sharing smarter and easier. (You can read her posts on social media, productivity, and marketing on the Buffer blog.)
The currency of social media is the share, and some people just have a knack for finding and crafting the perfect share. The rest of us have to work a little harder. Really, great social-media sharing is a skill. And like all other skills, it requires a little strategy and a lot of practice to perfect.
Here’s a road map to quality social-media sharing, including what to share, when to share it, and how to share.
What to Share
Every day, we’re inundated with lots of stuff–stuff to read and watch and see and think about. Probably too much stuff, honestly. The average American consumes 34 gigabytes of content and 100,000 words of information in a single day. That means the biggest challenge of great sharing is to make sure your stuff is better than all thatother stuff. Want to know if it is? Ask yourself these four simple questions:
1. Would my network thank me for it?
According to Ann Handley, head of content at MarketingProfs and author of Content Rules, this is a good place to start. Is the content so useful that your audience would thank you?
Beyond that, would your audience’s audience thank you? We’ve written before about the power of thinking beyond your audience to the next level of connectivity–it’s a great method for attracting a broad, engaged audience. Your audience will definitely appreciate getting content it can then share with its audiences.
2. Does it make me say, “Holy smokes”?
“Useful” is only one of the signs of great content. Content can also be so funny, so ridiculous, or so rage-inducing that you simply must pass it on. What we’re looking for here is the “holy smokes” reaction, which Jason Falls explains.
You want your audience to think, “‘Holy smokes,’ this message is: incredible/sad/awesome/beautiful/intelligent/informative/some other declarative response. According to Jason, ideally your audience will think, “Holy smokes; I have to share that with my friends.”
3. Does it pass my Facebook test?
Think about the way people in your audience share and the patterns you’ve observed to determine whether the content you’re considering will get traction. Buzzfeed chief revenue officer Andy Wiedlin says he urges Buzzfeed clients that produce sponsored content to think about how the content will play in the confines of Facebook.
“People share things that make them look clever and cool. They are building their own personal brands,” Wiedlin said. “We spend a lot less time thinking how to target and a lot more thinking about what people are sharing.”
Rule of thumb: If you would want to see it in your own Facebook feed, you’re on the right track.
4. Would I email it to a friend?
This important question comes from Buffer’s Leo Widrich, who uses it as a guiding principle for our own blog. Leo explains:
“It’s an extremely simple proposition, yet it has changed my writing completely. If I put myself into a reader’s head and can picture him or her saying, “Oh, this is interesting… John will really like this,” then I feel good about publishing it. If not, I will iterate, find more research, get more examples…until I can truly imagine that happening.”