Making your content marketing shareable is one of the most successful methods businesses can use to secure significant returns from their investment in it.
Compelling content can do more for your business if you widen your scope to include not only your existing subscribers and customers but also their own social and business networks.
Shareable content is more than just good copywriting and a compelling subject (although these are still key elements of engaging content).
In The Psychology of Sharing, a study published by The New York Times, 90% of social media users reported the usefulness of a piece of content as a key factor in their decision to share it.
Users are also more likely to share content which affirms their own beliefs or which offers an incentive in return for sharing.
For businesses, this pinpoints one of content marketing’s core realities– it is not enough to create informative and entertaining content if you want it to be shared.
Prospects and customers need to see a benefit for themselves to be compelled to share it.
More Than Words note – take a look at this article from the Digital Marketing Institute to find out more about how you can create and promote shareable content.
For businesses, shareable content is a valuable way to increase your customer base, get new leads, and increase sales.
Word of mouth marketing is an effective form of promotion thanks to the validation it brings from a source that prospects can really trust – their own networks.
According to Impact’s 2021 study, word of mouth generates twice the sales of paid ads, indicating that people are more comfortable spending money with companies that come with a personal recommendation from someone they know.
More Than Words note – check out Impact’s full infographic for more information about word of mouth marketing and strategies you can use to develop your own campaigns.
However, word of mouth marketing can be more high-risk than other strategies because you cannot control what exactly your customers and contacts are saying about you.
This is where the value of shared content becomes clear.
Because what is being shared comes directly from your copywriters and campaign planners, you are able to control the message.
So what is the best way to present content in order to maximise shareability?
Research has found that the optimal format for shareable content differs depending on your industry.
Infographics perform slightly better than other formats – coming in as the top-performing content format in more than a third of all sectors – but it is worthwhile doing your own research to see exactly what form of content gets the most shares in your own niche.
Nevertheless, customers also appreciate variation (and some types of content work better for certain topics than others), so it is reasonable to use these findings as more of a guideline than a rule.
The best time to share content with the aim of encouraging reshares will very much depend on your industry and target audience.
In a post comprised from 25 original and compiled research studies, CoSchedule found that the peak posting times for most industries are:
- 8am – 9am (the traditional morning commute for most employees),
- 1pm – 2pm (lunchtime), and
- after 9pm (evening wind-down period for most people).
More Than Words note – take a look at CoSchedule’s full report here for more valuable information about the best times to post on social media, broken down by industry and social media platform and featuring advice for determining your own posting schedule.
When creating shareable content there are few fundamentals to keep in mind.
1. Steer clear of advertising
Making sales via shared content means avoiding trying to make the sale in the first instance.
While this may feel counter-intuitive, think about how you feel when you read an advertorial versus an editorial.
Advertorials are all about convincing you, the faceless customer, to buy something. Editorials offer information as a form of entertainment and value.
Even if your content is an advertorial, you want your customers to feel that the product or service is secondary to the information that you are sharing with them.
2. Stay on top of trends
Successful social media marketing relies on keeping up to date with trends as they happen.
Consider referencing news items or viral posts that are important at the time you are posting your content.
Social media marketing does not yield evergreen content, but it can be a recognisable point of reference to capture the attention of prospects who haven’t heard of your business before.
More Than Words note – we like this blog from Sync PR about the value of evergreen content versus topical content, which includes advice on how and when to use each type.
3. Offer incentives
Offering audiences an incentive to share content is a reliable strategy, most often used by businesses wishing to increase brand awareness and build their audience.
Contests and giveaways encourage people to share content because they can clearly see how they will (or could) benefit from doing so.
There are two main approaches to take with incentives:
- offer a single prize/reward that every share has a chance to win, or
- offer a number of smaller rewards that either everyone who shares your content will receive – or at least many more people will.
Many companies combine these two approaches to maximise their efficacy.
In practice, this means that every share might ‘win’ a small discount, download or trial, but there is also one main prize winner at the end.
Another reliable option for increasing shares on social media is to combine incentives with User-Generated Content (UGC).
UGC refers to content created by your audience and then used as part of your promotional campaign.
This is often used as part of a competition, where competitors create content around your business, products or services to win a prize.
As an example, Starbucks’ red cup contest saw users share their own creative photos of the company’s branded cups for a chance to win $500, garnering over 302,000 likes on just one Instagram post.
However, many businesses see success with UGC even if there isn’t a main prize.
Cosmetics company Lush allow users to submit their own images of Lush products that they have purchased and used, displaying these images on their Instagram page with a credit to the user.
This works because the incentive is equal to business and user. The person that submitted the photo gets free promotion for their page and photography, while Lush gets free promotional content with which to advertise individual products.
More Than Words note – read more about how Lush use user generated content to keep their audience engaged here.
4. Include images and video
People are naturally drawn to visual content and take action based on the cues given in an image or video significantly faster than with text.
According to Twitter Business, tweets with video get 10 times more engagement than those without.
In another study, Buzzsumo found that articles with an image once every 75-100 words achieve more than double the interactions of articles with fewer images, or none at all.
Social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook are fundamentally image-driven platforms, making visual content far more shareable than text for these audiences.
Images don’t necessarily have to be photos if this isn’t relevant to your business.
You could use an infographic to explain something in more detail, a graph for statistics or even just a pull-quote that breaks up the page and makes the copy look more appealing.
5. Interact with your community
Actively engaging with your customer base is essential for building a highly-engaged community around your business, products and services.
Interacting with customers through content and comments on social media, engaging with their questions and reacting to their shares is an effective way to improve their trust in and overall opinion of your company.
Once you’ve taken the time to create shareable media, it is essential to develop this connection with your audience through genuine interactions online.
If your post has inspired a customer to ask a query, make sure you answer it quickly and publicly to show that your business is a caring and responsive one.
Working with our copywriters and content marketers
More Than Words offers a full range of social media marketing services designed to help you to develop persuasive business profiles and design marketing content that is appealing and shareable within your industry.
Please get in touch with us on 0330 010 8300 or click here to email our inbound marketing team.