Creating shareable content is the holy Grail of social media.
If our friends, colleagues, and fans do not share what we post, then there is little hope that we will succeed in our social media marketing.
Before posting any content online, place your content through a “re-share test.”
Ask yourself whether your content is valuable, bold, informative, or entertaining. Does it provide a useful analysis or does it assist people in some manner?
If it accomplishes any of these goals, your content should be shareable.
Here are three quick tips that are easy to remember:
• keep your blog post headline to 50 characters
• keep your paragraphs short — at most three paragraphs
• use active verbs
In previous blog posts, I’ve shared some amazing statistics on how much faster our brains can process images versus text.
The actual statistic is that our brains can process images 60,000 times faster than text.
Our eyes gravitate to images and increasingly tend to shun large blocks of black letters. This fact explains why it’s essential to include images or video if we want our content to be shareable.
Also, if we include multiple images within a single blog post, your readers are more likely to read the entire post. Color images boost engagement over black-and-white photos, too.
Controversy and Engagement
What I’ve noticed is that when people delve into politics on their Facebook profiles, engagement soars.
But is that the kind of engagement you’re seeking? Will it help you or hurt you in your professional life?
Being sensational always attracts attention. Our current president is sensational in his tweets and he receives a lot of likes and shares on that platform.
But you need to remember that you are your brand.
Everything you post online is available online and remains online. You’re visible to the world.
Personally, I would never tweet about President Trump or state my opinion about him on my Facebook author page. At times, I have delved into politics on my Facebook profile but never on my Facebook page.
Delving into political issues is something I seldom do because I’m looking for shares of my blog posts and book promotions, not my political opinions.
So if we’re not going for the easy, political share, what do we do?
Post images. For example, using Pixabay and Canva you can create quotes on images about reading, the value of reading, and about libraries. You can share the stack of books you want to read or pictures of yourself heading into your local library or indie bookshop.
You can take pictures of your office, the cafe where you like to write, or a spot in your back yard where you like to write.
In terms of subjects for your images, the sky is truly the limit.
I never post anything on Twitter without including an image and the same goes for Facebook and Google+. Of course, Instagram and Pinterest are entirely image based so those platforms should help you train your visual eye for all the platforms you use.
Finding Shareable Content for Facebook Page Posts
I haven’t and won’t steer into political stands on my Facebook page. It would be hard for anyone, to talk me out of sticking to my main topics: social media, publishing, and writing.
Even on this page it can be difficult to predict what will trigger engagement. This very simple quote by William Faulkner reached nearly 1400 people and generated 153 Likes, comments and shares.
This quote by Maya Angelou, posted right after she died, reached 173 people and generated 26 Likes, comments and shares.
I thought this image was amusing and had hoped it would generate some shares, but it didn’t. It reached 152 people and generated just six Likes.
I also share what I consider to be valuable content. For example, I include links to my new blog posts, inspiring TED talks,and other bloggers such as Joel Friedlander and Jane Friedman.
These posts typically reach about 50 – 200 or fewer people and rarely generate a Like even though the information is informative, helpful and in some cases entertaining. But I will continue posting informative information because it’s valuable to the careers of my Facebook fans.
How Do We Really Know What’s Shareable?
Your content needs to be valuable, informative, helpful, or entertaining. But isn’t it difficult to predict whether others will find information as valuable as you do or as entertaining as you do?
Are preemptory re-share tests necessary? On Facebook, I look to Insights, Facebook’s free analytics feature that shows me what works and what doesn’t. By returning to the metrics you can, over time, predict what content you audience prefers.
Twitter also has great, free analytics and I encourage you review them. If you have a business Pinterest and Instagram account, you’ll also have access to free analytics.
For example, even though my emphasis is on social media for writers, my audience prefers quotes from writers about writing.
Before you wade through all the potential sources for content and try to decide what to use, review your timelines, retweets, and Google+ shares.
Even without using a metrics program, you can get a sense of what does and doesn’t work with your particular audience. In the end, that is the only re-share test that is infallible.
Well written, well researched – well thought out. This book is a must have!
Author of this blog: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She wrote several social media books including Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.
Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web