If you’re like me, you will get a little bit jealous when you see a blog post that has hundreds, if not thousands of social shares. And I often wonder how it is possible that some content can reach millions of people through social shares. How do they do it?
When I started blogging in 2010, my content was not getting any shares – It was like a graveyard out there. A few readers, even fewer comments and zero social shares.
What was I doing wrong?
- There are 190 million tweets per day
- There are 70 billion pieces of content shared on Facebook each month
- 5 million people use the +1 button on Google+ every single day
- More than 500 tweets per minute contain a YouTube link
- Every minute, Tumblr owners publish approximately 27,778 new blog post
And more than 72% of all internet users are now active on social media. Surely it’s not just me, right?
What’s a social share?
Before we look at how to get more social shares, let’s take a step back to understand what a social share is - A social share is what happens when someone reads a piece of content they like on the web and publicly share it with their social network.
But that's not all, a social share is also counted when someone in my network shares content and I “like” it (i.e., click the “like” button), even if I have not read the content.
Why do people share your content?
You start by creating great content. It’s easy, right?
Unfortunately, a lot of people forget that content marketing is part content, PART MARKETING.
Great content that gets zero views is almost a waste of time. Don’t let your content go unnoticed.
(Note: I’ve put together a bonus resource at the end of this article that will you give you a full list of social media hacks.)
And while creating a great piece of content is the foundation to a successful content marketing campaign, it’s not enough. In order to increase your social shares, you need to seed the content to begin with and get influencers to share it for you.
In the book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger, an associate professor of Marketing at the Wharton School, Jonah explains that there are six factors that influence why people share content.
These six factors are referred to as STEPPS:
- Social currency: People share content that they think will make them look good, smart, and cool to those within their social network.
- Triggers: People share content that is top of mind, because of associations with things that people think about all the time.
- Emotion: People share content that evoke emotions.
- Public: People share things are widely available and visible.
- Practical value: People share content that they think will help others within their social network.
- Stories: People use stories to communicate as a medium to communicate ideas
While your content doesn't necessarily have to include all of these six factors, the more of them that you do include, the more likely it is that your content will be broadly shared.
Why is social sharing important to your brand?
Social sharing is an important part of online marketing and is beneficial for three major reasons;
- Wider audience – The more shares you have, the bigger your reach
- SEO & rankings – The more shares you have, the better rankings in search engines
- Shares – It helps you find out what your audience likes to read and share
- Revenue - A bigger audience and higher rankings will result in increased sales
So how do you get more social shares?
While there have been social media case studies on when the best time to post on all of the major social networks, I’m not talking about squeezing every last single social share.
Based on experience, I have outlined 12 proven hacks that work.
In this article, I'll be sharing 8 of them with you. The next time you publish a piece of content, use these social media hacks to boost social shares.
8 social media hacks to get more social shares
1. Focus on where your target audience is
It’s easy to get caught up in the next big social network but the true winners of social media marketing are brands that are active on the same platform as their customers. This is the foundation to social media marketing success.
It’s why fashion brands excel on Pinterest, and why B2B brands generate leads from LinkedIn. It’s business 101.
And if you’re unsure which social sharing sites to use, use the chart below:
If you sell products on your website that appeal to teenagers, use Facebook and Instagram. If you sell software and you’re looking for decision makers, use LinkedIn.
2. Create a social sharing culture internally
When new content is published, get everyone in your team to share the content. We all have a different network of connections – Whether through Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+. My network is not the same as yours so when I share your content, it’s going to a different group of people. If you share it too, we’re expanding our reach.
And this applies to all of the social networks you become active in - Likes, retweets, shares, +1s.
3. Promote new content as soon as it goes live
Creating content is hard work and sometimes, you’re just happy to have completed a piece in time so by the time you click publish, you’re tired and your job is now finished, right?
You’ve done part of your job but, now the fun part really starts!
Do not sit around and wait for your content to gain traction in the social sphere.It doesn't work like that!
As soon as you click publish, go directly to your social networks and start promoting the content. Immediately. Why?
It’s because that’s your best chance of getting people to read and share it. Remember the six factors listed above?
This is a great example of social currency. What’s cooler than being the first to share/ retweet new content with your network?
Not much. There are lots of people who want to be the first to share new content. Give them that chance.
4. Make your content really easy to share
You already have social sharing widgets or social sharing plugins on your blog content, right?
I don’t need to tell you that. But do you use the social sharing tools Click to Tweet or Markerly?
Markerly provides a free sharing widget that allows readers to share content has been copied or highlighted.
Click to Tweet provides another way to increase social shares by allowing readers to share sentences within the content itself. It’s easy to set up and is great for sharing important quotes or key statistics within your content.
Example: Check out how VWO.com used Click to Tweet in their recent CRO industry insights report,
Here’s how it is viewed within the post;
And here how it is displayed in Twitter. All you need to do is click the tweet button. Simple.
5. Build your social media following… now!
You’re unlikely to reach social sharing success without having an active following.
When my first guest post was published on Moz, I didn't even have a Twitter account so no one could follow me or interact with me.
Start by building a network of followers on Twitter or get more connections on LinkedIn. When you see your network increase, you’re more likely to succeed. You can even spend as little as five minutes per day growing your network.
All it takes is one connection or an influencer to share your post and for it to reach the masses.
6. Rewrite headlines and share the same content more than once
So you publish a new post and you share your new content on all your social profiles. Great job!
Then you wait another week before you do the same thing again. Your job’s done, right?
Wrong. That’s a wasted opportunity!
While your LinkedIn connections may become annoyed if you post several times per day, you won’t be annoying anyone if you tweet the same content three to four times per day. Twitter is a wall of noise of new updates and it’s easy to miss quality content.
Try going from one tweet per week to one tweet per day and watch your Twitter referral traffic grow.
Here’s an example of a post I recently promoted on Twitter – The same content was promoted three times within the first 24 hours.
You can also tweet headlines several times over to change the content of the tweet.
For example, this blog post you are reading has several headlines that can all become tweets;
- How to use social media to get more shares by @StevenMacd0nald [Link]
- Why do people share content with their social network? Find out here [Link]
- 8 ways to increase your social media reach [Link]
Instead of one tweet, you now have three, which can result in three times more social referral traffic.
7. Create a different intro message for each network
It’s easy to copy and paste the same link across several social networks but, this is where most social media marketing fails.
And it’s really not that inviting for me to simply click a short URL in my news feed – In fact, it kind of looks a little spammy.
Yes, you are limited to 140 characters on Twitter, but there's no limit on Google+ so use this to your advantage and create a different messages for each social network.
8. Share old content
How often do you visit a blog and read through the archives dating back two years ago?
Not often, right?
Most people don’t either.
If you have a piece of content that you are proud of that was published or shared months, or even years ago, don’t be afraid to repost it.
The chances are that in the time between when the post was first launched to now, you have more followers who may never have read the content. Reposting old content can lead a wave of new visits/ social shares.
Here's real example; two weeks after the “how to write a great blog post” post was published on eMarketeer.com, one of my followers on Twitter promoted it again, which led to another tweet and retweet, which meant that an additional 2,000 followers had the chance to view that tweet weeks after the original post was launched.
Alternatively, you can use the social sharing WordPress plugin ‘Revive Old Tweet’ (highly recommended!)
Do these steps work? Where’s the proof?
I’m glad you asked.
At SuperOffice, they’ve been using this approach for the last two years since launching their CRM Software blog.
Here's the proof:
- Social referral traffic has increased by 600% since using these social hacks.
- The number of social shares per post has increased from 20 shares to now more than 150 shares.
- These social media hacks generate revenue.
The number of website leads generated from social networks has grown tenfold and social traffic conversion rates jumped from 1.3% in 2013 to more than 10% in 2014.
Now it’s your turn
When you first start to blog, you will quickly realize that it takes time to build a community that shares your content. It won’t happen overnight so be patient.
Take a look at the chart below to see how long it takes to grow a successful blog:
If SuperOffice gave up too early, they wouldn't be enjoying the success they have today.
Continue to create great content that your audience enjoys and build your social network.
Be smart about the way you introduce new content to the world and use the 8 social media hacks listed above to get your brand talked about online and to increase social shares.
Get Access to All 12 Social Media Hacks
I want to help you increase both brand awareness and organic traffic, so I've created a set of bonus social media hacks that you can use to increase social sharing.
- First: I’ve put together 4 (four!) bonus social media hacks not mentioned in this post
- Second: The bonus tips include four of my secret hacks to help you get even more social media shares for your content
- Third: The entire list of all 12 social media hacks to boost social sharing can be downloaded as a PDF (to save or print out)
Does this sound good?