10 Ways to Extend Social Media Sharing [Data]

The Life of a Social Media Share

According to research from ShareThis, Starcom MediaVest and Rubinson Partners, Sharing accounts for 10% of all Internet traffic and roughly one out of three referral visits to sites from search and social media. To put this in perspective, search remains about twice that size.

Users clicked on 38% of Facebook, 17% of email, 11% of Twitter and 34% of other types of links. Not all shared content gets clicks. Based on the data, the likelihood of being clicked on goes down as a broader audience shares the information. Further where a link is shared influences the number of clicks it garners. Links on Twitter receive 4.8 clicks, while on Facebook links receive 4.3 clicks, and on email 1.7 clicks. Roughly four out of five people share information in only one category. The more removed the link is as its passed along, the less likely someone will click on it.

Based on Bit.ly research, the half-life of a shared link depends on the platform where it’s shared. The half-life of a shared link on Twitter is 2.8 hours, the half-life of a shared link on Facebook is 3.2 hours, the half-life of a shared link on direct sources such as email and IM clients is 3.4 hours, and the half-life of a shared link onYouTube is 7.4 hours. Overriding these specifics is the fact that many links have a half-life of less than two hours while sticky links can have a half-life up to eleven hours. Therefore, link lifespan appears more dependent on content quality not context.

10 Ways to extend social media sharing

Based on these research findings, here are ten tips to increase the productivity of your social sharing efforts.

  1. Create compelling content that interests your audience. Start by understanding your marketing personas and develop information they want and need.
  2. Develop content in a variety of formats. Given the long half-life of YouTube content, don’t overlook the need for videos, especially since they also appear on SERPs.
  3. Use killer titles to lure social media users in. While content links may be shortened into gobbley-guck, make sure that your title’s meaning and hook come through even if users shorten it due to space constraints.
  4. Integrate links to your product offering where appropriate in your content. To take advantage of the additional social media sharing reach, highlight targeted products without being promotional. Go one step further and include promotional codes to be able to measure your results effectively.
  5. Make sure your prospective audience can access your content and it’s readable from a variety of devices. Consider where prospective readers are when they find and/or share your content. This includes retail stores – both yours and your competitors’.
  6. Build your social media following on multiple social media platforms. The goal is to have the maximum number of people see your message directly because sharing activity diminishes the further removed you are from the original sender.
  7. Share content across social media platforms. Since Facebook links are shared more but Twitter links are clicked on more, you have to diversify your sharing across networks to build your content reach.
  8. Make sharing easy. Don’t make readers think or work when it comes to distributing your information to their social network.
  9. Use a call-to-action in the social share commentary accompanying your link. The objective is to motivate readers to act.
  10. Provide sharing options. Allow readers to share your content on a variety of platforms depending on where they’ve a following.

The bottom line is that social sharing helps broaden your content’s reach. Due to their user base, the behavior of shared content on different social media networks varies. The biggest factor influencing how long people remain interested in your content is how strong your content is.

Do you have any other suggestions for expanding the reach of your content’s social sharing?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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Photo credit: Ed Yourdon via Flickr

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