How to Increase Content Sharing

8 Tips to Share Content Via Social Media and Email

People spend more than half of their time online with published content. What’s enticing to brand and media marketers is that a whopping 27 million pieces of content are shared each day. Further, 23% of social media messages include a link to content defined as a published article, video or photograph, excluding family videos and party photographs according AOL/Nielsen research. Given these results, shouldn’t content sharing be part of your marketing program?

How is this content shared?

Most frequently, people share content with their inner circle, namely friends and family. Surprisingly, email tops the ways people share content. Two-thirds of the AOL/Nielsen respondents considered email their primary way to share content. Linking sharing site AddThis research found that email sharing was 38% higher than Twitter.

AOL/Nielsen respondents also used social networks, blogs, message boards and instant messages for content sharing. Based on AddThis data, Gmail and StumbleUpon experienced the highest rates of growth for content sharing in 2010.

What increases content sharing?

Two factors increased content sharing, especially on social media sites. They are a specially crafted message that shows the person has found the content of value and the influence of the person sharing it. On average, established influencers receive a 400% higher click-through rate for shared plain links than those of an average user according to AddToAny’s founder, Pat Diven II. When an established influencer adds a thoughtful comment, click-through rates increases 20% over links without commentary.

When it comes to sharing information, it’s critical to establish your organization as a trusted source and build relationships with people who are, since 38% of people share information they received from someone they trust according to the AOL/Nielsen research.

8 Tips increase content sharing

Here are eight tips to increase your potential audience by adding content sharing to your marketing.

  1. Create content your target audience wants to read and share. Focus on articles, blogs, videos and photographs. Also, provide helpful information since 36% of those interviewed in the AOL/Nielsen research shared information they believed would help others. For further guidance, use your analytics to determine which content is most popular, attracts the most readers, and has the longest time on site.
  2. Create attention-getting headlines. Be careful to entice prospective readers and sharers but don’t make the title a complete thought that can be shared without needing to read further. In my experience, this can increase tweets while yielding lower views.
  3. Integrate a call-to-action to get readers to engage with and share your content. Help guide your readers who might otherwise leave your content after consuming it.
  4. Incent readers to add attention-getting comments when they share content. Put your readers in the spotlight on your website, blog, social media platform or email. Here’s an example of how SmartBrief for Social Media does this.
  5. Facilitate social sharing by giving readers a choice of content sharing options including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Don’t offer so many choices that readers can’t decide which ones to use. Also, make the buttons stand out to signal readers to act. Highly shared articles may attract additional social shares because they’re a sign of approval.
  6. Publicize email sharing since this is the primary way most readers pass content along to their social circle. Realize that while the email link or button may not yield many users on your systems, it reminds readers to share the link via email.
  7. Promote your content across your owned media to build awareness and readership. Use your website, blog, email newsletters, internal emails (such as customer service) and billing to advertise your content. Don’t overlook offline options like your packaging and in-store flyers.
  8. Personalize your content on social platforms and email newsletters. Since tailored comments and headlines increase the likelihood of sharing, consider hand crafting your social media messages rather than using an automated service.

Given the amount of time users spend consuming content online and the simplicity of implementing content sharing as a means to expand audience reach, it should be on every marketer’s list.

Is content sharing part of your marketing strategy? If so, what have you learned?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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Photo credit: Katerha via Flickr

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