How to Encourage Social Media Sharing

2010Oct25_Sharing
The Purpose of Sharing

When websites were the primary means for distributing content on the Web, it was common to suggest to friends and customers alike to check out your website.  The problem with this tactic today is it does not encourage interaction, which of course is the purpose of social media sharing.

This is part of the art of leading your social media with content marketing.

Let’s take a look at why the phrase “check out my” now makes some of us very uncomfortable.

Check It Out

To ask your friends, colleagues or customers to do anything is really … well, it’s work!  If you happen to be a person of authority, then many of them may indeed grant you the favor out of respect. Yet, every subsequent time you ask in this way you undermine your earned authority.

Would you like to know a better way?

Here It Is

When you bring the content to your social media communities – you respect them.  If you expect to have your content shared by them, you need to make everything easy.  Think in terms of creating an enjoyable experience and you will dramatically increase your level of engagement and interaction.

Here are 10 tips for doing so:

  1. Do the work!  Provide links using appropriate link shorteners such as bit.ly
  2. Announce that you’ve done the work with a phrase such as … Here is.
  3. Only recommend valuable content that is likely to enhance your authority
  4. Give your perspective to encourage exploration of the content.
  5. Use familiar language that acknowledges your relationship with them.
  6. Ask a question that sparks curiosity and inquiry.
  7. Distribute the content on an interactive site, such as your blog, Facebook page, or Twitter
  8. Join them.  Quickly respond to comments and further lead the conversation.
  9. Let the discussion breathe by welcoming all opinions and perspectives.
  10. Extend that conversation later with relevant content that naturally follows it up

Doesn’t this seem more natural for encouraging online sharing and engagement?

Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

 Photo Credit:  Cronewynd

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Comments

  1. Great stuff Jeff! I love the part about “Check it out”… asking people to do anything totally is work!! So true.

    I think too that when a friend or business connection has something to share, you should respond as well. If you do all 10 of the fab points listed here, but never reciprocate then your still not sharing in the larger sense of the word.

  2. Jen – Well said. Reciprocation keeps the interaction going and it challenges all of us to expand our understanding and perspective.

    BTW, I was in a hurry so I stopped at 10 points – but we both know we could probably a lot more. :)

    Jeff

  3. Your points came up work! This was really helpful for me to have a conversation about the “work” we create for our audience as we work toward building a relationship with them.

  4. Jen – Great to hear that We all have to work, but if we make the experience enjoyable, it is always more productive. :)

    Jeff

  5. Hey nice article, over a year after publishing (an eternity online) I still find these points valid so thanks.

    Interestingly I seem to be the first to actually share the article (at least according to the social indicators) – I think this is indicative of when and how we ask for shares (in terms of the design).

  6. I’ve found that the best way to encourage sharing is to create engaging content. If you own a business and all you post is product shots nobody will want to share your content. If you post interesting content that relates to your product offering, you will have more success, you can read more at Portland Oregon’s Social Media Site

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