What does a review of 100 million articles could reveal?
A recent report published by Buzzsumo found that the average sharing of content on social networks has declined. One of the reasons for this is the competition. There is just too much content being published daily.
On the WordPress.com platform alone, around 80 million posts are published every month. And that excludes the majority of WordPress websites, which are self-hosted.
Another factor for this decline is that social networks like Facebook are restricting the reach of pages.
Facebook’s new algorithm gives precedence to posts from people over pages in the newsfeed as their research found that users prefer this. It has resulted in fewer people seeing the posts shared by company pages.
This is why if you are serious about getting more traffic from social media, you need to proactively implement strategies that will get people to share your articles as much as possible.
Just adding share buttons and sharing it via your pages won’t help you combat the competition and dwindling social media engagement.
Therefore, to help you get powerful results, I am going to share the top strategies to increase social media sharing of your content…
How to increase social media share when the competition is high?
1. Write the best content:
As aforementioned, a lot of content is being published. If you want to stand out, creating good content is no longer sufficient. Your content should be the best! People will only want to share your content with their followers instead of your competitors’ content if they think yours is better. So, here are some tips to help you create the best content…
Write longer posts:
A study from Buzzsumo and OkDork that analyzed over 1 million blog posts found that longer posts get the most shares.
As you can see in the above graph, posts that are between 0 and 1000 words get the least shares, and as the length of posts increases, they get more shares.
According to Orbit Media’s survey, most bloggers write posts that are between 500 and 1000 words long.
Therefore, to compete with them, you should write posts that are more than 1,500 words long. Only a minor percentage of people write longer posts.
If you have a dedicated content team, you should produce two to three posts of this length every week. But if you are strapped for time, you can write just one blog post that is 1,500+ words every week or once every two weeks.
An added benefit of writing longer posts is that they rank higher in search engines, as found by this study from Backlinko.
Posts that appear on the first page of Google have an average word count of 1,890 words. So before writing your long blog post, conduct some thorough keyword research and strategically use these terms naturally in your post.
The aforementioned study from Buzzsumo also found that posts with at least one image get more shares on Facebook and on Twitter.
So, include images in your posts. These can be graphs, stock photos, screenshots, and anything else that will complement it.
But if you want to gain traffic from a specific social network, you must optimize your post keeping that social network’s image preferences in mind.
For e.g. if you want to optimize it for Facebook you should add an image that is 560 X 292 pixels. After that, you should set the page to pick the image when you share it. This can be done with a popular SEO plugin like Yoast.
Just scroll down to the Yoast SEO settings and click the share option. Here you can upload the image you would like it to pick.
You can even add a separate Facebook title and description if you don’t want the meta title and description to be shared.
You can also set it to pick a default image if you are using an advanced social sharing plugin like Social Snap.
An example of a post with a well-optimized cover image is this one on the Tailwind blog.
As you can see they have a beautiful cover image at the top. Look what happens when I click the Facebook share button.
The same image appears as the Facebook page thumbnail as it was not only optimized for Facebook but was set to be automatically picked when the share button is clicked.
If you don’t optimize your post this way, Facebook might pick another image that is less enticing and won’t drive the same results.
Another thing you will notice when you scroll down to the bottom of this page is that they have a taller image with the same design style present. It automatically gets picked when you click the pin it button.
This way of using the same design style you used for your Facebook page to quickly design a Pinterest optimized image is something you must do as well.
This is because, after Facebook, Pinterest drives the second-highest number of social media referrals.
It beats other popular networks like Instagram, Twitter and Reddit.
For best results make sure your Pinterest optimized image is 600 X 900 pixels as this size is recommended by the network.
You can again use Social Warfare to set this image as the default one to be picked when Pinterest’s ‘Save’ button is clicked.
Publish original research:
Original research content can bring in a lot of traffic and social shares. As this content is unique, more people will read and share it.
If you are marketing a SaaS product, you can find out the questions your audience wants to be answered and then provide solutions with unique data.
An example of a company that successfully executed this successfully is Curalate.
They are an Instagram marketing tool, so they analyzed over 8,000,000 images and figured out images with which characteristics get the most likes.
Back then when people shared Instagram tips, they just wrote about the usual stuff, but this Infographic had some unique information so it stood out.
If you haven’t already got data like this, you can gather it by conducting a survey like Orbit Media did for their above mentioned Blogging Statistics and Trends Survey.
Some 1377 bloggers took part in the survey and answered questions like:
- The amount of time they spent writing a post
- How frequently they publish
- Their average article word counts.
Orbit Media then illustrated the data with beautiful graphs and explained them in a detailed blog post.
2. Get help from the right influencers:
If you want to get more post shares, you need to convince the right influencers to share it. It will give it that initial spark.
Of course, sharing content on your social networks will help a little, but your shares’ effectiveness will be in no comparison to a share from an authoritative, relevant influencer with lots of engaged followers.
When reaching out to influencers, the mistake most people make is contacting strangers out of the blue and asking them for a favor.
Instead, what you should do is contact influencers you have already built a relationship with. As they know you, they will be more likely to share.
A great technique to start with is employee advocacy.
This is a sharing strategy where you provide your employees with suggested content to share.
As you have already built a relationship with them, they will be more interested in sharing. In fact, 50% of employees post social media content about their employers.
If you have a strategy in place and provide your employees with the right content, you should be able to drive a lot of shares and traffic.
To help you with this, you can use an employee advocacy tool like Smarp. Your employees will be able to see your updates on either the Smarp website or app.
They can then directly share it, or schedule shares, on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and more.
The average employee has 470 friends on Facebook, 370 Twitter followers, and 348 Linkedin connections, according to Smarp’s research.
So, the shares from your employees will help your content reach a lot of people – especially on Facebook, because, as I mentioned earlier, their algorithm now gives priority to posts from people over pages.
As your employees share your content, they too will develop their brand and attract the right followers. This will be even more beneficial to you in the long run.
While executing employee advocacy, essentially developing your team of in-house influencers, you should also take steps to build mutually beneficial relationships with externals influencers.
So, search for influencers, and share their posts, feature them on your site, link to their posts, and then inform them about it.
To find influencers who share content similar to yours you can use a tool like Epicbeat.
Here you can search keywords and it will find popular content published on that topic.
After that, if you click on ‘View Sharers in the Last 7 Days,’ it will show you all the people who shared the content in that period.
Go through all these sharers and make a note of their names, their social media accounts, and their website addresses on a spreadsheet. Next, reach out to them through email, as you can send a detailed message. You should be able to find their email address on their website or by using an outreach tool.
If you can’t find their email address, you can just send them a message on social media.
For best results, target smaller influencers, as the top ones are usually overwhelmed with requests every day. It will be easier to form relationships with influencers who are at the same level as you.
After you have provided a favor, they will be more likely to help you back in the future. Together you can help each other grow.
This method of building a relationship with influencers first might take a lot of time, but it is long-lasting and more effective.
Note: You should only help influencers if you want to. Don’t get upset if they do not want to return the favor. There could be scores of reasons why they will not want to share your content.
3. Optimize content for social media sharing:
I saved the best for the last.
Once internal and external influencers share your content, you should start to see some rise in traffic and engagement. To get the maximum out of these visits, you must optimize your content for sharing, as these new visitors will then share it with their followers and the cycle will repeat.
Your primary goal, of course, will vary, depending on your blog and business goals. You might prefer focusing on generating more leads and sales over just driving more shares and traffic. But as this post is focused on audience acquisition via peer-to-peer sharing, I have made it the focal point.
Here are a couple of tactics you can use to get visitors to share…
Only include a few share buttons:
When people realize that adding share buttons gets more shares, one of the biggest mistakes they make is adding share buttons of all the major social networks.
This can actually hurt sharing rates as too many choices can confuse readers.
It is similar to the supermarket jam experiment, where too many samples lead to fewer sales.
Therefore, what you should do instead is analyze your data and see which social networks drive the highest traffic and shares and then only add share buttons to these sites.
An example can be seen on Upworthy, where they only add share buttons for Facebook and Twitter.
This ensures that they get the maximum shares from these two networks. As they only have two share buttons, it also gives them the space to make them really big.
Place share buttons in the middle of the post:
Another tactic that works is placing share buttons in the middle of the post and not just at the beginning and the end like most blogs do. Some blogs like Coschedule already do this with Twitter.
They place a ‘Click to Tweet’ box with the exact message that will be Tweeted. If you click the Tweet button you can share it on Twitter.
You can add click to tweet easily if you are using Social warfare WordPress plugin. There is also a free alternative called better click to tweet out there that you can use as well.
It works really well when you make it easy for people to share statistics like in the above screenshot.
Make Content Scannable:
Make your article easy to browse through. Within a few seconds, a reader decides whether he wants to read content or not. If your content is cluttered and not properly structured, it’s highly probable that the readers will click away before even knowing how great your content was.
Let’s take an example from ShoutMeLoud:
Both the images are from the same blog post. However, the top image is the unformatted version, and the other a formatted version. Which one do you think a reader would like to spend time on?
Use bullets, lists, and Highlight:
If you see blogs such as ScoopWhoop, BuzzFeed, Entrepreneur, or ShoutMeloud, you will notice a lot of usage of bullet points and lists type articles.
The reason is:
- Lists are easy to scan and read
- Captures readers attention
- It stands out from the rest of the blog post
Apart from using lists and bullets, you can also highlight the important sections or sentences of your blog post. Your aim should be to format in a way that even if the reader reads out just the highlight points and the lists, he should be able to get the gist of the article.
Your sub-heading should be able to tell what that particular section is all about. For example, in this particular post, I have used two major sub-headings, “why is formatting important”‘ and “Killer tips for formatting”. By just reading the sub-headings, it gives you an idea of what the section is all about plus it also draws readers’ attention towards it.
Use headings tags wisely in WordPress. H1 tag is for blog titles. H2 tag is the sub-heading of the H1 tag and the H3 tag is the sub-heading of the H2 tag.
Use the Inverted Pyramid Method:
We have been always told to start with the foundation of the blog post and then move towards the conclusion. However, it’s always better to start with the conclusion and then move towards the body of the blog post. The initial few lines should explain to the reader that why are they reading the post and what’s in for them.
See this graphic from Coschedule:
Now use these strategies to increase social media sharing of your content…
Content marketing has become immensely competitive.
Therefore, if you want to stand out and get more shares and traffic from social media.
You should make a stronger effort to prompt audience members to share their content with their own followers.
As shown above, this should include creating better content and spending a lot of time promoting it with influencer outreach.
You must also optimize your posts for sharing so that the new visitors the above two tactics send will also share your posts.
What steps do you take to increase the social media sharing of your content?
Did I forget to include anything important? Please leave your comments below.
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