There you are… almost ready to click “Post.” You’re a little giddy because you just know this post is going to roll in the “likes.” You’ve cleverly drummed up the perfect balance of allure and wit.
Nope — nothing. Your post never gains any traction and quickly fizzles out. But you felt so good about this post. What could have gone wrong?
It’s no secret that crafting shareworthy content is a challenge. Getting people to share your message is no easy feat — but it’s crucial. Why? Social advocacy. By that, I mean harnessing the ability to convince people to represent your brand by adopting your message as their own. The marketing world values the power of word-of-mouth, and so does social media. People trust their peers more than they trust you. As an institution, we’re selling messages and ideas — not products. Nevertheless, “sales” go up as soon as people begin advocating for your social goods. Here’s 7 tips for crafting sharewothy content.
1. Transport Yourself
Get your Mrs. Doubtfire on. Close your eyes and become one with your target demographic. Ask yourself: As a member of our audience, is this what I would want to see? How will this phrasing translate to someone sitting on their couch reading this post? The more in-tune you are with your audience, the better chance you have of creating something that your audience will relate to and potentially share with their own network. Get to know your people by examining the “Insights” feature on Facebook or conduct research of your own.
2. Keep Up With The Kardashians
Keep tabs on what’s trending in the world, and get in on it while it’s hot. Don’t miss the window of opportunity to be a part of the larger discussion before whatever is trending saturates your audience’s newsfeed and becomes old news. Being late to the game is an easy way to lose credibility and get benched in place of someone else. If you can find a way to adapt the trending topic to relate back to your brand, you’ll have better odds of getting your followers to share your content, because they too want to be part of the larger discussion.
The Dress: The Denver Broncos successfully put their own spin on “The Dress,” which took the Internet by storm earlier this year. This image performed very well on their Facebook page.
3. Start The Ignition
What gets your people fired up? For us, it’s Ram Pride. When you’ve invested at least four years of your life into an institution, it becomes a part of who you are. On the same note, anything that poses a threat to that sense of pride is automatically an ignition starter. Case in point? Our in-state rivals: The CU Buffs. The 2014-2015 athletic season was good to us Rams, and we weren’t afraid to make that known. Very known. We posted this graphic illustrating our dominance over the Buffs, and our audience did the rest of the work for us. They blew this up across social media. Why? Because it fit into their “personal brand” of Ram Pride and made a statement for themselves — not for Colorado State’s Facebook page.
4. Take Your Followers Out To Dinner
Not really. That would be weird. Here’s the point: You get to know someone the more you spend time with them. You’ll soon learn what foods they hate and songs they love. This goes the same for your social audience. Test the waters and see what types of material your audience reacts to best. Fort Collins has a tremendous local music scene, but we’ve spent many hours creating media promoting local music and have arrived at the conclusion that our Facebook audience simply isn’t as interested in this as we thought they might be. You live and you learn.
Tip: Go to analytics.twitter.com and click “Followers” on the top tab. Here, you can see what unique interests are popular among your followers.
Our audience responds very well to nostalgic content. The CSU campus became home to our alumni during the time they spent here. Hours were spent studying in the Morgan Library. Games were played on the intramural fields. And then life takes people in different directions after graduation, and we’ve discovered that getting a blast from the past on Facebook is something our followers desire. Take advantage of this opportunity to show how architecture has changed, new ways people are using old things, or ask people to share their own memories from an image you post. An image that triggers a strong emotional response from your audience is likely to be shared.
6. Capture Them Quickly
One good way to have your content ignored is to post a lot of it. This is a good chance for you to transport yourself like I mentioned above. As someone scrolls through their newsfeed while sitting in line at the fast-food drive through, will they take the time to read your paragraph? Probably not. Two good ways to circumvent this issue is to keep your text short and to implement visuals. Catch their eye before someone else does. If you don’t, you’ll never even have the chance for your content to be shared.
7. Make It About Them, Not You
People are naturally drawn toward stories that are about them or could be about them. I personally wouldn’t share something on my own Facebook page if it didn’t have at least something to do with me or make a statement that I could relate to. Each social share is a reinforcement of one’s identity. Our alumni identify as Rams long after they’ve graduated, so we leverage this self-identification to amplify our messages through identity-based shares.