Do you sometimes feel like you’re trying to do too much?
Often we tend to try doing many things at a time without getting the expected results. Even though we’re 100% sure that everything is going as planned, time passes and our expectations are not fulfilled.
Do you also sometimes feel that nothing is progressing? Maybe you’re doing your best, but there is something that seems to be stopping you making headway?
I’m asking these questions because I’ve experienced many of those doubts. I realized that very often I forget that things are simple and I should keep them that way.
I know that it seems easier to start over with a new marketing plan when things don’t seem to work as planned or desired. But there is often no need to re-write the marketing plan, redesign the blog or website or to change the way you write. The value is often already there. You just need to optimize it or make a few changes
Ask yourself these questions
If you think your content is working, I encourage you do a simple exercise: Ask yourself these questions.
Do you enjoy writing?
Does it help with achieving your career goals?
Do you do it just for the sake of it?
Here are some other questions to consider:
What’s the purpose of the website? How does it support my online business? What am I trying to achieve?
So I would recommend you stop reading this post right now and spend 5 minutes answering those questions.
Once you’re done with this simple exercise, come back to take a look at the these three key hacks to improve your websites key assets and grow blog subscribers. These will make a big difference in converting casual visitors into loyal subscribers.
1. Quality content
Just imagine you are a beginner blogger in your area of passion and experience that you’re just starting to create content about. Where would you start?
The first topic area would be your collection of experiences and knowledge.
The second for content inspiration would be asking your readers about their biggest struggles. Survey tools allow you to set up a one-question survey that doesn’t interrupt their journey on your website. Another method is to send a simple, plain text email to your existing subscribers and ask them about their struggle concerning a specific topic.
The third source of inspiration maybe social media. I’m using Feedly to organize the content that’s going live from the industry’s most authoritative blogs. Also, Twitter is great to find ideas about what’s trending. Quora, TED and Brain Pickings are another three sites that I regularly visit to learn or to get inspired.
As far as expanding your area of knowledge day by day, one of the best tactics is to maintain a persistent reading habit. To come up with new ideas, try getting out of your comfort zone by reading different books, hanging around different people or even escaping the office to a local cafe.
2. Call to actions
The second most obvious asset that we as bloggers often forget about, is the website’s design concerning the call-to-actions. Best practice makes it mandatory to use the sidebar to let people know that they can subscribe with their email address to your RSS, newsletter or blog posts.
Another way to encourage people to subscribe is using incentives. If you have a ebook to offer, make sure to optimize it before using it as a hook to subscribe. Optimizing an ebook would involve:
Well structured content organized with bullets, highlighted subtitles and real world examples
This takes time. But it is worth investing the hours optimizing your book and then use it to encourage people to subscribe.
The last tip on using an effective “Call to Action” is placing them at the end of all posts. Insert a one line CTA at the end of the post.
Dedicating a page to drive the blog’s visitors to their destination doesn’t have to be complicated. You do it once and then test it to increase its conversion rate.
There are simple to use landing page builders, such as Unbounce or LeadPages. Then link them to your email service provider such as Mailchimp or Aweber. Using a double opt-in process helps with making sure that you build a healthy email list of subscribers.
Any subscribing landing page should include these 5 elements:
The value of subscribing. The content should answer the well known question, “What’s in it for me?”
The option to choose the frfrequencyf the emails
What’s important is to ensure that email marketing supports your content marketing efforts. It’s one of the the smartest ways to keep in contact with your subscribers and followers.
Make sure that you align your tone of voice, style and promises with the website’s content. If people change their perceptions when they open the emails from you, they might get confused and, become suspicious. Trust is not hard to get. You just have to be honest and never stop learning.
Author: Elena Dobre is learning about digital marketing, business and life at Marketizator.com, the complete conversion rate optimization tool. She plays the role of the content strategist, but she’s also experiencing with CRO and lead generation. She enjoys discovering new online tools, hacks, brilliant minds and beautiful souls. Follow her on Twitter @HDobre.
Social media marketing is in essence just two things. Distribution (social networks) and content (media).
Get them right and the rest follows. Increased traffic, brand awareness and sales.
But creating the content is one thing but making it move is another. That is why growing your social networks is so important. It puts the power in your hands. That is what excited me when I saw the potential of social for the first time. Access to a global market in real time at high speed.
Beyonce and her marketing gurus got it right when in December 2013, she bypassed mass media to launched her new album on her own social networks. There wasn’t one TV show or mass media channel to be seen.
We now have many social network choices. They are global and still can be “earned” and built directly with your own audience. It takes time but the application of persistent effort is rewarded with your own content delivery networks. Bigger is better.
It’s a long-term game.
You will also have to choose which networks you want to focus on. One is not enough and it also risky because as the social networks evolve they keep changing the game and their algorithms. It’s all your eggs in one basket thing. For many that is the Facebook bucket.
Let’s look at four. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram. There are many more but let’s focus on some of the majors!
Here are the key tips and tactics to grow your social networks without begging for permission.
Facebook has moved on from being a social network that allowed you to build followers and fans that received your updates in their timelines for free. It is now evolving to being more a “pay to play” platform. It means that to reach most of your fans you will need to pay for advertising.
This should not stop you from growing your Facebook distribution network but it just means you will have to be creative. Let’s look at some specific tactics to build fans and followers on Facebook.
Add a popup that appears after you have finished watching a video that politely inquires whether you want hang out with you on Facebook. This produced 419% more likes!
Add a hover banner that asks you to “like” your Facebook page. For Upworthy this added an increase in likes of 620%!
Twitter plays by its own rules.
It has kept its 140 character limit despite the jokes, the pressure to change by many of its followers and the demands to be more like Facebook or Google+.
It is misunderstood by many people who throw stones at it from the sidelines. Despite the knockers it has kept true to its initial design and constraints that don’t seem to fit it into an online world that is about bigger being better.
This succinct reporting has made it the channel of choice for breaking news. Twitter is now often seen popping up on the television screen as viewers interact with a show. The character limitation it demands lends itself to one liners that are often humorous, pithy and sharp.
Twitter has enhanced the art of comedy and the throw away quip.
Why should you bother increasing your Twitter followers?
Increasing your Twitter followers does have some distinct benefits for business and brands. Here are three worth mentioning
It increases brand awareness. What business doesn’t want that.
Distributes your content wider and faster. This can improve link building to your website and hence improving your organic SEO
Drive traffic to your blog or website. This can lead to more lead generation and sales.
So how do you double your Twitter followers?
The average Twitter account has a 126 followers and has tweeted 307 times. Doubling that number isn’t hard if you implement some of the following tips. And you can do much better than that if you apply a little focus and discipline.
Make sure your profile and “Bio” (which is limited to 160 characters) is to the point and attracts followers in your niche.
Tweet more often. Those with 15,000 plus tweets have between 100,000 to 1 million followers
Use hashtags. This will expand your tweet visibility
LinkedIn is the boring brother of Facebook and Twitter.
Sometimes you feel like shaking him and asking if if he knows what it’s like to have a little bit of fun. Comparisons continue to be made including the ones between Facebook and Linkedin. One I have heard that sums it up well is….”Facebook is like hanging out at a barbeque with friends while LinkedIn is the cocktail party“.
Compared to Twitter, the social media rock star that attracts the media spotlight and streams across the bottom of the television, LinkedIn is a bit buttoned up. It’s suit and tie versus jeans and t-shirt. Sometimes you feel like you should be prodding it with a stick.
But despite the comparisons, the jokes and the snide remarks, LinkedIn is not to be underestimated. It can connect you to powerful influencers, provide a focused ecosystem to share your content and be a B2B marketers best friend.
So what are some simple tips to be more effective on LinkedIn and make use of its global network of movers and shakers?
11 tips to double your LinkedIn connections
Sometimes the simplest tactics are forgotten that can make a big difference over time. With the majority of users having less than 500 connections these tips will provide the guidelines to take it beyond the 1,000 barrier.
Update your status daily. This could include posting your latest blog post, sharing an interesting Slideshare presentation or an article that is of value to your industry and niche
Participate in (or start) a LinkedIn group discussion weekly
Follow influencers and ask or answer questions on their posts
Join relevant LinkedIn groups and focus on 3-5 of these and stay active on each one
Send 5-10 new invites daily and personalize it. Don’t use the standard default invite request
Prominently display your contact information so you make it easy for people to contact you
Endorse people you know for their skills with no expectation of reciprocation
Promote your LinkedIn profile. Include it on your card, place it in your email signature and on your website/blog
Tweet your LinkedIn updates to Twitter.
Include links to your blog and website in your LinkedIn profile. This will help you build credibility by displaying your full online presence
Publish on LinkedIn’s publishing platform. This will increase your visibility and credibility and accelerates organic views and connections
Take the three addictive elements of photography, mobile and social and mix them together in one “App”. Then make it so easy to use that a frog with fingers could use it. Set it free and watch the creativity explode.
That is Instagram.
The social web is providing us with free publishing tools that allow us to create tempting 140 character text headlines and then micro blog on Twitter, record and upload an online video to YouTube and watch it go viral. Snap a photo on your smartphone that uploads to Instagram without thinking and it is visible on the web in seconds from Siberia to Oman.
We are all now publishers and creators of content. No longer waiting for the photo shop to develop the film. Now you can now shoot and publish online to the social network of your choice in less than 60 seconds.
That is why Kodak is disappearing.
Working out how to use that technology and tool to communicate and spread your brand message that engages and connects with prospects and customers is the creative bit.
Increasing your instagram followers
Now the same principles that you apply to Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin apply to Instagram.
Engagement with your audience
Apply the law of reciprocation
Great images (content)
But what are some ways to increase your Instagram followers that we haven’t covered before. How do we build that important independent digital distribution on Instagram?
1. Use a tool
There is a great tool Instagram manangement tool called Iconosquare suggested by an Irish friend of mine (Ian Cleary of Razorsocial.com), for managing Instagram that will allow you to respond easily and quickly to comments and allow faster interaction.
This will create and accelerate the acquisition of more loyal followers.
2. Connect Facebook and Twitter
You have created the content on Instagram and make sure that you then connect your social networks to distribute your content. This drives the building of a loyal following.
The top two are Facebook and Twitter but there are also 6 other options.
3. Run contests outside of Instagram
One way is to use the Gleam app for doing this. It will allow you to create the contest for Instagram, increases engagement, build followers and capture insights on your users including influencers.
When hashtags first emerged they were seen as only for geeks. The rumblings and rumours suggested that they would never catch on. But they did. Twitter was the first social network that adopted this strange habit in 2007.
Today the hashtag is used almost everywhere. They are even now appearing on TV, billboards and on the backs of buses!
But identifying the right hashtag is complex when it comes to social engagement and monitoring. It allows us to search conversations where our target customers mostly hang out. When you want to reach a large audience by launching a visual social campaign, then you can use hashtags. It seems like a pound symbol (#), but it is a powerful way to improve your reach to your target audience across different social media platforms.
Facebook was a slow adopter
It took some time for the social media giant Facebook to give in to the hashtag trend and it was dragged kicking and screaming into the hashtag fray in June 2013. But now this little symbol connects conversations on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr, YouTube, and Google+.
Here is the figure displaying the name of the social media networks that allows the use of hashtags for improving conversations with the target audiences:
The caption represented using the hashtag might contain any number of descriptive words, but words with hashtags specifically refer to the overall theme of the post. For example, if you want to share your picture of riding a bicycle in CP, New Delhi, you can share this picture using the hashtag and adding a little description like this:
“#Me on my #bicycle in #CP, New Delhi”
Using hashtags in front of words for explaining the picture helps in drawing the attention of the audiences towards you and your bicycle.
Important tactics for using hashtags in content
Using hashtags efficiently in social media content is a bit confusing for many social media marketers. You need to know the important tactics required for using these little symbols successfully.
Hashtags offer a vital link between digital marketing and communication.
1. Categorize your brand’s messages using hashtags
Hashtags have launched a new way of defining and categorizing topics of conversation over social media sites so that the audience can track down the posts related to an event or a group they were interested in. Hence, they are ideal for classifying the content, whether the posts are related to an imminent conference of your business or the products or services offered by your company.
When you upload the social media content, you can use the hashtags for describing its purpose and for adding value to what it is going to offer to the audience. Delineating posts using the hashtags help in promoting your business brand content.
Here is an example of Dairy Queen, which has labeled its Tumblr page posts using tags like #DairyQueens and #LoveMyDQ and it has also used the hashtags with its menu item flavors such as #chocolate, #Pumpkinpie, and #Cake for defining its branding pictures, animated graphics, videos in a better way. It will help its consumers find their social media content easily.
2. Expand your content reach
Hashtag not only helps in categorizing and describing your social media content, but it also helps in expanding the reach of your brand on a wider spectrum. By employing popular hashtags, which are commonly searched by the audience, you will significantly improve the visibility and sharing of your content.
Here is an example of Burt’s Bee, which has successfully attracted the attention of its audience to its latest #6SecondClassics branded videos by tweeting the clips with specific hashtags related to this campaign.
The popular hashtag used by this brand is #classic, which has helped Burt’s bee in expanding their reach among their audience.
Another example is Ford Fiesta, which has implemented the same strategy on Instagram. It has successfully complemented #FiestaMovement tag used for its cross country pictures of Ford Fiesta with famous hashtags like #Florida, #travel, and #malibu.
3. Start a topic trend with hashtags
While most of the popular hashtags used by you in your social media content help in increasing its visibility among the audience, they can also give you an opportunity to display your brand’s creativity. You can use the popular hashtags for defining your brand’s pictures over social media sites. One such example is Ben & Jerry, who have wisely adopted the “SharkWeek” hashtags of Discovery Channel in an attempt to capitalize the attention of the audience created by this weeklong TV program. Famous hashtags such as #SharkAfterDar, #Megalodon, and # SharkWeek were used for attracting the attention towards the shark themed posts of Ben & Jerry.
You can see that one of its branded picture feature a bucket full of Phish Food ice cream next to a fishing pole.
You can also invent the hashtags to promote your brand in a conventional way as this strategy has been successful for brands like MTV, which has modified the tag, #FollowMeMTV as #FollowMeFriday. It is a Twitter custom feature that allows other users to follow on the site.
4. Use the hashtags sparingly and wisely
It might sound counterintuitive, but it is important to use the hashtags sparingly and wisely to ensure good conversation settlement with your target audience. If you use too many hashtags in a single social media content post, your message will read like spam, which might deviate the social media content readers. There are different theories available over the internet related to the use of hashtags in a post, but it is considered safe to use one to three hashtags in a single post.
5. Choose simple hashtags
While choosing a hashtag for your social media content, it is important to ensure that your hashtags are easy to remember. Hashtags should be short and easy to spell or pronounce. It must exhibit the brief idea about the key topic of conversation.
While choosing your hashtag, you must consider your objectives, which is having your target audience come together for the conversation and also to ensure that it is easy to understand and remember.
Dancing with the Stars, is a perfect example, as it has used a short and simple hashtag, #DWTS for organizing people’s conversations about their show and engage with their consumers.
When you employ hashtags in your social media strategy, the solution is to ensure you are utilizing the right hashtags at the right place to make sure you are reaching your target audience in an optimistic way. If you follow these five steps wisely while executing your hashtag strategy wih your social media content, you’ll be able to select a hashtag that is not only outstanding and unique but will bring your audience with you.
Keep in mind that it is acceptable to use universal hashtags such as #marketing or #webinars. Use various hashtags if the topic is right, but do not confuse by including too many hashtags.
Using hashtags could be fruitless for the brands if done inaccurately. So how your brand can utilize the power of hashtags depends on how effectively you have created hashtags while adhering to the five key social media content strategy discussed above.
There is a big increase in the number of brands realizing the real value of using hashtags but getting creative while choosing hashtags for your brand will yield better results.
Author Bio: Sandeep Sharma holds a decade of experience in designing and developing user friendly responsive websites. He also has a passion of connecting with people on social media. He can be reached at Google Plus
Want to start your blog today? It’s easier than you think!
Search engines on average will drive 300% more traffic than social media. So how do you let Google know you exist?
One tactic is to put more focus on quality content. But content on its own can’t make you rank in “Top 10″ search results. You should also take into account the importance of link building.
Link building is the most significant but also the most challenging aspect of optimizing your blog or website for search engines.
It has significant effects on how your website ranks in search engines. But what is “link building“?
“It is the process of attracting and establishing inbound links to your website which help your website achieve higher ranking with search engines and drive targeted traffic to your site“.
But there is a lot of buzz about how Google reacts to unnatural and spammy backlinks. Google is always updating its algorithms and changing the game by releasing Penguin updates that give you penalties for using unnatural ways of getting backlinks on your websites.
I’ve learned through hard work many search engine marketing tactics that can benefit your business. I’ve chosen the top 10 best strategies that I’ve implemented. Each one has resulted in great success.
Here they are!
It is one of my favourite SEO ways to get good links within 15 minutes. It is an awesome content curation basement where people gather interesting content over the web and publish them in a magazine format.
Lots of these Scoop.it pages have high PR like 3 and more. This type of publications draws much attention via social engagement.
How do you do it?
Chose the category of your post or infographic you want to share, find the closely related Scoop it page and suggest your post. Based on my experience, 50 % accept them within a day what means a good amount of quality backlinks for 15 minutes of your work.
2. Finding broken links
This method is time-consuming and scalable. You should get much patience to find links that have 404 errors.
It is a real problem that it takes a lot of time and effort.
There are many companies that moved and changed their brand names, therefore, the links were deleted. I guess this tactic is totally worthy to spend time and efforts to gain these killer links.
How to find these broken links? In Google search you can use the following search strings that allow you to find some of them:
“SEO” + “resource page”
“Seo” + “recommended sites”
“Seo” + “useful links”
“Seo” + “toolbox”
“Seo” + “resources”
“Seo” + “useful tools”
So, as soon as you find pages, check whether all the links are working well. When you find such kind of broken links, you can instantly contact the owner of the website and inform him about this crap-shoot.
I can recommend you to use the Chrome Extension Check My Links. It will help you to find out all broken links that are highlighted in red.
Replacing dead links in Wikipedia
I guess you’ve noticed some dead links on Wikipedia pages. They don’t instantly remove these links and just add a footnote with the link “dead link”. That will give you a chance to replace it with your link.
You can find these links with the next search string:
site:wikipedia.org SEO + “dead link”
Or you can check out with the tool WikiGrabber to find all dead links on Wikipedia. After you find a dead link, you need to recreate it on your site and replace it with your link in Wikipedia.
3. Monitor competitor’s backlinks
It can seem kind of creepy to keep track of competitors’ backlinks, but I can make sure you will get a lot of great ideas how to get quality links based on them.
Before monitoring them you should figure out your top competitors in SERP, I actually use SE Ranking tool to monitor my top competitors. As soon as you get their target keywords, enter them into your backlink tool like Webmeup or Ahrefs, you will get a diverse list of backlinks linking to their sites.
Weekly or monthly checkups will help you to stay awake with what SEO tactics your competitors use to acquire links and draw up a plan how to replicate as many links as possible.
4. Getting the most out of Infographics
Creating and submitting infographics is the most effective and powerful link building strategy in SEO. It taps into the visual content marketing trend and Visual.ly is one of the leaders in this segment.
Most people try to stay away from this method, creating a professional infographic costs a pretty penny. But you can easily create by yourself with the following resources:
Personally, I use the last one. It has a good functional and various themes, even for free users.
You can also find some freelancers on Odesk or Freelancer that will do it at low cost.
Just few points you should keep in mind:
Include only real data sources
Embed your website link in the infographic source code (probably, someone will use this info-graphic on his website and you will get a good backlink)
Use attractive design
Be brief. Don’t blur your facts in text
Limit the size of your infographic to 1500 pixels
Use statistics that will make the info-graphic more actionable
Share it via social networks
To get the most out of your infographic, you can offer bloggers to post it as a guest post. You can also share you work on above-listed websites, or you can find the submission sites with the search strings:
inurl: submit infographic
intitle: submit infographic
When you submit an info-graphic, make sure to write a unique description with 200-300 words to take real advantage from it. With this form of creativity, you will make your campaign successful in your niche.
5. Answer online
Businesses need not only to build up quality links, but also build good relationships with customers. Monitor the activity of your potential customers and check out how they are doing online.
They will gather in groups to discuss some items on forums and blogs. Try to monitor all the activities online. You can check on Yahoo answers, topical forums, Quora and etc. You can use Google Alerts and add your keywords to track any mentions about your service. Try be helpful and user-friendly, don’t be spammy.
It can take some time, but it will pay off. You can gain a good authority on the websites. People will know you and follow you. They will start linking to your website to get additional awesome content.
6. Reverse guest posting
Reverse guest posting is the opposite of guest posting. The idea is that you find guest bloggers to write a good content for your website.
The idea of reverse guest posting works completely in a different way. You don’t need to find just any bloggers that have time to write a content. The main idea is to build up a good relationship with authority and famous bloggers. Ask them for content for your blog.
What are the benefits of reverse guest posting?
Effective mechanism to build relationships
The post can be shared via social media by that blogger
Fantastic way to place that link
Show your readers a new perspective
You have control of the process of reverse guest posting
How Does Reverse Guest Posting Work for you?
You should figure out what you want to get out of a guest writer and define the subject of guest articles. How often you want him to contribute on the blog.
It is easy to make a list of famous bloggers you want to work with. Make some research and find other bloggers you can’t know them.
Contact these bloggers and talk to them about this opportunity.
Few steps how to reach out google bloggers:
Use Twitter search to get bloggers with search query “guest post SEO”
Use Google with search strings “guest post by”, “guest blog by” and specify your topic
Use the websites you already know or ask others for any recommendations
You will be surprised with how many bloggers will want to talk to you.
7. Blogger reviews
Reviews about products, software or services are one of the best ways to get good backlinks at scale. It is especially good for e-commerce websites.
How do you catch the attention of bloggers? You can offer some free stuff and they may start reviewing it on their sites. It is quite an intensive and time-sapping process. You need to find bloggers, contact them, send them products, wait for product reviews and send email reminders.
It is a hard work!
Try to find bloggers in your niche. If you sell some products or information that can help people to learn something, for example, “ways how to make coffee”, you should use search strings like “how to make coffee”, “make coffee home” and etc.
You will get a list of bloggers and filter out authority websites. So, right now you have to reach out them with the following email template:
Make sure what you are writing. Check your language and grammar mistakes. Don’t be too spammy. I want to note that you don’t ask them to post your links and reviews. You just let them take a decision about your product.
8. Get feedbacks about your website
This is an easy mechanism of getting backlinks. I’ve met a bunch of feedback websites where you can get a dofollow backlink. You should register, submit your website, write a small description about it. I love ConceptFeedback.com website, but before submitting your website you should leave five reviews on other websites.
Or you can find them in Google using search queries “website feedbacks”, “site review”, “website customer review”.
9. Quality links from brand mentions
Monitoring any mentions about your brand or product is a good way to get quality backlinks. It is vital to know what customers think about you online. You can use Mention tool to track all mentions about your business.
It works fine for me. You should create an alert like for Google Alerts and you will get mentions about your brand or service. If you notice someone mentions about you without a link, you can contact that person, tell him thank you and ask him kindly to place a link to your product.
You can use the following email template to outreach:
Following this tactic, you can gain a bunch of quality backlinks.
10. Reverse image search
Reverse image search is something new and totally different from the other link building tactics. It is one of the greatest way to get links.
If you manage a website and use only quality images, you should keep track of your image theft. You can take some advantages from theft to gain quality links.
So, how to do that?
In Google image search you can enter the search string like site:yoursite.com and you will get all images on your website that Google has indexed. Click on images and see how they are displayed.
If you find out someone is using them without your link, you can reach out the admin and let him know about it. Site owners, usually, try to avoid any conflicts, and you will have a high rate of response to your email. Don’t forget to mention that the image is originally from your website and ask them to place an attribution backlink.
To simplify your SEO process, you can use TinEye to check all images that are used by other people from your website.
It is a call time on posting…
I’ve mentioned just my favourite ways of intact link building tactics out there. Take enough time to digest them and check out how they will work for you.
If you know any other effective link building tactics, I will be more than happy to hear them.
Do you want to create posts that people can’t wait to share?
Do want to maximize the social media ROI for your posts and stand out among the sea of content being churned out every day?
Creating shareable content boils down to understanding the mind of your audience. You can then understand exactly what makes them tick…or not.
What elements cause them to share?
The better understanding you have of the mind of your audience, the more effectively you’ll be able to create shareable content.
It’s important to remember that there is still a person behind that computer. Understand how they think, and you can fine-tune your content so that it gets shared more frequently.
In this article, you’ll learn the science behind what makes people share. You’ll discover 10 ways to create content that your fans can’t wait to discuss and share.
I have also included advanced tactics as a bonus, so be sure to read all the way to the end to get your copy.
First, let’s examine why people share content.
The psychology of why people share
The NY Times Insights Group published a study that highlighted the key factors that cause people to share content. Sharing, according to the study, is closely tied to our relationships with others. The study outlined the following key motivations for people to share:
To define ourselves to others
To bring valuable and entertaining content to others
To grow and nourish relationships
To get the word out about causes and brands we care about.
Another study involving the NY Times found that creating emotive content could lead to increased sharing. Content is more likely to be shared if it is funny, moving, illuminating, inspiring, shocking, cute, controversial or sexy, or if it leaves the user feeling fearful or in awe. The Journal of Science published a study on the psychology of sharing in 2011 which supported the above study on emotions by saying:
“The sharing of stories or information may be driven in part by arousal. When people are physiologically aroused, whether due to emotional stimuli or otherwise, the autonomic nervous is activated, which then boosts social transmission.”
What do the studies mean for those looking to create shareable content?
Simply this – stories are an effective way of conveying emotive content.
The studies also mean that there is a science to creating shareable content. No, it’s not an exact science, but, by following certain guidelines, you dramatically increase your chances of getting your content shared by playing to the wants, needs and psychology of your audience.
Social media is often used to point to longer form content, which can include stories; however, a story in this context could be a photo, vine or video clip.
Here are 6 guidelines to help increase the chances of your content being shared.
Appeal to your audience’s motivation to connect with each other (not just with your brand).
Tell a story.
Credibility needs to be established, as does trust, which is the cost of getting shares.
Keep the message simple.
Appeal to positive emotions like inspiration, illumination or amusement to build a positive brand connection.
Embed a sense of urgency.
Here are 10 ways to create contagious content.
1. Leverage social validation
We all have a strong desire for approval. The Power of Likes study found that social media users were more likely to up-vote a pre-liked comment.
Author Robert Cialdini conducted a study in which researchers participating in door-to-door charity campaigns found that people were more likely to donate when the list of prior donors was longer. In addition, when the list included people that the prospect knew – such as friends and neighbours – they were even more likely to donate.
How to do it online
Social Media Examiner has sharing buttons with share counts clearly visible in a vertical floating bar for each of their posts.
Conversion Rate Experts helped South American flower delivery company daFlores nearly double their revenue.
They discovered that some visitors to the website had never heard of the company before. So, they replaced the rotating banner with a static image that read “¡GRACIAS a nuestros mas de 600,000 seguidores en Facebook!” (“Thanks to our 600,000+ Facebook fans.”).
The result was a 44% increase in sales simply by adding social media proof of the firm’s popularity.
2. Use good news
Consider the following studies:
Author Jonah Berger examined around 7,000 New York Times articles which had been shared, and found that positive news was more likely to go viral.
A study by BuzzSumo also found that the most common emotions invoked by articles that were shared were awe, laughter and amusement.
A study by Ipsos showed that 61% of people shared interesting things, 43% of people shared funny things and 29% of people shared unique content.
How to do it online
Buzzfeed and Upworthy are masters at creating reactive content. Content that triggers positive high arousal emotions, along with headlines that evoke curiosity and awe, is more likely to be shared.
According to Jakob Nielsen, 16% of users read web copy word for word, while 79% read by scanning a page and picking out individual words and sentences.
Design and look matter even when it comes to written content. Organizing content in a way that is easily scannable and has a clear eye path will increase engagement.
Using subheaders, breaking up blocks of text, and picking an easily readable font will all help readers engage with your content.
How to do it online
Apple are masters of delivering pleasing aesthetics on the web, as well as in their print ads. Here are a few guidelines they follow:
Use a headline with a large font to highlight one big idea.
Use sub-headlines before each paragraph, or at the very least after 2-3 paragraphs, to keep scanners curious and engaged.
Use the inverted pyramid structure in writing your content. Essentially, this structure entails starting with your most important point and then following on with less important points. The least important points come last. This way, those who scan the content will be able to pick up on the key points quickly.
Use bullet points that fascinate and intrigue your audience
4. React fast
Oreo’s tweet and Facebook post during the Super Bowl blackout generated a huge amount of buzz, mainly because they were subtle and timely. They reacted to an unexpected event and, in doing so, created a powerful ad on the most expensive advertising day of the year.
How to do it online
Being able to react to the moment is now possible for even the smallest businesses, thanks to smartphones and their cameras. Share breaking news, experiences or exchanges to engage your audience.
If you know there is a conference going on that is closely aligned to your business, and you know what the hashtag for the conference is, you could leverage that by sending out relevant tweets incorporating the hashtag.
5. Load it with emotional appeal
In his book Descartes Error, Antonio Damasio, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Southern California, explains that emotion is a necessary ingredient in almost all decisions. This has been backed by a study conducted by researchers Raj Ragunathan and Szu-Chi Huang at the University of Texas in Austin.
How to do it online
People are more likely to share content that creates a visceral response. How do you know whether your content has visceral response?
Do a “gut check” to ensure the content is on the right track.
Did it make you LOL?
Did you feel that you were going to embarrass yourself in front of your co-workers with tears?
The chances are that if you don’t feel it, others won’t either.
A deciding factor by Upworthy staff writer Adam Mordechai in publishing a documentary about the late Zach Sobiech was the fact he cried while watching it the first time, and then cried again the second time he watched it.
6. Use a great story
Many of our buy decisions are based on emotional drivers, and not the rational benefits or features of the product. Great stories tend to be emotional, and not just dramatic.
For example, the Dutch funeral insurance company, Dela, created a deeply emotional story around their product. They asked people to share what they would tell a loved one before they died. The stories are touching and moving; so much so, we want to pass them on and reach out to our own parents, friends or relatives to tell them how important they are to us.
Great stories can even take the form of the written word. Jon Morrow wrote an article titled On Dying Mothers and Fighting for Your Ideas which resonated with Copyblogger’s large audience, inspiring them in their content marketing efforts.
How to do it online
So, how do you write stories that build emotional connections?
Here are a few tips:
Show, don’t tell. In other words, show the audience what is happening in the story rather than telling them. Use descriptive words that evoke deeper feelings for the characters and their circumstances.
Create characters people relate to and care about. Use your audience buyer personas as characters to drive an even deeper relationship with your business. When your audience can relate to your characters, they will organically begin connecting emotionally.
Your story isn’t a standalone story. The story should be part of a broader long-term story arc. The obstacles that your characters need to get past should be ones that your audience can identify with, motivating them to root for your characters. Standalone stories lose out on the potential to build long-term relationships. Leave your audience hanging with the promise of more, just like the best tv fiction series do at the end of each episode.
Stay true to your brand promise. Red Bull, for example, has a brand image of adventure, extreme sports and freedom. The company’s stories provide consistency as they focus on a variety of characters, each living the Red Bull lifestyle.
7. Leverage controversy
If some people hate it and others love it, it’s more likely to get shared. A paper by Zoey Chen and Jonah Berger in the October, 2013 edition of the Journal of Consumer Research examined the way controversial topics affect people’s willingness to talk about them. The study found that content on moderately controversial topics had, on average, more comments than content on highly controversial topics.
Moderately controversial topics tend to evoke just enough anger to have an impact, which is the most effective emotive trigger for creating viral content.
How to do it online
The internet hoax Bonsai Kitten is an example. People loved or hated the thought that it was animal cruelty.
Derek Halpern used this trigger in an article titled – The “Content is King” Myth Debunked. In it, he suggested that design is king, and not content. This created controversy and generated a fair amount of discussion among content marketers who were used to the “Content is King” conversation, and among web designers who felt their own work was being validated in the post. The post worked because it was something that people did not expect. It therefore engaged their attention, encouraging them to keep reading, commenting and sharing the article with others. It worked well for Derek in terms of getting both attention and readers.
8. Make your audience look smart and classy.
According to research, people are 25% more likely to buy a product they would be proud to own, and 25% less likely to buy if a social media sharing button is placed anywhere near the product.
How to do it online
Poo-Pourii handles a delicate subject tactfully with their video and social media posts
Some people focus their social media sharing on professional or business-centered pursuits. In this space, you can engage your audience by bringing thought leadership into your area. Studies, infographics, research, statistics, and actionable content that provides some practical value, can be a focus of content that you share.
If you provide a significant benefit to this group, they are likely to share it with others. Here is an example of a tweet sharing a post and infographic on Jeff Bullas’ blog.
In a survey by the NY Times, 68% of people said they shared to give people a better sense of who they are and what they care about.
Non-profit and philanthropic organisations in particular can benefit from this kind of sharing, as can any business that supports a cause. Those who share in order to support causes or issues are already motivated, and only need a slight incentive to pass along related content.
For example, Surf Dog Richochet posted this dog photo on Facebook. Pet Supplies Company Iams had agreed to donate 50 bowls of pet food for shelter animals for every comment on the photo, up to 1 million bowls. They reached the 1 million bowls mark in 24 hours and still the comments kept coming.
Share causes and concerns that relate to your business values, and engage your community and audience through campaigns like the one above.
10. Juicy gossip
Why do people gossip? Usually, it’s because the information is simply too good not to share. The most appealing gossip tends to be both surprising and interesting. Such content gets shared because it pulls a little from humor, a little from emotion, and a little from the self-definition categories.
How to do it online
HelloFlo, a tampon subscription service, touched upon an often delicate subject for women with their Camp Gyno ad, which tackles the subject with honesty, humor and heart. The ad turned into a viral hit, attracting close to 6 million views in its first month online.
While it is hard to define such content, most people know it when they see it. So keep an eye out for cool, unique stuff being shared. Make a note of common themes and executions to help you create your own zeitgeist.
Creating contagious content
There are many ways to create socially shareable contagious content, and your analytics and graph search will help you with preliminary research with regard to what your audience is interested in.
As you try out one or more of the ways of creating shareable content, be sure to measure your engagement rate in order to provide insights into how people talk about your post. This will allow you to see what is, and what isn’t, working, and to continue to improve the quality of your content
However, make sure you are spending as much time getting your content out in front of your audience and influencers as you do actually creating it. Be sure to get your 5 advanced tactics as well.
So what did you think? Have you seen a jump in shares or engagement? Let us know in the comments below.