I admit it. I am addicted. For some people, it's TV. For others, it's football. Not me. When this blog post goes live, even as you read it, I will be obsessively checking out the "score" on Sharetally. I love to see how much reach my content has on social media.
You should, too.
I am not saying you should be as addicted to it as I am, nor that you need to watch it spread. That really does not matter. But you should care that it does spread, and you should make every effort to ensure that it spreads widely.
- Content that spreads reaches more people.
- Content that spreads builds up your follower base.
- Content that spreads gets blogged about more.
- Content that spreads lifts your search engine rankings.
Increasing your content's social media reach can be done in many ways. In fact, it should be done in many ways. Here are four-and-a-half ways that are most critical.
1. Your Content Should Be Share Worthy
First, and perhaps most obvious, you content should be highly share worthy. Think about what people share the most. They share articles that are highly useful. They share content that is shocking, bizarre, inspirational, or cute. They love to share images, especially of cats and bikinis (but NOT cats in bikinis — that's just disturbing).
No need to go into creating share-worthy content here; there are several articles on this blog that already cover that topic, such as creating content for B2B and how to generate ideas for original content.
2. Make Sure You Have a Loyal Audience
Second, make sure to have a native audience. That means you have lots and lots of followers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram or Google+. The more the merrier, and the more social channels you have covered, the better. A huge email subscriber list is great, too.
These are the people you can count on; people highly likely to see your content, and at least some of them highly disposed to share it after reading.
2.5. Co-Opt Someone Else’s Readership
Second-and-a-half, rent or borrow somebody else's audiences. You can do this by hiring a social media influencer or group of influencers, or by networking through mastermind groups that happily share each other's high-quality content.
You don't even need to have followers to do this, although it is always best to have your own mob of cheering fans on as many social media platforms as possible.
Renting and borrowing can replace having your own native audience, or it can supplement it. In fact, that is one way to grow your own native audience, by exposing your content to the audiences of influencers in your niche.
3. Ensure Your Blog Is Equipped to Share
Third, make sure your blog is set up for sharing. By "set up,” I don't mean randomly placing a Facebook Like button somewhere on your website. I mean really focusing on what will make it easiest for visitors to share your content across multiple platforms. On the other hand, you really don't need to have a button for every single social media site.
Pick three to four that are the most relevant to your audience. If you want to offer everything, you can use a service that includes a "more" button for those who are enthusiasts of smaller websites, such as BizSugar or Tumblr.
Another option I like is to have a floating bar that stays visible even as the reader scrolls with the most important share buttons, and then place a larger selection of buttons across the bottom. This way, wherever a visitor is in the content when he feels inspired to share, the button is right on screen.
Finding share buttons for WordPress is easy, as there are tons of WordPress specific plug-ins available. I use Digg Digg. If you've opted for a one of the many out-of-the-box website builders to save money or time, there are many other social sharing widgets you can use. Both Share This and Add This will work on almost any website, from the most off-the-shelf templates to the most custom coding.
4. Re-Size Images for Maximum Shareability
Fourth, make sure that all images are the ideal size for your preferred social platform. Images attract social media users to your posts much better than just a couple lines of text. The Infographic below shows how different the sizes and shapes of images appear in content streams across the various platforms.
For instance, Twitter shows a 440 x 220-pixel horizontal rectangle, whereas Instagram shows a 640 x 640 square image. The size is important, because a smaller picture will show up fuzzy when the site automatically enlarges it, and the shape is important because some of the image could get cut off if in the incorrect aspect.
I like this particular graphic, because it also shows all the specs for profile pics and banner pics and whatever else you might need (click to enlarge).
By the team at Start A Blog Today
It is worth the effort to set up your website and each individual piece of content for maximum shareability. That means making sure you have the best content possible, an audience you can reach directly, a website that is sharing-friendly, and images to attract people to your content. As a result, your traffic, leads, and sales should increase over time, especially as your audience grows.
Tell us about your viral content successes in the comments!