6 Tested Tips to Make Your Content Shareable

The best result that you can get from the content that you create or share on social media is for it to be shared by other people. Sharing content is essentially your receipt of an endorsement of your content by other people.

When somebody shares content they are, in essence telling other people that they should check out what it is that you have to say. Presumably this is because they have been touched, informed, educated, or entertained by what you have posted. It could also be because they get some kind of reward for doing so.

As a general rule, people share content that they find to be educational, humorous, touching, thought provoking, or controversial. It would be nice if the only thing influencing whether or not a piece of content is shared was quality. Unfortunately, there are many great posts and articles that receive very few shares, and content that is quite mediocre that seems to go viral. The good news is that there are tested methods that you can use to increase the likelihood that people will share your content.

1. Visually Appealing Content is More Likely to be Shared

Before you can worry about your content being shared, you have to make sure that it is appealing to as many people as possible. This is why aesthetics is very important. Your content should be easy to look out, scannable, and your readers should automatically know where they should look next. If you have ever tried to decipher a confusing infographic, you know how difficult it can be if you don’t know where to start looking or where your eyes should track next. Page layout, design, use of images, and even font selection makes a big difference in the readability of your content. Layout that is confusing and cluttered are also major turn offs for your readers.

Visually Appealing Content is More Likely to be Shared

Action Steps:

First, choose a font that is pleasing to the eye. Then, pick a color scheme that makes the elements that you want to stand out more noticeable. Use lists and bullet points for readability, and so that readers can quickly get an idea of what your post will be about. Use shorter paragraphs, subtitles with keywords, and lots of whitespace to make your content look better and to optimize it for smaller screens.

The Research:

It takes only a few hundredths of a second before somebody decides whether or not they are interested in reading your content. The same research shows that people prefer visual content that adheres to well-known and expected norms. There is also evidence, as shared in the previous link that people visually track through content in a very specific manner.

2. Sharing Begets Sharing

People are influenced by two very strong desire. The first is approval. The second is to be in on something big. One very influential factor in whether or not somebody is going to share your content is simply if other people have shared it before them. If somebody feels as if a group of people they belong to, or want to belong to, are sharing a post, they will be more likely to do so as well. In addition to this, many people will be influenced to share, simply if your content has received a large amount of shares from others.

Action Steps:

This means that those first shares are extremely important to you. Remember to add share buttons to all of your content and to place those buttons prominently. Be certain that the share buttons you select include the number of shares for each social media platform.

Sharing Begets Sharing

The Research:

When readers can see that your content has been shared by a significant number of people research shows that two things are more likely to happen. People are 10 percent more likely to stop and read. They are also 60 percent more likely to click on that share button.

3. Content Can be a Way to Connect People With Others With Whom They Can Relate

Have you ever gained a new friend or follower on social media because you happened to share a post that resonated with them? If you have, you are not alone. You share something, a friend of yours likes it and makes a comment, one of their friends notices it and weighs in as well. You realize that the friend of your friend and you have an interest or opinion in common and become friends as well. Social media shares can also provide people with an opportunity to reconnect with people over shared interests and opinions.

Content Can be a Way to Connect People With Others With Whom They Can Relate

Action Steps:

At least some of your content should focus on what is trending. High interest content will get people talking with each other and give them the desire to use that content to reach others. You should also post content that you know will result in discussion, or even a little bit of debate. Once people begin, liking, sharing, and commenting on one another’s content, they are more likely to do so in the future.

The Research:

There is a really interesting research on the influence of social shares on other people, and to the overall health of any particular website. This shows that if you get to know your audience, and you use that knowledge to create posts that they can relate to, your content will be shared. In addition to this, your audience will be more likely to engage with one another, which will certainly help you to cast a wider social net.

4. Evocative Content is More Likely to be Shared

There are a range of emotions, that will influence people to share your content. These include shock, fear, excitement, anger, anxiety, frustration, amazement, joy, humor, elation, and sentiment. These are all emotions that create a high level of arousal in people. On the other hand, posts that are simply sad, usually do not receive a significant number of shares. This is because people, don’t generally want to pass along posts that evoke feelings of sadness or hopelessness. Another discovery that has been made is that good news in any form is more likely to be shared than negative news. Humor and curiosity are two more emotions that motivate people to share posts. Finally, emotionally evocative content is very likely to spur conversation when it is shared.

Action Steps:

Use power words in your headlines and the body of your content to create the emotional response that you want. Post about things that you know will create an emotional response. Pay attention to what content people are sharing from other brands. Then, create similar content, to share on your social media pages. Just be sure to add your own original twist. Audiences recognize creative appropriation and will absolutely skewer you for it. Whatever you do, be very cognizant of the emotions you are evoking in your audience with each post, and how that will influence their behavior. Bring them down, and they aren’t going to share.

The Research:

According to a study conducted by Jonah Berger, students who watched videos that evoked what are called high arousal emotions, such as anger or joy as mentioned above. Then, they watched videos that evoked low arousal emotions such as sadness. When asked which they would share, the result was that the majority would share the videos that evoked the high arousal emotions.

5. Shares Will Increase if Readers Believe The Content Matches Their Beliefs or Interests

For many people, social media is a platform where they represent themselves and their values. Essentially, even if they do not realize it, their social media accounts are where they promote their brand. Because of this, the content that they are going to share is the content that they believe is most representative of them. For example, this could be content that promotes a cause they believe in, expresses thoughts and opinions they want to be associated with, or content that they feel will positively influence how others see them. This could be why sharing memes is so common. A meme can communicate a very identifiable sentiment or belief with just a picture and a handful of words. When people find one that they can identify with or that represents them, they share it as a way of sharing a bit of themselves.

Practical Steps:

Learn about your audience. Create a customer persona so that you know their concerns, interests, and behaviors. Then, match your content with those traits. For example, if you can identify a social cause that your target persona cares about, you could post about that topic, especially if your organization has been active in donating to or volunteering with charities supporting that cause. You can also create posts that express feelings and emotions that certain demographics identify with. One example of this would be the Aunty Acid cartoons that are liked and shared by thousands of people on Facebook.

The Research:

Stets shows that about 27 percent of the reason that content is shared is because it represents the person’s beliefs, or because it is a way for to show other people what they believe in.

6. Incentives Motivate People to Share Whether They Are Positive or Negative

If people believe they are going to be rewarded for sharing content, they will share that content. They will also share your content in order to avoid negative consequences. You may have already used incentives to encourage people to answer your CTA in other ways. For example, you may have promised people premium content if they subscribed to your blog. You may have also turned that same offer into a threat of negative consequence by telling people they would miss out if they did not answer your CTA. The same principle applies when it comes to sharing your content.

Practical Steps:

Create a reward system for people who share your content. This could range from premium content access to free merchandise. Offering discounts is another option. Be sure to include strong power words that either exploit the desire to gain the reward, or the desire to avoid the negative consequences of missing out.

The Research:

Multiple studies indicate that offering rewards to people directly impacts their behavior, especially their willingness to take action. This natural, human behavior certainly does not stop on social media.

Conclusion

Each of the six tips provided here are proven tactics that you can use to increase the likelihood that your followers will share your content on social media. While there is no guarantee that any post will or will not go viral, these tactics have been shown through both research and practical example to work. Why not try out a few of these proven, backed by data methods, and see what your results are?

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3 Comments

  1. Hi, Jonathan!
    Awesome tips!
    Also, the great share trigger is the interactive presentation within your content.

  2. Nice article with practical steps and good research to make a shareable content in our website.
    Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks!

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