While most businesses are aware that social sharing is important and is something they should be doing, most only understand it as a general concept. Without digging deeper into the values and even motivations of why people share, organizations take a scattered approach, which brings random results. When a business develops a more strategic, thoughtful process, social sharing becomes a powerful tool to grow the business.
Social sharing is one of the strongest forces to drive web traffic. In their response to Google’s new algorithm release, Search Engine Journal recently said this about social sharing in their post, How Social Media Helps SEO [Final Answer]:
“The correlation between social signals and ranking position is extremely high, and the number of social signals per landing page has remained constant when compared to with the values from last year’s whitepaper....The top-ranked websites in Google’s rankings displays vastly more social signals than all other pages....This is primarily due to the overlap between brand websites performing strongly in social networks and being allocated top positions by Google.”
Social sharing should:
- Create company and brand awareness
- Boost web traffic, and ultimately…
- Build brand loyalty, leading to passionate brand advocates
To lay a good foundation to your social sharing strategy, we find these are key:
- Understanding the basics of the psychology of sharing
- Building trust so that people will want to share
- Increasing that faith through actively engaging employees in their social sharing strategy
The psychology of social sharing
When laying the foundation of a strategic social sharing plan, it makes sense to first examine the reasons people share. Why does someone decide to attach their social media reputation to a post and then pass it on to their friends and colleagues? Content may be shared because it makes them look intelligent, cool, caring, socially aware, and so on.
Think about your audience and the factors that will come into play when they’re deciding to engage with your content and forward it on. You build your social sharing plan around these factors. Whatever the motivations may be, ideally you’ll continually grow an army of advocates who are excited to embrace and promote the majority of your posts and content. You don’t just want people to “like” your post, you want them to engage and share it.
Developing faith in brand
The next step in an effective social sharing plan is building trust with the quality of the content you are sharing. People need to know that what they are passing on to their friends and colleagues is going to reflect well back on themselves. Your online social reputation—as well as theirs—is on the line. If it’s sharing a tip, is it one that’s really worthwhile? If it’s something that’s humorous, is it truly funny?
They also need to know that you’re going to deliver on the path you’re leading them on. They need to have faith that if you send out the teaser, “The Top 10 Ways to Become Socially Responsible in Your Community,” that they’ll gain new insights or say in their minds, “Yes, I totally agree. Thank you for pulling this info together; I need to pass this on!” If they gain trust in the integrity of your content, their conviction will make them willing to put their own reputation on the line to share it. And they won’t just quickly pass it on. They’ll add their own comments or testimonial, attaching their own personal credibility to your content. This kind of social sharing is priceless.
Who’s doing the sharing?
We all like the idea of as many people as possible sharing our social media posts. But, in reality, it’s more important who is doing the sharing. Do the thought leaders in your industry have faith in the quality of your content? Are they willing to attach their online social reputation to the path you’re leading them on? Better yet, are your very own employees embracing your message...excited to pass on your company’s message?
When sharing on a personal level, some of us have a looser and more carefree approach to social sharing—and others don’t. Regardless of our personal styles, when it comes to employees using their own LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, etc. to promote their company’s message, they need to be confident that they are actually passing on good, industry-pertinent content that is helpful...not just propaganda about their company. They’ll be wary of committing to a scattershot social sharing plan, but they will find security in a focused, well-honed strategy.
The Harvard Business Review shared some interesting points that highlight ideas for aggressive social sharing. It comes back to being strategic...having a quality, well-thought-out social sharing game plan.
We’ve witnessed this in action with clients whose employees embraced their social sharing mission. The following snapshots show website visit increases once two different clients' staff members started actively engaging in their social sharing.
The rise of the power of social media
The eminence of social media in the marketplace is growing at astonishing rates. A recent report shows that “10 years ago only 7% of the US population used one or more social networking sites. Now that figure has increased almost tenfold, to 65%. Of those who use the internet, a massive majority of 76% of Americans use social media.” The importance of integrating a strategic social media sharing plan into your digital marketing planning is imperative.
With a potent strategy, you’ll not just generate random traffic—where people click a couple of times and then move on and away from your content—but you’ll bring in customers or donors who want to stay a while and embrace your company's culture, actively engaging in your product or service and—even better—becoming passionate advocates for your brand.
If you think your organization or company could benefit from improved social sharing strategy with a digital marketing agency, get started by scheduling a free consultation today.