The goal of Social Media for business is, arguably, getting your name as widely spoken of as possible. The more people who follow, friend, fan, connect and like you and your business, the more people are available to share your news, specials and content. What you want, in a nutshell, is to expand and strengthen you brand.
Today we talk about what works and what doesn't in terms of spreading brand engagement, i.e., what makes your content sharable. To do that, let's start with what doesn't work particularly well:
1) Make People Seem Self-Absorbed by Sharing
I just signed up to try your service out. It's a little early to ask me to share that news with my friends. In fact, when I read that Twitter you automatically provide me, "I just got a trial to XYZ platform! Come sign up, so I get something special!" it just about screams "douchebag." Who does this? When you are in a supermarket, do you stand in front of the sample counter and scream "Hey! I just got a taste of this new grape juice! You should totally be impressed and get one too, so I can get a free towel!"
So, please, don't ask me to shout about a free trial. I like my friends and don't want them to think badly of me.
2) Make People Confused by Sharing
I liked your article - enough that I want to share it. But when I click RT on Twitter, instead of "Spring Shoes Preview" I see "RT @VeryLongMagazineName From your home for fashion, and cool things, and great site in general VeryLongTitlename: http://www.verylongurlname/abstractnumber.... via sharingplatform"
This is a direct abuse of my interest. Now I have to make sure I edit the heck out of your bad titling strategy, which is way more work than your article was worth. Keep it simple has got to be the bottom line on your title strategy. Good Retweets ought to look like this:
RT Who What: Where and leave room for a short Why. (Short, so other people can retweet it again.)
3) Make People Work Hard to Find What is Shared
Maybe it's just me, but there is nothing that annoys me more than clicking on your link to an article, which sends me to your website, where you've scraped the original headline, that I then have to click. I know a lot of well-known Social Media Experts do this...it doesn't make it right. I will NEVER share your link, if I know you've done this. I will always go to the original article and share it from there. You've hijacked a headline, you don't deserve my assistance.
1) Make People Feel Smart by Sharing
A snappy title is nice (particularly a title that is short, and makes for easy sharing,) but what really gets me going is something I haven't seen before, something that is relevant to my audience.
2) Make People Feel Generous By Sharing
In direct opposition to asking me to share an exclusive experience, most people are way more likely to share something when they can appear generous by doing so. In the case of the trial service above, which asked me to ask my friends to see if they are "eligible," how much cooler would it have been for the company to say, "since you are eligible, you can share three free trials with friends!" Then I'd feel good about sharing the trial, my friends might like it better than I do, and your trial could potentially get you 4 customers, rather than one with fewer friends to share with.
3) Bonus: Make People Feel Good By Sharing
Let go of the bottom line. Do something for the sheer good of humanity, and invite your advocates join you. When your sharable news ties the good nature of your customers to your corporate philanthropy, you've missed the point. Let people know that they have done good and they'll want to share the experience.
There is no one right or wrong way to share information, but removing barriers between your content and your followers' desire to communicate their ideals will get your name further afield with every share.