10 Out-of-the-Box Ideas to Get More Social Shares

Getting more shares on social media can build your brand’s visibility and maximize your online marketing efforts. But when loads of great, shareable content is flooding the space, you need to think out of the box for reeling in audiences and encouraging them to hit the share button.

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I’ve compiled some innovative strategies and tools to help improve your social engagement:

​1) Research Top Shared Content

Great content gets shared. Period. But how do you get to know what type of content works for your realm, target network, and audiences? Going through all trending content is impossible. Free tools like BuzzSumo and PostReach identify posts that are going viral and give a comparison of their share performance on various social platforms. If you want to make a mark on a particular network, just filter Buzzsumo’s results by the website URL.

​PostReach gives a more granular breakdown of a post’s popularity. For all posts, it shows their total share performance across networks; total share breakdown by network; detailed report of sharing activity (likes, tweets, retweets, and potential reach); and analysis of sharer demographics.

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Using this valuable data you can drill down on the type of posts that is appealing to audiences in your target network and then work towards building such content. The aim of this exercise should not be to replicate popular content but to go above and beyond it.

2) Make Sharing Easy

​Sharing a post should require as few clicks as possible. Adding one-click social buttons on website blogs are common practice. You can go a step further by adding share buttons within your content strategically. Got a particularly interesting quote, image, research data, or news that you think readers would like to share? Embed a prominent share button right below it!  

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ClickToTweet is an intuitive tool to design embeddable, customized tweet quotes that can be placed anywhere in a post. WordPress users can take advantage of its amazing plug-ins such as Floating Social Media Icon to create social share icons that remain visible even when users are scrolling. AddThis and ShareThis help you design slick sharing buttons no matter what your web platform is.

When placed at the top of posts, social Icons showing total number of engagements function as a social popularity proof and may encourage readers to share a post. Dwindling attention span of social users may lead them to abandon a post midway. So a gentle reminder with a pop-up share window just when they open a post can encourage them to hit the share button.

3) Catch Sharers When They're Active

​Posting content in the window of time when your potential sharers are up and about can greatly improve your chances of drawing their attention. HubSpot research indicates peak social activity hours for different platforms:

Facebook users are active on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 1 PM, on Wednesdays from 3PM to 4PM and on Thursdays and Fridays between1 PM and 4PM.

LinkedIn patrons show maximum sharing activity during downtimes in working days. Commuting time (7:30 AM to 8:30AM), lunchtime (12PM) and near the end of the day (5-6PM) finds them most active.

Twitterati favors 12PM to 3PM Monday through Friday.

Pinterest’s majorly female following goes online post-lunch. Best time to post there is evenings or 2PM to 4 PM every day.

That said, there is no blanket rule for best scheduling times. Test, test, and test some more to find out the window of opportunity for your unique audiences.

4) Offer an Irresistible Freebie

​Swag sells. Most of us can’t resist freebies. Including an irresistible offer in posts has shown to enhance shares exponentially. How well you know your audiences will determine the freebie to be offered. Free tools and templates, exclusive content such as eBooks or survey findings; free or discounted access to webinars or industry events, etc. are some ​proven audience magnets​​​.

5) Return the Favor

​Do good to receive good. Social media etiquette's indicate that if you share someone’s content, most likely they will return the favor. So sharing content of people with huge fan following can lead to them (and their followers) to share your posts.

6) Reel Them in With Headlines

​Most super-shareable content has carefully-crafted headlines that either feed on audience’s curiosity or needs.  Popular headline types today involve lists or numbers (check out our headline), cliffhangers (If I'd Learned One Thing In College, I Wish It Had Been This) or address specific audience segments (33 Jokes Only “Game Of Thrones” Fans Will Understand).  The free headline analyzer by CoSchedule weighs headlines for shareability and SEO.   

7) Keep Content Bite-Sized

​Social audiences prefer snacky content they can skim (and hopefully share) in seconds. Best copywriting practices for readability would include using paragraph breaks, subheadings, bullets, catchy font formats, images and infographics to convey complex ideas concisely.

8) Drop Big Names

​Name dropping may be found distasteful in real world but its payoff in social media world can be rewarding. Complimenting or referring to big names in your post will certainly catch their attention and even garner a like or share. Try to keep the context relevant or you might be bracketed as a freeloader.

9) Make Content Visually Delicious

​HubSpot Research indicates that posts with images, infographics, or videos are shared three times more and tweets with images are retweeted 150% more. Intersperse your post with relevant images, memes, visual quotes and compelling videos. And don’t forget to place sharing buttons nearby. Canva’s easy-to-follow interface can help you create tailored memes that are more effective than generic Stock images.

​10) Spread Sunshine​

​Nobody likes a gloomy gus. A study by Mashable shows positive posts are shared more. So even if you are writing about a negative issue, give it a hopeful, uplifting twist and tone.

To sum up, there is no cookie cutter approach when it comes to improving social engagement. But these research-backed facts and tips will surely give you a head start. Consistent posting and experimenting will lend insight into techniques that work best for your content. If you enjoyed reading this post, don’t forget to hit the share button. We do practice what we preach!

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