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Social Media Opinion South Africa

How to create shareable content

You'll be happy to know that rarely is a lack of shares indicative of a lack of quality. There's probably nothing wrong with your article content wise, your issue is the marketing and how you're appealing to the psychology of readers.

Why people share

Your goal is to drive traffic to your website, that's fair enough. Whilst this is your goal, it doesn't make any difference to your fans sharing your content. They share in order to connect with others. Not a single one of them cares about your goals.

What does that mean for you?

    1. It's about providing a connection between a reader and another reader.

    2. Write with this in mind. Don't think about forming a bridge between you and your reader.

    3. Create content for both your known audience and the audience beyond this.

Trust is still important

Build trust by delivering what you're advertising, don't use redirects to send people elsewhere. Stay away from intrusive pop-ups on your website and deliver exactly what you're promising.

The human connection

Personality is so much more essential than anything else. Here are some of the reasons why:

    • Most simplistic content is already available online. What nobody can replicate is your personality.• Readers need to form an emotional connection.

Does that mean you have to adopt a super casual attitude? No. What it does mean is you need to make it seem as if you're speaking to a friend. Humour isn't appropriate for every industry, but there are other ways to display your human side.

The worst thing you can do is to create content as if you were creating an academic paper for your professor in college.

Social sharing relies on urgency

Ever wondered how so many websites and social media feeds get a constant stream of shares?

It's a simple formula. They use the feeling of urgency. Whenever they post something, people assume they have to check out that content and share it with their friends now. It may not be evergreen content, but shareable content relies on short-term impact.

These are the main takeaways.

    • Evergreen content has a longer shelf life, but why does anyone need to share it right this second?

    • Short-term content often creates an emotional connection because it focuses on current issues of interest.

    • We live in a world of short-termism. What's popular now is forgotten about tomorrow. You're not aiming to change the world, you're trying to take centre stage at this present moment.

But shareable content isn't the end of the job...

People think it's a simple matter of creating content and getting it shared now. That's only part of the process. Established brands don't have to work massively hard to keep their loyal fans promoting their content. They put in the work at the start.

Once you've published a new piece of content, you have to acknowledge that every share is a personal gift to you. It's as simple as responding to someone with a 'like' or thanking them for their participation. Try to personalise it to each person, so they believe they're speaking to a real human being.

It's always more difficult when it's a company social media feed.

What this does is it ensures people continue to share and engage with your content. They'll want to speak to you, and this all adds up. Every reply and every 'like' increases your standing, which makes you more visible on all the social media networks.

What about content length?

Let's depart from dealing with readers for a moment and concentrate on the writing part. There have been countless studies on how long blogs and articles should be. In short, it depends on the subject. If you're dealing with facts and studies, you'll find your content gets longer. But this doesn't always mean readers are going to fall asleep and go elsewhere.

The best way to determine content length is to do it for your industry.

Search for blogs in your field that are popular. Take a look at their content and measure how long they are. You'll soon find a trend. Some industries require more depth in communication than others.

Shareable content isn't rocket science

It's not uncommon for young social media marketers to assume there's some sort of magic formula for content creation. There's not. Marketing online is much the same as marketing in person.

It's about:

    • Building trust.

    • Forming an emotional bond, even if it's only for a brief second.

    • Making it current and relevant. Create that sense of urgency.

You fulfil these three bullet points and you'll soon start to see results. Just understand this is a long-term process, you won't see your figures flying up a mountain in a few days or weeks. All the big brands took time to grow.

About Alesia Hsiao

Alesia Hsiao is a social media writer who has published numerous articles throughout the web. Find out more about her on LinkedIn

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