Social media sharing content on its own can does much of the legwork in your social media strategy. It generates brand awareness, increases sale leads, gains subscribers and persuades followers to your product or service. Social media sharing is the practice of sharing content from a social media site or application. Shareable social content is a marketer’s dream, when customers and fans extend your brand reach without you directing it or planning it.

You can spend hours producing a post or tweet to help your brand engage with its customers or fans, and it does nothing to improve engagement, traffic, and sales.

When was the last time you trusted a paid advert? I trust my friend recomendations on Facebook and Twitter all the time. I would never question a friend’s share but I would a paid social media post.

Compelling content 
Getting your content shared is easy if you have in the front of your mind to develop content that makes you a trust-worthy brand. Think about creating a much stronger brand reputation focussing on useful content that viewers will want to share, rather than creating content that you want to read. Think about your target audience and create content that is compelling, unique, and not self-promoting.

This strategy not only draws customers and fans back to you and your brand but it will also have loyal fans and followers sharing your content. Another benefit of adding more user-generated content to your site through comments and reviews helps your business for SEO optimisation.

Social platforms
Depending on your product and service you may use all social platforms, or you may only use one or two. Select platforms that support your brand image.

Facebook is one of the most popular social networks used worldwide and the best for brand awareness. Facebook is a great platform for promoting virtually any brand, due to its 1.71 billion monthly active users (as 2016).

Instagram and Pinterest are great options for brands that use images and videos. Excellent for retailers, designers, architects, restaurants and photographers.

If you’re a business-to-business company, LinkedIn is a stronger choice for promoting business-related content and connecting with other corporate influencers.

Once you have found where your audience spends all their time, concentrate on growing your customer base.

Facebook as a case study
People do not read Facebook; they skim. If your customer base is on Facebook, not that you will get the 1.71 billion users but if you understand the platform and know when and what to post you can maxamise engagement by increasing high-quality referral traffic and shares of your posts.

The cancer fundraising campaign #NoMakeUpSelfie is an excellent example of a grass roots fundraising strategy that ended up a global phenomenon generating brand awareness and raising over £8 million in the first six days.

In 2014, Facebook lifted its ban on images of breastfeeding — but failed to include women’s nipples in other contexts. The #freethenipple campaign exposed topless women protesting internet censorship. 60,000 tweets opposing the way images of women’s breasts were shared between friends and fans.

Sharing content can also facilitate customer service and boost public relations. Twitter and Facebook serve as the go to customer service tools for many brands. Staff are trained in how to listen to social media conversations about that brand and respond in real time. Telstra as an example does this particularly well if there is a complaint Telstra responds immediately. We love sharing an excellent customer service experience (oh and we love sharing a bad one too but that is another post).

Why do people love sharing?

  • Creates meaningful user experiences
  • Increased sense of community among users
  • People love to interact and be part of a community or chatting directly with other people

Content people love sharing

  • Family and friends
  • Jokes
  • Trending news
  • Travel
  • Sports
  • Arts and entertainment
  • Celebrity gossip
  • Animals

How to incentivise?
Whatever social platforms you decide to use, there needs to be a reason for your customers to feel that they are sharing something valuable. Irresistible offers like the following always work:

  • Discount on purchase
  • Free shipping
  • Free samples
  • Templates
  • Tools
  • Trials
  • E-books
  • Great offers always get lots of shares because people love free stuff.

Starting from scratch?
When a piece of content about one feature or aspect of your offering performs well, it’s a safe bet that this subject is an excellent topic for new followers and new customers. Ask your customers directly, ‘If you like this post, share it on all your social platforms.’

  • If your followers show you they like something, build on that content in future posts. Post when your audience is most active.
  • Install social sharing buttons on your blog, websites, offer pages and landing pages. Make them prominent.
  • If your brand is starting from scratch, there is nothing wrong with asking people to share your content.
  • Give a sneak peak to new products of services and let people know to come back.
  • Get feedback from your customers and people in your industry about the content. Ask for your customer’s stories so they engage with your content. Make your customer’s timeline your timeline. Allow people to upload photos, videos
  • Share posts from others. If you share content posted by other folks, they’ll be more likely to share your content in return.

How you measure shares?
The question is how many of your site visits convert to sales? Conversions need to lead to direct revenue such as a customer completing a purchase on your site, downloading an e-book or clicking on an ad.

Formula for calculating the ROI of customer engagement
(Increase in traffic x conversion rate) x value of a conversion
Example: Adding social plugins resulted in 5,000 new visits from organic and social traffic.
Your average conversion rate for these sources is 1.2%, and your average order value is $80.00. Working the ROI=(5,000×1.2%) x 80.00=$4,800

We know our customers and know that they like to support each other. What have we learned from social media? People love sharing and if people are sharing your content it makes them happy and makes your brand happy.