So now you have an amazing piece of content and you want to share it with the world. By instinct you might rush to Facebook or Twitter to blast it to all your friends. But if you are a smart marketer you will want to develop a social sharing strategy that is designed to grow the content’s reach over time. This is called “social seeding”. In this post we are going to explore the best tactics for social seeding on 4 popular networks. With in each network we will discus three areas: Packaging, Delivery, and Growth.
Packaging is simply how we will present the content with in the given network. Will we add an image to the status? Will we add a quote? Should you ask for reshares/retweets? These are all things that will vary with each network.
Delivery is the method that we will use to actually post the content. What time of day works best? What section of the network should it be shared in? Who exactly should share the content first? Should others share their own link, or that of the original poster? What should happen immediately after sharing.
Growth is how we will grow the reach and spread of the content that has been shared. Will we have other reshare/upvote? Can we buy promoted ads to spread it?
Packaging – In the old days the name of the game with Facebook was EdgeRank. EdgeRank was the sorting algorithm that pushed content to the top of a users news feed in Facebook. Now a days there are much more sophisticated algorithms at play, however it looks like many of the same signals from EdgeRank are still alive and well. These signals are: number of comments, number of likes, and the freshness of the content. Therefore any packaging that goes with content shared on Facebook should strategize around manipulating these signals. Here’s a great example: “Let us know in the comments what you think of this blog post!” or “Click like if you agree with Jim Boykin’s guest post!” Both of these are specific calls to action that are going to drive engagement signals.
Delivery – Bitly, the world’s largest URL shortener, tells us the following about when to share on Facebook:
Links posted from 1pm to 4pm result in the highest average click throughs. The peak time of the week was on Wednesday at 3pm. Links posted after 8pm and before 8am will have more difficulty achieving high amounts of attention. As with Twitter, avoid posting on the weekends.
So now we when to deliver, but who should do the sharing? Most brands like to share straight from their branded account. And while that is a logical choice, I think it might drive home a bit more authenticity if you can get a high level influencer in your community to share the content first, and then follow up by sharing their share. This spreads brand equity and makes the message less about “you”.
Growth – So now you have your content on Facebook and it is attracted some attention. How to you keep that content growing as long as possible? One possible solution is to develop a “share calendar”. A “share calendar” is simply a schedule of when community members will share the content. Typically, spacing each share out a week or so will help the content see continued growth. However, if you have enough resources in your budget you can always consider buying targeted ads to promote the content long after the itial push. I have done this before and saw decent results.
Outside resource: 8 Ways to Improve Your Facebook Engagement
Joe’s Notes: Facebook is all about community. Its the place to go online to connect with folks you already know. Which is awesome for seeding content because these folks are already invested in your brand. Because of this it shouldn’t be to hard to seed successfully after a little nudging in the right direction. Just make sure that you temper your seeding activity to other push content that you think your community can value from, otherwise you are libel to alienate your biggest supporters.
Packaging – To really see content spread on Twitter, you should be aiming for retweets. Therefore the packaging needs to be geared to insure more retweets. Research shows that adding “Please Retweet” can increase the chances of a retweet to 160%. Also try not to bog down the tweet with un-need hashtags or language that doesn’t have a purpose. Brevity is the secret to twitter, learn to master it.
Delivery – From the same study linked above, bitly tells us this about when to tweet for the biggest impact:
For Twitter, posting in the afternoon earlier in the week is your best chance at achieving a high click count (1-3pm Monday through Thursday). Posting after 8pm should be avoided. Specifically, don’t bother posting after 3pm on a Friday since, as far as being a gateway to drive traffic to your content, it appears that Twitter doesn’t work on weekends.
And like we mentioned with Facebook, it might also be smart to do some outreach to those on your community that have a large following, to get them to share the content as well. Some great tools to find these folks are wefollow, followerwonk, and twellow.
Growth - Like I discussed with Facebook, developing a share schedule can also work with Twitter. Having various users Tweet the content over an extended period of time can help it grow over time. Also like Facebook, twitter has promoted ads that can help get your content in front of the right people.
Outside resource: Guide to Twitter as a Tool for Marketing and PR
Joe’s Notes: When I had my own business a bulk of my revenue came directly from leads gotten through Twitter. Sure, my content spread a lot, but it was mostly because of the relationships I have developed. The power of twitter comes in form of the people you know that can help promote your content. Don’t assume that because your content is stellar others will want to share it automatically. You will need to leverage relationships to get the ball rolling, and Twitter is great for fostering and creating new relationships.
Packaging – Reddit is one of my favorite social networks. And in large part that is because the content packaging can get very creative. In fact it is almost expected. For example this image was posted with the title, “Saw this at my job. I’m genuinely afraid to open it.”. The title doesn’t accurately describe the image, but it does inspire enough intrigue to drive the CTR up. Understanding the correct way to title a post on reddit is 50% of the task. Try to fit the title to the content, and to the sub-reddit that you are posting into.
Delivery – Unlike the other two sites we have mentioned avbove, Reddit.com isn’t a social network, but rather a social voting site. This means that all of the content can be seen and voted on by everyone. Because of that, it is vital that the content be submitted to the correct sub-reddit. Each sub-reddit is run by independent moderators that set the rules of that section. Therefore make sure you have a very good understanding of the rules and culture of each sub reddit before posting. An example of how not understanding culture on reddit can backfire, is when a user got banned from /r/knives for posting this picture. For the life of me I am not sure why they got banned, and honestly I don’t think many others do either. The bottom line, understand the rules of the section you are posting in.
Growth – Reddit has advertising spots that you can purchase that will push your content to the top. However I think after the campaign has ended your content isn’t able to continue with in the sub-reddit any longer. Therefore, I would use the ad option for content that you don’t think will organically attract attention. You can try to get other users to “upvote” your content, but its important to be careful doing this, as reddit has several sophisticated systems to flag manipulative voting. Instead I would recommend trying to drive as much discussion in the comments section to drive more attention to the post as a whole.
Outside resource: A Web Marketer’s Guide to Reddit
Joe’s Notes: Reddit is a great place to get traffic, and get content in front of the folks that are likely to link to it. Most of Reddits users have “link power” meaning they have a blog or the ability to share the content with a blogger. because of this, it can be a great place for link building, but you really need to understand the community before you can leverage it. A failure to understand the community and culture of Reddit can cause serious backlash.
Packaging – With StumbleUpon the key is to tag each piece of content with the right topics. If content isn’t tagged correctly it won’t get traction because those that are most likely to give it a “thumb up” aren’t seeing it. Also adding a review to the content can help significantly.
Delivery – It seems as if StumbleUpon’s algorithms are dependent on power users passing “authority” onto the content with their “upvotes” and shares. So to jump start this type of influence you could try to do a bit of outreach to “power users” that are interested in the topic that you are submitting to.
Growth – Because of the nature of the medium, StumbleUpon, is difficult to manipulate organic growth outside of having others “thumb up” your content. However, StumbleUpon has a great ad program that not only promotes the content, but also keeps the content in their system after the campaign is over, which means that you are likely to get more bang for your buck over the long run by using the system.
Outside resource: Getting Mass Traffic from StumbleUpon: A Definitive Guide
Joe’s Notes: I once drove 1.5 million visitors to a single blog post with SU. It is an incredible platform, but to really unlock it’s power, practice with it. The content has to be good, and tagged correctly.