It can be easy to get carried away with community size when we embark on a social media campaign. How many Twitter followers do we have? How many Facebook Likes? How many YouTube subscribers? And community size is important, however it’s not the most important thing.
Building a valuable community takes time and although there are people out there who will attempt to sell you thousands of Facebook fans or Twitter followers, the relevance of these bought communities is often low. Bought Facebook fans often have no interest in your product or service and come from outside your target market or geographical target. As you are not relevant to them your updates will be or little interest so their value is virtually 0.
It is possible to be successful in social media without massive fan or follower numbers. Take a look at this recent case study from ‘Old Farm’ published on Bloggertone. I’d even suggest that it’s possible to be successful in social media without having your own presence on Facebook or Twitter (although I don’t recommend this). All you need to do is create compelling content that is easy to share.
Sharing is the lifeblood of social media, it is ultimately what will secure your success.
Here’s an example. Your new Faeboook business page has 50 Likes. You upload a photograph that is amusing, topical or of real interest to your 50 fans. The average person has 130 friends on Faceboook and it’s likely that some of those have similar interests to them. If one fan shares your post it has not only reached your 50 fans but also that fans 130 friends . Total reach = 180. If 10 of your fans shared that would be 1,350. And each time one of their friends shares it on, that’s another 130 people reached. Now of course not all of your fan’s friends will see that update and some of their friends will already be fans of your page, but you get the idea.
The same formula can be applied to Twitter and even if you don’t have your own presence if you make your blog or website easy to share you still have the potential to reach social media users.
So how can encourage sharing?
It’s been a bit of a social media adage that ‘Content is King’. For people to share your content you must have content and it has to be compelling to your target market. Think about what information you have that they need and blog, or share your thoughts on Facebook or other networks.
The more relevant or topical that your content is the more likely your community is to share it. For example the videos I create that attract the most views are tutorials on new social media features as they are released. Today I’m late blogging because I’ve been busy screen grabbing and talking people through the newest Facebook news feed updates.
If you become synonymous with good content then people are more likely to read and share your posts in the future.
If you have a blog make sure you’ve made it easy to share. Adding Twitter or Facebook share buttons or plugins as well as something like ‘Add This’ means that your community can share your content with one click of a mouse.
Share content from others
Be generous with others and share good information, links and tips that they create. When possible credit the original poster. This will buy you good will and also establishes you as a generous person. These qualities will give you social media Karma making people keen to share your content too.
Get to know people
It’s important to build relationships with members of your community. Engage as often as you can and build a rapport with people. Others are far more likely to share your content if they feel they know you.
Ask for the share
Today I saw a beautiful photograph on Google+ with the tag line ‘please share this if you like it’ so I did. However if that user constantly asked for the share I’d be less inclined to do so.
Asking people to share or RT your content will spark people to do just that, there are some interesting statistics on how adding ‘Please RT’ at the end of a Tweet will increase your RT’s. Asking too often is a mistake that lots of people make, eventually your followers will get annoyed and could stop sharing all together.
How do you encourage sharing? What encourages you to share content? I’d love to hear your thoughts.