The power of social media is truly remarkable. In recent months, we’ve seen a young boy yodeling in a Walmart become an overnight sensation, a photo of an egg surpass Kylie Jenner for the most liked Instagram photo and numerous unsolved debates over whether it’s Yanny or Laurel.
For the record, I hear Yanny.
Before I get ahead of myself and go on a rant about social media’s most viral moments, that’s not what this blog post is about. This is about how you can move the needle after you publish content online and amplify it using simple social media techniques that won’t cost you a dime.
But, here’s a reality check – more often than not, your content won’t stand a chance if you’re trying to increase your reach organically through social media. It’s estimated that only 0.1% of content posted on social media is shared more than 1,000 times and over half are not even shared at all. As a content marketer, you cannot expect your campaigns to perform as well as eggs, yodelers, auditory illusions, and the like. But that doesn’t mean they can’t.
Before you resort to paid marketing efforts, here are three (free) ways you can use social media to your advantage as a content marketer to help get your content seen.
Add Value to the Conversation
Social media is a breeding ground of conversation. Every single day, something new is trending, someone says something controversial that goes viral, and the taboo topics we shy away from speaking about in real life come alive when our fingers hit the keyboard. Unless you’ve got a healthy following or happen to luck out, however, being the one to start the conversation can be quite challenging.
When it comes to amplifying your content campaigns online, how can you be a part of the conversation without going through the trenches of starting one? First, you can think about the conversations happening online and how your content can organically fit into them. Are there trending hashtags you can use when sharing your campaign? Is it newsworthy? Does it pertain to a hot topic? Consider these questions as you’re gearing up to start a conversation with your audience. The more relevant the content that you’re sharing is (e.g. a dating/relationship-themed campaign that lines up with the online buzz surrounding Valentine’s Day), the more likely people will see it, find value in it, and engage with it.
Next, find the best social media platform to use to not only share your content but curate the right conversations for your product or service. Not every piece of content belongs on every platform or performs in the same way. One platform’s audience might respond differently and find your piece of content more valuable than the other. For instance, video typically performs better on Facebook than Twitter.
In the end, it all boils down to finding the right time and place to add to the conversation. It can be a bit challenging at first, but it should be your first step in amplifying your content online.
Leverage the Power of Influencers
Harnessing the power of social media influencers is crucial to amplifying your content.
The great thing about our team at Go Fish Digital is that we all have a wide range of interests. We like to take those interests into consideration when interacting with influencers for our content campaigns. One of our favorite tactics to employ is reaching out to influencers in niches we have an interest in or regularly engage with.
Take the home improvement show study for example. As a home improvement show fan herself, my colleague Emily decided to share this campaign on Twitter with Erin Napier of HGTV’s Home Town. As her show was included in the study, Emily felt like this is someone who would probably be genuinely interested in seeing it. While Erin may not have as large of a following as the HGTV Twitter account, considering her high level of engagement, Emily had a good feeling that she would at least see the study.
Voila! It worked – Erin Napier saw our study and replied. By doing this, the tweet (which includes a link to the campaign) now lives on Erin’s Twitter feed for thousands of eyes to see.
Being able to have your content seen and spread by influential people online can really take it to the next level, but finding the right person to ‘cold-tweet’ or ‘cold-email’ so that your content doesn’t fall on deaf ears can be a challenge. Think of it like being on a job hunt and trying to get ahold of a prospective company’s hiring manager — sometimes you’re successful, sometimes you’re not and that’s okay.
While there’s no exact science to harnessing the power of influencers, be intentional and realistic about the influencer(s) you set your sights on.
Would they find this content valuable? Do they have high engagement with their following? Is there someone else who might find this more relevant?
Ask yourself these questions before firing off tweets, comments, messages, and emails.
Get Involved with Niche Communities
We’re all involved in a community of some sort in real life. So, how can we mirror those communities, but online? Well a large majority of us are already a part of niche communities without even realizing it.
A niche community is that neighborhood Facebook group you’re a member of, it’s the subreddits you subscribe to, and it’s the marketing Slack channel you follow for the latest industry trends.
When it comes to sharing your content with niche communities you aren’t a part of, however, it can be a little tricky. I say this because you are essentially entering someone else’s safe space. Before inserting yourself into a niche community, consider a few things. Does your content belong there? How will it be perceived?
Another important step when joining niche communities is to get involved in the conversation. Dropping in here and there to post a link comes off as inauthentic and spammy. Focus on establishing yourself and becoming a valued member of the community. Respond to other people’s questions. Post things that have nothing to do with your content. Start conversations. The more you do this, the more reputable you and the content you share will be.
For example, say you join a private Facebook group to share a piece of content. If the members of the community have any inkling you didn’t do your research before posting something irrelevant (which could mean not reading the rules), or that you’re not familiar with the group atmosphere, be prepared for the backlash. You and whatever you just posted automatically lost all credibility, which is very hard to build back up.
With organic reach on the steady decline, more often than not, you’re going to have to ‘pay-to-play’ when it comes to amplifying your content online. But if things like Facebook ads or social listening tools don’t fall within your budget or you’d like to try cost-effective avenues before doing so, adding value to conversations, leveraging influencers, and getting involved with niche communities are all great ways to get your content seen.