I’ve often compared social media to sports. There are amateurs and professionals, and everyone hopes to score with spectators. And like competing in a real sporting event, you need a strategy or you’ll waste your energy spinning your wheels. Or worse – your performance may actually embarrass yourself or your business.
It doesn’t need to be that way. Through my own experience and research, there are three building blocks to a successful social post, no matter whether it is Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook or YouTube.
This SlideShare shows in one table the findings from a recent client study of social media sharing in one industry. The companies studied are competitors; the content is apples to apples. Use this checklist for your own brand or business, and I’m certain you’ll be happier with what happens.
One of the surprising things I learned from this case study is the power of including a link when you tweet or post a message. People will be more likely to engage with your post if you do. Yes, the presence of a link – it doesn’t matter to what or where – will give your post more weight. The data shows that the difference a link makes is significant. Check out the second slide in the SlideShare presentation above.
The strongest engagement is associated with links included to your own, original content, although sharing links from third parties also improves the odds that the message will be shared with others.
Hash tags are simple in concept, but the point of using a hash tag is widely misunderstood. As part of a holistic content strategy, hash tags should be researched and used to make it easier for others to find your content. In this case study, hash tags weren’t always used properly so my guess is that the sharing would have been even greater with better execution. Even so, just the fact that a hash tag was included in the tweet increased the odds that someone would retweet the post.
It’s no secret that social posts with uploaded images perform better. And this case study confirms it. What is interesting, though, is the success companies and content marketers are seeing by taking the time to compose graphics, either starting from scratch or using an image as the foundation. One company in our case study showed phenomenal results — averaging more than 11 retweets per post — when images shared from their audience were “dressed up” with cheery type. The images were transformed into viral social objects.