It can feel like magic for digital marketers when a single post goes viral. When you hit the mark without a clear plan, maybe something supernatural is at play. But when you have a content strategy focused on shareable content, you’re the one making the magic happen.
The main goal of social media marketing involves leveraging the strengths of platforms designed to keep people connected. When your followers like what you post and share it with their friends, they’re doing your work for you. News of your brand spreads organically without you having to do anything more.
Notably, the term “organic” is the opposite of paid advertisements. When you pay for your content to show up in people’s news feeds, that’s one thing. When you don’t have to pay, and it happens anyway — that’s the magic I’m talking about.
It’s possible to craft impactful and shareable content for every social media platform, but you’ll find the most success when you are intentional and strategic in your content-sharing plan. To be most effective, you first need to have a clear understanding of your target audience. When you know who you want to reach with your shareable content, the easier everything will be.
Keep reading for a comprehensive guide to creating content that your audience will want to show their friends.
The power of shareable content
When you post on your business social media platform, whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram, you should always try to make your content worthy of a share by your ideal audience. There are a few good reasons for this.
- Engagement: Shareable content makes it easy to engage with your current and prospective customers. Engaging with them will strengthen your brand’s relationship to customers and help them start on the customer journey or continue the process.
- Expansion of your audience: When your followers share your content, you can see potential leads who interact with them. Encourage the practice and you’ll expand your reach, gaining vital knowledge about your audience’s preferences along the way.
- Free exposure: It’s true that nothing is “free,” but shareable posts are like advertising you don’t have to pay for.
- Brand building: When you make posts shareable, you have the opportunity to create a public persona that highlights your values and style. This goes beyond simply highlighting your products and services. Building a brand takes time, but it’s the best way to become more relevant to a larger audience. Creating content people want to share is one way to do it.
Key elements of impactful shareable content
Underneath the process of how to make something shareable and relatable to a larger audience is the concept of newsworthiness. Just like journalists writing a newspaper article, you must be very clear on why you are posting content at the time you hit the publish button. Newsworthy articles must:
- Impact the target audience in some way
- Have proximity, meaning it’s happening nearby
- Be timely, because news that happened yesterday is history
- Have conflict, or something that shows more than one side of the story
- Be novel or odd in some way
Think of your social media posts as news for your current and potential customers. For example, any event you organize really is news! So, remember these tenets of newsworthiness as you develop a social media strategy. Keep in mind the concept of newsworthiness. Think about how to keep content relevant, invoke emotion, give value, and provide a visual appeal.
Shareable content needs to be relevant — it must be meaningful and timely to the person who is reading or viewing the post. Relevance varies not just by target audience but also by platform. For example, let’s say you want to announce a new team member. A short bio and headshot make sense for LinkedIn, but a short Live video showing personality would work better on Instagram.
On Facebook, relevant content could be business-related photos, news announcements, and other curated content. On Twitter, think about real-world conversations you can initiate. Pinterest is all about photos, where you can link to products and services on your website. Instagram is also a great visually-focused platform for you to share the behind-the-scenes look at your business and posts that highlight your best products and services.
Shareable content also needs to elicit emotional responses. It may be easy to forget the obvious, but the people who scroll through social media are human beings looking for meaning and value in what they find online.
Think about modern streaming entertainment that so many people love. They’re entertained because the content is relatable. For example, any coffee lover would enjoy seeing how baristas make that amazing artwork in the froth of a latte. If it’s especially impressive, that might be enough to encourage them to visit the cafe.
Post topics other than promotional content to increase the likelihood that people will want to share. Educational content, such as blogs, white papers, and even infographics, add value to people’s everyday lives. Aim for the “80-20” rule, which means only 20% of what you post on social media should be directly promoting goods or services.
Finally, the most compelling content is the most visually appealing — no matter the platform. When you add images to text-based content, be strategic. You can use social media tools like Canva to create beautiful designs to make your social media posts stand out. Look for platforms like Constant Contact that organically integrate Canva into the creation process.
Even if the content is exactly the same, you’ll get more people hitting the share button if your post looks good on their screen.
How to craft shareable content for different platforms
If you’re just starting with social media for business, it’s best to focus on one or two platforms as a starting point. This will allow you to create a solid foundation and consistent social media strategy before you expand your reach farther.
When you experiment and understand the difference between all of the platforms, you’ll know where to focus your attention to best reach your target audience. Once you’ve refined your digital marketing strategy, you’ll want to hone your content for optimum shareability.
Social media is for scrolling and browsing — quick bite-sized pieces of information that can be easily digested. That’s the kind of content people share most often.
The ideal post length for organic posts should stay below 80 characters, and videos should rarely be longer than 60 seconds. Posts on X and Threads with high levels of engagement tend to max out around 100 characters, and TikTok videos top out at a quick 42 seconds.
The reality is that many people have a limited attention span. When Facebook truncates your post with the dreaded ellipses followed by the words “read more,” many people won’t. If they’re not reading, they’re not sharing.
One of the most important tips for shareable content is to learn how to tell the story not with words but with images.
Most people consider themselves visual learners, so photos that captivate viewers will naturally get more social engagement. Get creative with your visual storytelling. Share behind-the-scenes images and the faces of your team members. Post videos, Facebook and Instagram live-streaming videos, and graphics that feature meaningful quotes to tell the story behind your brand.
Quick hits and images are important parts of any digital marketing plan. But you should also consider weaving in more in-depth articles that answer common questions. When you share your expertise through blog posts, which can be hosted on your website and shared with a link, you set yourself apart from the competition.
Provide actionable advice your target audience needs. When you help them find solutions for their problems that connect to your products and services, they’ll appreciate it — and remember it with lasting impact.
Leverage trends and viral content
While it’s a great idea to stay creative and make posts that are unique from everyone else in your industry, it’s important to integrate content curation for social media, too. Curated social media content is anything you find online and share with your followers. Maybe it’s user-generated or discovered on another website.
If you think it’s interesting for your target audience, don’t hesitate with content sharing. As long as you credit the source and make posts shareable, you can include any topic, trend, hashtag, or other viral content into your plan. Content curation provides an opportunity for you to develop new business contacts, all while advancing your brand image with new ideas and concepts your current and future customers will appreciate.
Adapt and innovate
On the flip side of content curation is the idea that you can create content experiences for your followers. The best way to stand out on social media is to be genuine, authentic, and unapologetically different from the competition.
Innovation can be risky, but if you are getting more engagement from content that makes people laugh or is especially inspiring to you, go for it.
Leverage interactivity and user-generated content
Another powerful way to add shareable content to your social media strategy is to add a layer of interactivity. This often requires your followers to get involved, deepening your relationships with customers and prospects. Let them know you appreciate what they have to offer by sharing user-generated content and inviting them to have fun with your business.
Polls and quizzes
A common interactive strategy is to offer polls and quizzes on social media, and both have different results. Polls can be used to gather information about ways you can improve and refine your brand offerings. Quizzes, meanwhile, are more fun and light-hearted. They can just be something to pass the time.
Which one is better for your company depends on your goals. Polls can provide powerful feedback, while quizzes can creatively engage your followers. Quizzes can also be used to funnel customers into different sales strategies, too.
Contests and challenges
Everyone loves a giveaway, so contests and challenges with a prize at the end are a great way to get people to share your posts. In fact, you can make sharing mandatory for participation. Don’t skimp on the giveaway — make it worth the person’s time to follow contest guidelines. If they want to win it, they’ll tell their friends if you ask them to.
Ensure timing and frequency
Once you start posting, it’s important to keep a consistent schedule that doesn’t have you competing against yourself for attention, either. Create a social media schedule with the post topics, date and time of postings, and the team members responsible for the work.
One tip I like is to schedule Facebook posts ahead of time. It’s less time-consuming to create many posts in one sitting rather than piecemeal throughout the week. The more thoughtful your work, the more success you’ll have.
Success stories and examples
For inspiration, let’s look at two quick examples of shareable content that really nailed it. The first takes the common listicle to the next level: Rolling Stone magazine is famous for its best lists, such as the 200 Best Singers of All Time.
The reason they get so much attention is because it’s subjective. They’re playing into the fanbase of the top musicians of the world, and it can result in passionate conversations. It’s also very thorough — it’s not your standard top 10.
The second example is from Headspace, the app that focuses on mental health. With regularity, the company will offer short, guided meditations for free to everyone. This introduces the concept of mindfulness to new audiences while making for great shareability. One video got more than 734,000 views.
Start creating content people want to share today
Shareable content is a fun and effective way to connect with your target audience to deepen relationships and often send them further along on their customer journey with you. You’re using social media to get people to like, comment, and share, which is exactly what it was designed for.
If you’re inspired to create a digital marketing plan that includes shareable content, the first step is a good, old-fashioned brainstorming session. Ask your most creative team members to come up with fun and unique strategies that can be integrated with curated and user-generated content. Pick the ideas using the parameters outlined in this guide, set a schedule, and start posting!