What do 10 pairs of boxer shorts, an eclectic mix of men’s socks and a family’s beloved pussycat have in common with the BBC, Reddit, CBC News Canada, Mashable.com and the New Zealand Herald?
The answer is Brigit – the underwear-thieving, Tonkinese cat who, after becoming the subject of a Facebook post, found herself centre stage of what quite possibly became the farthest-reaching social media story of the year to date.
If you haven’t heard of Brigit, we may well ask if you’ve been hiding under a rock, because Brigit made page 3 of the New Zealand Herald, the front page of social news networking service, Reddit, and some of the most widely read news sites in the world, including the BBC, Metro UK, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail and New York Daily News.
And it all started with a Facebook post to friends and family that now has 4,000 likes, over 800 comments and more than 1,000 shares.
The power of social media
Brigit’s story piqued our interest here at HGB for two main reasons: a) social media is an integral part of any marketing campaign, and b) we love a good cat story (well, who doesn’t?)
These days it’s hard to remember what life was like pre-social media, Facebook and Twitter in particular. A lot has happened over the last decade since these two channels were established (Facebook was founded in 2004 and Twitter, two years later in 2006). And in the marketing sphere we work in, they’ve certainly had an impact.
Both channels have made it easy for individuals and businesses to share information, whether it be a new blog post, the launch of a new product, the latest edition of an eNewsletter or a new look website. Simply write a status update, upload a photo (optional but recommended), include a link and let the world of social media do the rest.
How your business can benefit from social sharing
Marketing methods are continually changing and evolving, yet despite such innovation, you’re still hard pressed to beat the most traditional method of them all – ‘word of mouth’. But we encourage our clients to think of their social media channels as the 21st Century version of this approach. If a status update or Tweet has captured your customers’ attention, they’ll likely share it with their friends, who in turn will share it with their friends. And so we experience the global reach of social sharing.
There are many benefits of social sharing to your business. To begin with, it’s a quick way to promote content, which in turn leads to page views. The greater your number of page views the higher up you’ll go in search engine rankings. And the higher up you are in search engine rankings the easier it is for prospective customers to find you.
5 top tips to help your business benefit from social sharing
1. Give your post personality
If you want your audience to read your latest blog post or download your latest catalogue, you’ve got to entice them. Make your Facebook post or Tweet fun and engaging with a sense of intrigue. In other words, make it so interesting they won’t be able to resist it.
2. Make it easy to share
Make sure whatever content you want people to share is shareable. Do this by including share icons, the little symbols of each social media channel, at the top or bottom of your page. The most common ones are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, but there are many more to choose from – Reddit, Digg, and StumbleUpon are just some of the options. However, don’t overload the page or bombard your readers with too many options. Stick to the ones that are most relevant for you as they’ll also be the most effective.
3. Use images
You know that age old saying, a picture says a thousand words? It’s true in the context of social media as well. Images speak volumes and research has shown Twitter posts which have an inline image accompanying them get greater engagement.
4. Do your research
Building a social media presence requires a bit of trial and error. You’re not really going to know how successful your content is going to be until you start uploading posts and writing tweets. Some posts, which you may think will be winners, may not have appeal to your wider audience, while others may get an unexpected reaction. Keep track of your posts and delve into the analytics so you gain an awareness of what’s being shared and what isn’t.
5. Include a cat
As Brigit’s time in the spotlight shows, everyone loves a cat story. So, if you want your post to go around the globe and back, the answer’s simple. Include a cat!
Social sharing and inbound marketing
Speaking of marketing methods which are changing and evolving, inbound marketing has quickly risen to prominence when it comes to lead generation. When running an inbound marketing campaign, social sharing plays an important role in driving traffic to the top of your funnel.
Whenever we work with a client, be it in the educational or agribusiness sector, we work through a campaign checklist. We start by identifying their customer, or buyer persona as we like to call them. Once we know who we’re talking to, it’s easier to gauge what will be of interest to them, and what they’re likely to share across their social networks.