Social Media Myths and Facts

Counter to popular opinion, “engaging in the conversation” (i.e. tweeting, commenting on blogs and posting status updates) on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter isn’t the best way to gain exposure through social media. Posting links to interesting content is. So says social media expert and author Dan Zarella. According to him, there’s a positive correlation between Tweeting lots of links and having many followers.  In his book,  Zarrella’s Hierarchy of Contagiousness: The Science, Design, and Engineering of Contagious Ideas, Mr Zarella debunks common myths around what gets you noticed on social media. Here are just a few of the ideas from his book to keep in mind as you market your business through social media.

Getting People to Share Your Content
Posting links to interesting content that is passed from reader to reader (or viewer to viewer, if it’s a video) is an excellent way of gaining exposure—the first step in generating new leads. But publishing your content and posting links is only half the story, the second part requires that your audience share your content with their contacts.

Common sense would lead one to believe that if the content is good enough it will be shared. Yet, not all good content gets read, and often sub par content goes viral. Here from  Dan Zarella’s Hub Spot webinar, some interesting ideas to help your content spread.

  • Don’t talk about yourself. Just like in real life, people aren’t that interested in hearing other people talk about themselves online either. And as the webinar shows, the data bears this out, “Re-Tweets” have less self-reference than content that isn’t “Re-Tweeted.”
  • Keep it readable. Online you need to mind your reading level. Meaning is your writing more easily understood by a PhD or a fifth grader? While we all like to sound smart—and no doubt you are an expert in your field, the fact is content written at a lower reading level is shared more. This doesn’t mean you have to dumb down your content, it just means you need to keep it simple by using clean sentence structures, and language. Basically, a fifth grader should be able to read it.
  • Use more verbs and nouns. This relates to the tip above. Flowery adjectives just don’t go over that well online. Direct verbs and nouns get the job done in terms of getting people to share your content.
  • Include calls to action. Online it’s important to tell people what to do. If you want someone to share your content, you’re best of telling them to. In fact, Mr Zarella’s research shows that content that says “Please Re Tweet” gets shared 4 times more than content that  doesn’t include the popular call to action. Interestingly, “Please Re Tweet” gets shared 3 x more than content that says “Please RT.”

And ending on a positive note, you’ll be pleased to know that positive content is shared far more often than negative content. So please, do remember to be positive when sharing yourself with the world. And, of course, please do share this post with others.

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