One of my favorite music clubs has its star performer slyly slip these lyrics into one of her songs: “Like us on Facebook and you get a shot for free.” The phones start coming out immediately.
It’s absolutely true that we measure our Facebook success by the number of “likes” we rack up. Watching that tally rise day by day is a form of instant gratification, and will always be important. But not as important as “shares.”
Think of it as the difference between an introductory meeting with a potential customer and a recommendation from a happy client. The “like” may reflect nothing more than a passing interest. Shares are a measurable version of “word-of-mouth,” which has always been the ultimate form of promotion for any brand or company. The “share” will help you build your Facebook community, and requires a thoughtful approach.
First, build your likes organically. Even though it’s an outright “ask,” the singer’s plea is aimed directly at a group of people who are likely to be interested in what’s happening at the club. There are plenty of tricks out there to bump up your numbers, but you want genuine “likes.” Those are the people you need to build a community. Those are the people who will share your posts — as long as they have interesting information.
Use your easily available content. White papers and blog posts on your company’s website are there for the linking. Summarize the important points in a post and then guide visitors to the full article. Be sure the page has a “share on Facebook” button. If you send out an eNewsletter, do the same. Make any content that you think is shareable easy for a reader to share.
Don’t be afraid that readers won’t scroll. Conventional wisdom says short and pithy is the path to attracting web readers. That is true for straight information delivery, but sparking comments, discussion and connections requires more. Research shows that people value longer content because it has some thought behind it. Time is valuable, and we’ve all started to realize that reading a slew of empty listicles may be fun, but it’s often just a time-waster. Longer content gets more shares, too.
Establish yourself as part of the conversation, not a salesman or lecturer. When an interesting article related to your business appears, post a link to it along with your own comment. Found a cartoon or video that hits home in your business? Go ahead and post that. Proud of a new ad campaign? Share it and ask others to pass it along. Even straightforward news about your company should be posted, but be smart about it.
Keep track of what kinds of posts get shared. Those are the ones that are resonating, so continue along those lines with future posts.