It’s probably no secret to you that, “When it comes to trust, third-party and word-of-mouth sharing has always carried more weight than advertising,” as Bryan Kramer reports in his insightful new book, Shareology. What may be more mysterious is exactly how you (the personal you and/or the corporate you) could share more effectively. Here are six ways to up your sharing power gleaned from Kramer’s in- depth study:
As the CEO of an agency that promotes “social inspired marketing,” it’s little wonder that I’d call out listening as a prerequisite to power sharing. Kramer reminds us early in his book that, “If there’s one thing we should all practice more, it’s listening.” But rather than leave this as a nebulous no-brainer, he advises that, “Gleaning actionable information from escalating online babble requires a comprehensive strategy and structure.” Importantly, listening needs to become a discipline unto itself.
Effective sharing, whether at cocktail parties, business meetings or on social channels, requires a clarity of purpose and voice. There is such a thing as being too clever by half. Unless your personal brand is about the obtuse and obscure, save the inside jokes that only you understand for your inner monologues. As Kramer puts it, “Be you, yes — be true to your thoughts and opinions — but express them in a way people will understand you.”
We all love a good laugh. Women often rank humor above looks when it comes to what makes men attractive to them. Humorous videos are consistently the most shared. So why then are we all so damn serious when it comes to sharing content on our business channels like LinkedIn? Kramer, whose wit has attracted a huge social following, explains, “Humor is an essential element to being more human online because it’s another way that we connect with others in real life.”
Even the least vain of us check our hair or clothes or teeth before walking into a cocktail party. These are moments of extreme visual conscientiousness and a recognition that physical impressions matter. And so it goes with social sharing: Words alone rarely do the trick. “It’s well known that the visual components of the social Web are more interesting and spread faster than a text-only tweet or update,” Kramer explains.
Taking advantage of a trending topic has become a tried and true way for brands to ramp up social sharing. Often called real-time marketing (RTM) and perfected by the NASA social team (such as their #SuperNovaSunday and #BlackHoleFriday campaigns), this form of “growth hacking” is far more challenging than it seems. It requires a well-defined listening strategy and a rapid response team that can cleverly connect the brand to the trending topic. RTM doesn’t just happen. “Most companies need to plan now for something that will happen months from now,” notes Kramer.
As individuals and brands, we share for a lot of reasons, including altruism, validation, empathy, curiosity, bellicosity and, of course, a desire to persuade. The rise of social networks has made sharing de rigueur, yet few take a disciplined, test-and-learn approach. Even with Kramer’s easy to comprehend formula, “Quality + Quantity x Consistency = Success,” the need to test variables like content type, timing and targeting never ends. Kramer sums it up well, saying, “It’s up to us to continue to practice the study of sharing on a daily basis.”
Drew Neisser is the founder and CEO of Renegade, the “social inspired marketing” agency in NYC. A long-time content creator and social practitioner, you can find Drew’s writings on Forbes.com, Social Media Today, TheDrewBlog.com and in an upcoming book. His monthly newsletter, The Cut, is prized among friends and clients.