How To Leverage Social Proof For Relevant Content Reach
By Tobi Adono
Using social proof, wide content reach is the validity of a job well done for any content writer. What if you saw a person shouting at the top of their voice with no one paying attention? You will assume the person is either not making sense or crazy. That’s a typical description of what content without audience participation feels like.
The above scenario fits over 87% of contents on the internet today. From website copy texts to blog articles and social media posts and publications, most of the contents around have very few or no audience participation at all. Unlike the scenario above, I personally think bulk of contents on the internet do make a whole lot of sense. However, they are mostly not seen by those who actually need them.
I believe that ‘crappy contents’ is not a viable reason for the lack of engagement that bedevils most published contents on the internet. You could take a survey by typing any keyword into a search engine and you will see the tons of relevant links that shows up. This is an indication that the articles are relevant so the problem must be from somewhere else.
Based on my research, the above problem stems from one among these two broad reasons. Either the content is shared to the wrong audience or they are not being shared at all. This is where many content marketers get it wrong as they usually think that the articles will promote themselves naturally.
Here are a few tricks to make your contents more engaging and yield results.
Take Advantage of Your Inner Caucus
These are the ones that are loyal enough to read your content and drop the first few comments. You can call them the early settlers, they are made up of friends you can call on when you first publish an article and they’ll share your post and drop a comment about it. With this first few sharing and comments, your content will be on the right part to gaining more traction. This is because the contents with comments somewhat compel others to drop their comments too.
The human psychology is wired to connect when it senses movement in a particular direction. This is called the ‘mob appeal’ in psychology or ‘social proof’ in marketing. You will agree that one will be more apt to drop a comment on an article that already has 3 to 5 comments, than one with no comment at all.
Talking about the sharing formula, it works like magic. The sharing algorithm on social media is designed to grow in geometric progression with the wider cycle of share. When you share your article on social media and you have a following of maybe 500, the chances of 90+ people seeing it is high based on the relevance of the content, time of posting and competition. That is about 19% circulation among a following of 500.
Now, have 20 of your friends with 500+ followers share the same article on their social accounts. All things being equal, they may get 10% content penetration each on their followers.
In total, you have 21.9% of penetration in an audience of 10,000. That is way more than you can ever reach even if you have a 10,000 following and share only on your account.
Target Relevant Market
As much as it is good to have a wider scope of reach with sharing your article, it is also important to share within a relevant circle. As discussed in my last article, the goal of a content hacker is sharable contents and lead conversion.
To achieve that, you need your article to be targeted to the relevant people. The equation of sharing algorithm that I discussed in the last point will be almost useless if you share your content within the wrong set of audience.
Take this article for example. It will be irrelevant and a wasted effort for me to share it entirely with a social group of 50,000 nursing mothers or vegetarians.
It will mean little or nothing to them and ultimately be a failed effort for me as a content marketer. I would not have achieved sharability – why will a nursing mother share a content that is not relevant or of help to her? I will probably not gain any lead let alone conversion.
So, it is important that you direct your article to the right set of audience for content relevance. I define relevance as “offering insightful knowledge broadly and not-so-obvious information sparingly.”
This way, you will arouse the interest of your audience to crave more from you and regard you as an authority in the field.
Use Appropriate Medium
I talked about sharing your content within the right circle for relevance and yield. It will be limiting not to highlight where you can find these audiences.
Not all social networks work perfectly for every type of campaigns. Based on research, select networks have shown the attribute of doing well for some type of campaigns.
In later posts, I will discuss exclusively on specific social networks and the types of content campaign to share on them.
I will use the example of LinkedIn here as an appropriate medium for sharing content among the right circle.
LinkedIn is a potent platform for growing your network largely because it the social hub of professionals. This accounts for the reason why LinkedIn is a valued social platform among the cooperate world.
A report claims that LinkedIn members in the U.S. have an average household income of $83,000 per year and twice the purchasing power of the average U.S. consumer, which is higher than most other social platforms.
This tells you that LinkedIn users comprise of a large sector of professionals from various fields. Done well, targeting and segmentation on LinkedIn will avail you the exact set of relevant audience that you need. More so, the audiences who have the wherewithal to commit when converted.
I don’t need to say more here, I believe the idea is quite clear already. If you have some other tested strategies for sharing contents that reach far and converts, feel free to share them below for us all to benefit from.