The Share Effect: Revisiting Strategies to Grow Your Audience Through Sharable Content

by | Apr 16, 2024 | Strategy | 0 comments

Photo by Alexander Suhorucov

Have you ever really thought about why creating content that others want to engage with and share with their audience is so desirable? Sometimes we get so focused on the terminology and the measurement, we don’t think enough about why it all matters.

Quite simply, it’s a numbers game. Marketers all know the (somewhat disheartening) statistics of how many followers you need…to get the views you need…to get the engagement you are ultimately looking for. And while there’s no set number because of the differences by platform, industry, time of year, and a long list of other factors, we can all agree that more eyes on your content is the only way to get more engagement with your organization.

Here’s why sharing is so important.

Who’s Recommending You?

When someone shares your content – either by posting it on their account, tagging others, or referencing your work in their own posts or LIVEs – it’s the equivalent of them vouching for you. Think about the difference between an ad for a restaurant and someone recommending a restaurant. It can be the same content, but when it’s delivered by someone you have a relationship with, it’s different.

An ad (on any media)

Marnie’s Kitchen: Breakfast all day from a scratch-made menu of comfort food just like mom used to make

A friend tags you

You have got to try Marnie’s – it’s right downtown. I’ve had like three of their breakfast skillets. You’d love them.

A related business shares the content

We have to agree about Marnie’s Kitchen – their food is just like mom used to make. If you have guests in from out of town, take them to Marnie’s for delicious food, fabulous service, and a great price.

Each of those has a different feeling. But now consider that when someone shares your content with their audience, they do so because they know their audience is interested. The ad will go out to literally anyone. A tag from a friend will go to a specific person who is likely within your audience demographic. A related business sharing your post is going to be seen by a group of people looking for the services you offer. 

Getting someone to see your content is always a good thing, but when your content is shared, it’s a straight shot to your target audience.

What’s Your Audience Potential?

If you’re convinced that getting more of the right people to share your social content is a strategy worthy of your time and energy, you’ve probably already reached the next logical question: Who do I want sharing my content, acting as my brand advocate, and engaging with me on all my platforms?

The answer isn’t “everyone” – though you all know that’s what non-marketers will say if you ask them. Because these connections will need to be cultivated, you need to be selective in your approach, so how do you explain what you’re looking for?

  1. Confirm your target audience. When was the last time you really analyzed your target audience? Has it changed? Have you learned more about your business or industry that affects how you see your audience? Be sure to start with a solid understanding of who you are looking to connect with.
  2. Identify where your target audience spends their time. Take the extra time to think about and maybe even update what you know about what products your audience uses, what sites they visit, and what their interests are. You may be surprised with each review how easy it is to update that list, making it more accurate with every review.
  3. Look at overlapping interests. Once you have an updated, clear picture of your audience, identify organizations that may want to share your content and that may have content for you to share! This is a win-win because, while finding people who may be willing to share your content, you may also uncover new resources your audience will benefit from.
  4. Rank your options based on audience match and size. This is where the science of your research meets the art of your expertise as a marketer. You’ll have a nice list of potential partners for sharing your content and reaching new audiences, but where should you put your valuable time and effort first? You may have a perfect match with a small audience and a perfect match with a large audience. Will you reach out to the match with the small audience because they are more likely to engage with you? Or the large audience because they would offer access to more people? That is up to you! Just be mindful in your choices and keep track of what works.
  5. Identify the opportunity for a mutually beneficial relationship. When you reach out – through their website via email, through a contact on LinkedIn, or through their social platform – make your message personal and make the benefit clear.

Hi! <Your name> here, reaching out on behalf of <your company name>.  I found your video about <specific video> and loved it! I’m sharing it with our community this week.

While I was on your page, I noticed that you typically share content like <specific content you identified as a fit>, so I wanted to pass this along in case your audience may be interested! <blog post/video name/link>

It’s great to connect with you!

If you have any personal connection or if you’ve shared content in the past, be sure to mention that as well! Otherwise, your ask is that simple. But as you can see, it requires a little research, so choose your connections wisely.

What about your existing, active followers?

It goes without saying (but it needs to be said) – don’t neglect your current, loyal followers. The ideas presented are for creating a strategy to expand your reach through new connections. One mistake some organizations make is relying too heavily on their existing followers to be their brand advocates. If actively looking for new connections isn’t part of your growth strategy, you’re likely missing big opportunities. So don’t get too comfortable with the people who already love you and don’t be afraid of reaching out to new people who may not respond – it’s all part of the process!

Did I miss any ideas for successful sharing? Let the community know in the comments!


About the Author

Dr. Amy Jauman is an author, ghostwriter, international speaker, podcast researcher, and university professor. She is a certified social media strategist and certified digital marketing professional with a master’s degree in experiential education and a doctorate in organization development. Amy also holds a graduate certificate in crime analysis from Boston University and is an active member of the International Association of Crime Analysts. In addition to her ghostwriting projects, Amy has authored three textbooks, five ebooks, and multiple articles and blog posts.


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