Why Some Brands Have Social Shareability and Others Don’t

When it comes to social media, businesses and individuals alike all want one thing…shareability. In other words, they want people to engage with their content and then share it with their network of friends.

The following data compiled by News Whip in January 2015 shows which brands made up the most shared sites on Facebook at the time and which made up the most tweeted sites on Twitter. After analyzing these brands, here’s my take on what accounted for their success.

January Most Shared Sites Newswhip

January Most Tweeted Sites Newswhip

Reasons for Success on Facebook

BuzzFeed and newcomer PlayBuzz both do a great job of engaging their audience, Millennials, through humor. Their posts contain really outrageous images and text that makes you want to keep reading and share it with your friends on social media. What I noticed about their Facebook posts is that they all link back to the company’s site. While doing this too often could alienate people who might not want to leave Facebook to read what you have to say, it seems to work well for both of these brands. The reason PlayBuzz seems to trump BuzzFeed when it comes to social shareability is because their readers need to complete a quiz to get a personalized result. Without completing this step, they cannot fully engage with any of these Facebook posts. Among the differences I noticed between the two brands were that BuzzFeed features a little more variety in the content that it posts. While PlayBuzz only posts quizzes, BuzzFeed posts a mixture of quizzes, lists, heartfelt stories, pop culture stories and current events. Additionally, BuzzFeed houses most of its video posts on Facebook and on its website. According to this socialbakers article, Facebook video has overtaken YouTube video in terms of overall views and user interactions. Therefore, more and more marketers are turning to Facebook to showcase their videos.

PlayBuzz Facebook

BuzzFeed Facebook

While The Huffington Post is also geared towards a younger demographic, its Facebook posts feature a more mature tone than do BuzzFeed and Playbuzz’s. The site uses Facebook to post about a variety of topics, including politics, entertainment, environment, technology, comedy and local news. The Huffington Post also makes sure that all of its posts link back to their site so that people who want to read more will be forced to continue reading the article on their site.

Huffington Post Facebook

News stations are also seeing an increase in engagement on Facebook. Industry leaders suspect that there are two reasons for this. First, Facebook’s News Feed algorithm update, which suggests content based on click-through rate, has cut out a lot of spammy content and images, thereby bringing Facebook posts from reliable news stations to the forefront. Secondly, news stations are becoming more savvy about how to use Facebook to present their content in the best way possible. The BBC, for instance, posts user-generated footage of breaking news events. Fox News, posts a variety of interesting/breaking-news-type posts every hour on the hour, so you can’t deny the network’s social-media-centered focus.

The thing with news stations is that they have so much more material to cover on social media than brands that have a more narrow or specific focus. They also appeal to a wide range of people. For these reasons, I think news stations will continue to remain top sharing sites when it comes to Facebook.

Reasons for Success on Twitter

There’s a reason the BBC is at the No. 1 spot on this list. The news platform prides itself on posting a variety of posts, from videos to still images to infographics to vines. Its headlines sound like they were written by journalists, which as we learned this week, is, oftentimes the way to go. The BBC makes excellent use of its 140 character count, utilizing unique hashtags when appropriate. Even before it began incorporating social media into its overall marketing strategy, the BBC already had a fair track record of inviting the audience to get involved in its journalism through web forums, debates, blogs and article comments.

BBC Twitter

Coming in in the No. 2 spot is The New York Times, a publication that prides itself on breaking news coverage. The publication knows when to use images in its posts and when not to, and it’s been able to save on character count by including by relying on watermarks to credit the images’ photographers. I think what makes The New York Times stand out from the crowd are its feature-length, in-depth pieces on particular people. They’re both captivating and exclusive, making them a huge draw for their online audience.

Taking the No. 3 spot is Mashable, a site that’s always on top of the latest Internet and social media sensations. Mashable is timely, contains easy-to-read-content and posts tweets that feature well photographed images, such as this one below. It knows who its audience is, what they want to see and how to best reach them. While they pride themselves on writing entertaining content, they know how to differentiate themselves from other more playful Millennial-centered sites like BuzzFeed and PlayBuzz.

Mashable Twitter

Many people might be surprised by the fact that BuzzFeed, whose Facebook posts tends to go viral, is clearly missing from the most tweeted sites list. But when you stop to think about the reason behind this, it makes more sense. BuzzFeed is a very visual brand. While Twitter allows for images, it doesn’t place as high of a focus on them as Facebook does. Perhaps BuzzFeed could find other ways to engage users on this platform by coming up with really creative hashtags.

Key Takeaways

Today’s social media market leaders are doing a few things that I can take with me moving forward both in this course and in my marketing career.

1. Include eye-catching images and videos when appropriate. Knowing when an image is unnecessary and knowing when it will drive engagement are key.

2. Try to be as concise yet creative with your tweets as possible. Just because Twitter allows you 140 characters doesn’t mean you need to use them all for every tweet. Allow your followers room to retweet and reply to your content.

3. Know your audience. Know who they are, when they’re online, what they want to read or see and how they want it delivered to them.

4. Include a link back to your site when appropriate. Find a balance between doing it for every post and never doing it at all. Ultimately, you want to drive traffic to your site so that people can read more about you and your organization but you don’t want it to come across like a sales pitch.

5. And finally, be timely with your social content to increase your chances of social shareability.

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NBC News Shows Us That Good People Still Exist

Qdoba Man Feeding Disabled Employee

When I’m trying to find out what’s going on in the world, I usually do what 88 percent of Millennials do — log on to Facebook and Twitter and see what people are talking about. As I was scrolling through my Facebook News Feed to try to find something that caught my eye, I came across a really heartfelt post from NBC News about a Qdoba Mexican Grill employee who took time out to perform a random act of kindness. He helped a woman through the line, sat her in the lobby, got her a drink and then helped her eat. This long-time Qdoba customer is wheelchair bound, and if not for this man’s help, she would’ve had a very tough time eating.  “I mean, she needs help, and if I wasn’t going to do it, no one was. Who else is going to do it?” said the employee. Once the restaurant’s manager saw his employee’s good deed, he knew he had to record it and share it with his friends. He obviously had no idea that it was going to go viral.

With all the sensationalism out there from both national and local news outlets about shootings, robberies and social injustice, it’s refreshing to comes across a story that gives me a little more faith in humanity. More than anything, this piece of content is trying to engage users and prompt them to have an emotional experience. I love that NBC News included the video right in its Facebook post so that users could watch the clip right then and there without having to be redirected to NBC’s site. And best of all, the clip is 13 seconds–not too short and not too long, in my opinion. However, if you’re interested in hearing more about this story, you can click on the link included in the Facebook post, which will redirect you to NBC’s site where you can watch a longer, more detailed video that explains the backstory and the employee’s reasoning for choosing to help this woman. This story is very visual, so I think that those news outlets that opted not to display the video in their post missed the mark. Despite the fact that the story was short, sweet and to-the-point, I was still able to find a story arch that included the set-up, the backstory of the woman; the problem, the fact that she needed help eating her food; and finally, the resolution, the Qdoba man actually feeding the woman. While I would’ve liked to have seen a short written piece of content accompanying this story, I thought this video was great social content because it showed a more accurate representation of the kind of everyday acts that are taking place in our society.