Social Media

How To Use Social Signals To Make Sharable Content


Social media is an excellent way of disseminating content – a well written article can reach hundreds of people within seconds of being published, but a significant number of companies fail to monitor what gets shared and how, meaning they miss out on some of the most important metrics around.

There are a number of ways to pull through social media data and turn it into something useful, and one of the most exciting is Social Crawl Analytics. Simply connect to the service via Twitter, and then send it to crawl your site of choice. Once it’s finished, which could take some time depending on the number of URLs it has to get through, you can export the information to Excel and start to get to grips with it.

Share and share a like
Probably the most important piece of data in there is the total number of shares, and sorting the data from highest to lowest based on this value will allow you to see what your most popular articles are at a glance.

You then need to spend a bit of time working out why these articles were so successful on social media, so take the top 20 articles and analyse each one in turn. You’ll want to consider what types of article have performed well, so divide them into broad categories and label each one.  For example guest posts, how tos, top fives and so on. You’ll also want to consider structure so calculate the word length for each article and also look at things like the number of pictures included in each one and how many subheadings there are.

Once you’ve pulled out the data for the top 20 best performing articles, do the same for the worst 20. You’ll probably find you’ve got lots of articles with zero shares, that’s fine just pick out a representative sample.

When you’ve got the worst 20, go through and do exactly the same thing. Now, get comparing. You probably won’t learn anything ground breaking by doing this. In fact, I’d be willing to bet you’ll find the average word length of your best articles is significantly higher than that of the worst articles, that your most shared articles feature a number of guest posts from people with strong social media presences and how to articles will also perform strongly.

So what’s the point?
Well, firstly you’ll be able to identify content which wasn’t shared widely but isn’t too dissimilar from your more successful pieces. Once you’ve done that, you can bring these pieces up to date and expand them so they meet the standards of the highly shared content and give it another go.

Secondly, and more importantly, you’ll have the metrics to influence internal decision makers, ensuring you are able to take content in the direction it needs to go. If there has been some resistance to regular guest posting in the past, show them the evidence that these articles get shared more widely. If people don’t believe article length matters show them the proof that it does.

Social signals can help content creators plan the kind of pieces they should be writing, and also give savvy content marketers the figures needed to back up what they should already know. That’s the beauty of them and that’s why you need them in your life.

By Will Stevens, part of the team behind the domain names blog.

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