THE CUT

August, 2015
UP WITH SHARING

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It’s probably no secret to you that sharing is the gold standard of social currency. As Bryan Kramer reports in his timely new book, “Shareology,” “When it comes to trust, third-party and word-of-mouth sharing has always carried more weight than advertising.” What may be more mysterious, however, 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.
Listen Up

As an agency that promotes “social inspired marketing,” it’s little wonder that we’d call out listening as a prerequisite to sharing. After all, as Kramer reminds us early on his book, “If there’s one thing we should all practice more, it’s listening.” But rather than leave this as a nebulous no-brainer, he elaborates that, “Gleaning actionable information from escalating online babble requires a comprehensive strategy and structure.” Basically, listening needs to become a discipline unto itself.

Clear Up

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, so 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.”

Lighten Up

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 social media channels? Kramer, whose wit has attracted a huge social following, explains that, “Humor is an essential element to being more human online because it’s another way that we connect with others in real life.”

Gussy Up

Even the least vain of us check our hair, clothes or teeth before walking into a cocktail party. Because we recognize that physical impressions matter, we try harder to present our best, most visually striking selves in social situations. And so it goes with social sharing — the right image will not just break the ice, it will help you own the moment. Explains Kramer, “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.”

Ramp Up

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 (see #SuperNovaSunday & #BlackHoleFriday), 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. In short, RTM doesn’t just happen. “Most companies need to plan now for something that will happen months from now,” notes Kramer.

Tune Up

As individuals and brands, we share for a lot of reasons — 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 straightforward formula “Quality + Quantity x Consistency = Success,” the need to test variables like content type, timing and targeting never ends. Concludes Kramer, “It’s up to us to continue to practice the study of sharing on a daily basis.”

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