Social media is the driving force behind starting a conversation around your work, so it’s more important than ever for publishers and content creators to become good at it. This involves knowing what works on each individual network, looking at your audience and deciding what channels they’re on and what content is appropriate for them.
It analysed 2.6 billion shares from 1 million articles by 190 top publishers on 5 platforms over 6 months finding firstly -and quite predictably- that Facebook absolutely dominated the total number of shares with 81.9%. Twitter was second with 8.6%, then Google+ with 4.3%, Pinterest with 3% and LinkedIn with 2.2%. What’s important to take away from this, however, is that it’s not the size of the network that matters.
According to Pew Research Twitter is the smallest of the group and yet had 4 times the amount of sharing as LinkedIn, ranked second by size.
In total shares BuzzFeed absolutely dominated with more than 400 million versus the Huffington Post with over 268 million and CNN with over 121 million.
On a platform by platform basis the winners are distinctly varied. BuzzFeed received the most shares on Facebook and Pinterest, Mashable on Twitter and LinkedIn and MSN on Google+ of all places.
Looking at publishers that achieved shares on three social networks Mashable is in first place followed by Forbes and the New York Times. And on a two network basis BuzzFeed crushes the competition, followed by CNN.
Article by article, however, 93% of publishers received less than 5,000 shares on average, and only 11 received between 5,000 and 25,000. Instead, ViralNova and Unworthy are the clear winners in this category, averaging more than 60,000 shares per article.
Incorporating surprise and inviting curiosity remain the most effective ways to engage interaction with different words engaging different audiences.
For instance, Business Insider found success with headlines incorporating words such as “chart”, Facebook”, “Bitcoin”, “Apple”, “Google”, “how” and “best”. BuzzFeed found words like “you”, “things”, “reasons” and “signs” most effective. LinkedIn articles featured words like “leaders”, “ranks”, “fortune” and “successful”. And, Pinterest successfully used words like “DIY”, “magazine” and “recipe”.
Each network appeared to have different emotional trends. Articles that were successful on LinkedIn and Pinterest were mostly positive, those on Google+ and Twitter were generally either positive or negative, and articles on Facebook were mostly negative. Yet, this may be more of a reflection of the publishers’ choice of articles than the networks themselves.
Though the top 20 publishers shared content covering a range of emotions, news publications tended to share mostly negative articles, notably CNN, Daily Mail, Fox News and the New York Times. Meanwhile, Mashable published more positive headlines than any other site in the top 20. Buzzfeed and Unworthy, shared mostly neutral content.
Findings on the emotional component of successful content sharing draw back on the advice I provided earlier; know your audience.
If you have an audience who mainly responds to positive content, then by all means concentrate on that niche and provide for them, but maintain that focus. If you have a broad audience you want to reach, you may need to vary the mood of the content you share.
Do the research and find out exactly what kind of person your ideal reader, watcher or listener is, find them, and deliver that content to their fingertips. You’ll be surprised how effective it can be.
You can find Fractl and BuzzSumo’s charming infographic here.