If listening is the first step involved in engaging in social media. Sharing should be step two.
If you own your own business or are involved in marketing or PR, you’re already creating content for your company or client.
The next step is to make the content you already create easy to share in an online environment by enabling direct posting to social networks, downloads and embeds.
Recently, I was poking around in an online media room for an event and realized that all the photos on that site were available for download only. While the photos on the site were being made available, there’s a big difference between making something available and making it shareable.
In this case, the photos were huge, high-resolution image files that the company was asking me to download before I could do anything with them. The problem is that even though the images were nice and technically available to the public, they weren’t shareable.
If I were a journalist or blogger intent on posting something to recap this event, I would be forced to download a huge file, save it to my computer, compress the file and upload it to my blog or website.
In most cases, that’s simply asking too much.
The focus of PR specifically, has always been to ease, encourage and facilitate coverage of your company/client.
Five ways to encourage online sharing of your content:
- Allow the URL of the image to be copied and pasted in addition to making smaller sized images available for download, too. Sure, magazine publishers will appreciate the large, high-resolution files available for download, but nobody posting online will appreciate such large files.
- Video and audio clips should also be embeddable. Don’t make me go to your website everytime I want to watch your video. Let me post your video where I want.
- Continue to e-mail text versions of press releases when it makes sense to do so, but have an extension of your website dedicated to sharing content that includes SEO versions of your press releases.
- With each item you post in your shared content space, include ShareThis or AddThis buttons to encourage direct posting of your content to social networks like Facebook and Friendfeed, and social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon and Digg.
- In addition to posting current content, also share company background information, executive bios, logos, video and audio clips, images and external links to relevant information.
Rather than getting overwhelmed by the pressure to adopt several levels of engagement at once, I think it’s more helpful to think about how to adapt the content you’re already making to gain more traction in social networks and other online spaces.
Soon, it will become much easier to generate regular blog posts and welcome visitor feedback once improved listening and the simple act of sharing content becomes a habit.
Most companies may not be ready to leap into anything new right away, but they’re probably ready to begin taking small steps.