By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
Creating and maintaining an online wellspring of useful and interesting information is a positive step in healthcare marketing. Presenting authoritative information—on your blog, your website and elsewhere—is a foundation for connections and relationships. But the first secret of content marketing—with the rich rewards of attracting and engaging prospective patients—is inspiring shareability through your audience.
Shareability, according to the Oxford Living Dictionary, is the quality of being shareable or the likelihood of being shared, especially via social media.
Curiously, the etymology of “shareability” precedes the birth of the Internet. But, in a contemporary sense, effective social media and sharing are nearly synonymous. It’s largely how people put “social” in social media. And sharing is what makes social media successful.
Striving for greater social shareability…
- Consider topics that are timely, trending or currently “in the news.”
- Create content that illustrates strong advantages or benefits for the reader (not features).
- Deliberately target audience hot buttons—ideas, questions or topics that are (reasonably) provocative. (But don’t go overboard.)
- Engage your audience with discussions, questions & answers, and follow up responses.
- Get beyond text. When possible, share ideas via colorful charts, infographics, and videos.
- Having good content is useful to an individual reader. But having shareable content extends your social reach through the outward connections of your audience.
- Inspiring, unique or amusing content is more likely to be shared. But being clever, creative and/or touching emotions isn’t easy to do…in fact it’s tricky to get it just right.
- People are naturally motivated to share when they believe useful content can benefit others—particularly people they feel are like themselves.
- People have a stronger reaction to “good news” over negative or “downside” ideas.
- Shareable ideas don’t have to be profound, but must lead to a benefit or reward.
- Sharing ideas is a dynamic element in the process of social proof or social validation.
- Spread ideas that have practical value, are instructional and can be easily put to work.
- Where and when can you embrace empathy or satisfy emotions?
- Where can your content help someone achieve something new or previously unreachable?
- Make it easy to share. Always include convenient and prominently-placed social media buttons.
- Don’t neglect Search Engine Optimization. Proper SEO, keyword use, and related techniques help gain visibility are extend reach.
One of the strongest motivations behind social sharing is when people feel they are supporting a worthy cause. About 84 percent of people surveyed by The New York Times Customer Insight Group, said that sharing is a way to support issues or purposes that they care about.
From a marketing perspective, it’s not surprising that people act where they are passionate about an idea or purpose. The trick is to identify topics that are truly important and engaging to the audience.
And, by the way, this list isn’t exclusive to healthcare social media. If it has been helpful to you, please share it with a (non-competitive) colleague or business associate. And for more insight regarding highly effective social media, please connect with us here.