While there are many ways to gain additional shares or likes for different social networks, nothing compares to creating your own social sharing group. If you do it right, it can send you more and more traffic over time.
Over time, you grow a group of 10 to 20 people who will engage with one another’s content as soon as it is published on any specific social network(s). This can only be accomplished via direct outreach, and connecting with people one by one.
Firstly, a word about why being part of a social sharing group is so valuable:
1. Social media platforms are crowded. The more crowded they become, the harder it becomes for the network to decide what to show when people do searches for specific topics or hashtags. Since – for instance on Instagram – hashtags are the only way of reaching people outside your own following, it is crucial to be visible in the (internal) search results.
But here’s the catch: Most social networks look at your engagement rate when determining where (and if) you will feature when someone does a search on the platform.
In fact, it goes further than that – networks like Pinterest and Instagram will only show your new post to a small number of people – and based on the initial engagement rate, they will show it to more people (or not).
As such, if you can get a couple of shares immediately, your chances of showing up in the searches are much better.
2. The initial number of shares also has another effect: The “herd effect”. The more something has already been shared or liked, the more likely it is to be shared or liked again. So as soon as your latest post has a few shares or likes, it becomes more and more likely that someone else will share or like it as well.
3. The long term effect: If you create such a group, and all of you put out good content, you will be helping each other to grow. And as you grow your shares and likes will be worth more and more to one another – because your own followers will also add some shares and likes. Ok, it doesn’t work that way on Instagram, but it does work that way on say Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
And secondly, a few things you need to keep in mind:
1. In order to achieve the best possible effect, connect with people who post relevant stuff. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same as what you do, but it does have to make sense to their audiences. If not, it will look out of place on their walls, and it could be to their detriment in the long run.
2. Everything that is put out has to be of good quality. That refers to not only the content but also the graphics you use, the descriptions and your hashtags. It all has to work together – so if anyone on the group is struggling to “get it right”, the rest of the group will need to help him or her to get up to speed.
3. Timing is everything. Besides the fact that each social network has its own peak times, you need to keep in mind that the network’s algorithm makes its choices based on information that is collected in a relatively short space of time.
In other words, if your group members take too long to engage, the network’s algorithm may not take their shares or likes into account, and you will lose the advantage you would have had from it.
As such, it is best to connect with people who have a similar schedule to yours – even if they are not in the same time zone.
Lastly, why “normal” social sharing channels don’t work as well:
1. Social exchanges are easy to use – but the engagement they offer is of poor quality. It is of no use if your post is shared by someone who shares any piece of junk (just to get more credits for his or her own shares). Not to mention that many users on social exchanges use “empty profiles”, which just scream “fake account”.
2. The same problem arises on Facebook social sharing groups. In addition to that, those groups also have their own peak times, which may or may not coincide with the time you choose to share your content.
3. Of course, paying for likes or shares won’t fool the network’s algorithm. When you buy like or shares, it is usually a mass of fake accounts created by using software. As such, both the algorithm and your audience will be able to see that it wasn’t shared by real humans, and both will ignore it.
Having (or joining a good) social sharing group can be an enormous asset. And even if all of you are starting from scratch, it can be useful. As long as everyone puts out good content, and knows how to best use the network (hashtags, keywords, quality graphics), and gets the timing right, everyone can benefit – right from the start.
And as all of you grow, your support to one another will simply become more and more valuable.