The Essence of Sharing
Sharing is more that spending valuable time with friends and family on social occasions. We do enjoy those times together, such as the holiday at the beach with children. In the modern world sharing has many more connotations. Sharing the things we like is a vital part of the on-line social world and needs to be a part of the writer’s repertoire.
Building a great circle of social followers is one of the key aspects about on-line writing. Many of these will be the readers of your work, some will never read it. In every circle there are gems, those that do something more, they share and spread the word for you with no expectation of anything in return. The beauty of the social internet is that you can find people who have similar interests to you and they can become a superb ally in getting the word out, they will re-tweet your Tweets and/or share your Facebook updates. Indeed sharing is something that pleases them. Which works to your advantage.
Heidi Cohen says “ignore the power… at your peril,” and she is right! Social sharing is a trait that is highly desirable in a network connection. Chances are some people will repeatedly support your work, while others never do. Sharers are your superstars, make sure you get to know them and return the favour whenever they showcase their own work. Indeed, it could be argued, that the trick to getting others to share your work is firstly to publicise theirs.
A “wannabe” writer with a blog and social media connections is, arguably, better off today than a struggling writer of eighty years ago, yet in many respects we count the 1920s and 30s as the heyday of the writer, with great writers like Hemingway gaining their education and opening opportunities in that era, sitting in Paris cafes sharing experiences with other writers while working on their journalism assignments. It is difficult for us to really know what challenges they faced at that time because we live in a different era. Today, though, the Internet seems to be the gathering place for the writer and in some respects social sites like Google Plus or Facebook are the place to be and sharing should be second nature.
In my network there are writers like Phyl Campbell who actively encourage those in her circles to be active writers through her “Tuesday night Write-ins”. Fiction writer Nancy Czerwinski is a great content sharer, and one of my great on-line allies who will always repost my work. Nancy and I used to write for the same site and we have talked on many occasions over the last few years. I wrote with Scott Biddulph and Marilyn Davis at Two Drops of Ink for a while and am proud of what they have achieved there. Marilyn has always been a great content sharer since we started communicating several years ago. There are many others that come and go around the world and those moments we interact are important.
Content sharers are hard to come by, yet each writer must strive to develop their own personal connections in order to build the type of connection that will both read your work and communicate it to others without you asking them to do so.
Others Sharing your Message for you
Knowing people who spread the word on your behalf is like finding the golden nugget and in this connected world it really doesn’t matter where they are from, their sex, creed, colour, politics, beliefs etc. are all irrelevant because they are introducing your thoughts to a wider audience. They are networked content sharers and you need to build a relationship with some.
According to Garrett Moon “by understanding why people share, you can better assess your own content, and its ability to result in sustainable growth and traffic to your blog,” as a part of your quest for sharing opportunities. People love to read and share content, from those they know, like, or trust, having them share you work is a matter of building your relationship. The psychology of sharing is an important thing to know a little about, it can teach you why certain posts become mega-hits yet others of similar quality have only the occasional reader. The aim of the Blog writer is to have others share posts without any prompting.
People involved in communities or groups on Google Plus, Facebook, are often great sharers, “Blogging to Bliss” on Facebook or “amwriting” on Google Plus are two examples of good public communities to be a member of, yet you likely know of many others. Those who created these groups usually embody the spirit of sharing and were brave enough to create a public group and we should applaud them for their efforts.
One of the things that communities do is put you in contact with other people sharing similar interests, they may be discussing the very problems you write about in your content. Does this provide a golden opportunity? It should! Search groups that discuss things you are passionate about, join them, be a part of that community, be active, then publicise your work in the group, you will rapidly build connections.
Anyone who also shares group posts may also become a great relationship to develop.
What Drives Content Sharers?
What do they like? Knowing that they like videos, or that they are driven by great info-graphics can be key in designing the type of content you should create for them to share. Those are more than the average reader, they are content sharers, powerful because they have a strong desire to share the things they like. Because of this desire to share you should be paying attention to the things they like.
It should be easier to understand your content sharer because they are a network connection, a person you need to know more about, someone with whom you have developed a personal connection over time. One of my content sharers tells me that every time I post a particular story on the social web they will take time and re-read the story before telling everyone how much they liked it. That says I must produce other content of a similar type for them to read, publicise, re-read, and re-publicise.
Developing Sharing Networkers
You do not need to know people to network with them, in fact building your network is in part about connecting with people having similar interests. Every once in a while you come across a special network connection, you build something more than is categorised by passing comments on Facebook, perhaps you email regularly or have held telephone conversations, the point being that you have developed that connection further.
If a person you don’t know makes a comment on your blog, re-tweets your social update, do make sure you respond in kind. According to some studies sharing releases dopamine which stimulates a “heightened state of desire” often associated with food tastes and sex, maybe that is why it feels so good.
Increasing your pool of potential readers
Theoretically anyone with a Twitter account can see your Tweet, provided they search for relevant keywords soon after you have posted it. In reality to see your tweet it has to appear in your followers most recent time-line. Consider this for one moment. You have 1,000 people following you on Twitter and 1 percent of them read your work then your reach is limited to those 10 readers. If you grow your following to 10,000 people then 1 percent of them is 100 readers, which sounds a great way to grow your audience but it does take effort to grow your network.
Assume your network is still 1,000 people but instead of having 10 readers of your work you have 10 people who share your work to people they know, now you have a readership that grows to say 100 readers without having a larger number of followers. This is the power of being connected to content sharers, they take on part of the burden for growing your following, because they like your work. When the readers they introduce read your material they may wish to connect and start sharing themselves.
So, all you have to do is follow people whose mindset is re-tweeting? If only things were as simple. There is an art to building a following on the social sites and each has it nuances and interacting with people is an important part of the process.