Think about the difference in your posts between the numbers of Likes and Shares. In the grand scheme of your Facebook news feed, many will get a like but only few will be deemed worthy of a shared post. Now why is that?


Marketo, an award-winning marketing software company in the US, defines shareability of a post as something that affects people in such a way that they want to share it with others. Now is probably the time to start rethinking the way you create content on your website as well as the posts you share on your company’s Facebook page.


In today’s digital world, you have to make the extra effort to rise above the clutter. It’s not enough to write posts that answer user questions “So what?” and “What’s in it for me?” Content is more than discussing features and benefits. In fact, the Internet is actually forcing us to let go of our boring, stiff, old selves and encouraging us to have more fun.


Digital marketers recognize that social media is a powerful tool in promoting business. But let’s not forget that before becoming a marketing tool, social media is first social. Meaning, we can’t be the annoying page cluttering people’s feeds with endless articles boasting of the benefits of our products and business. Nobody wants to see your products next to pictures of family celebrations and Buzzfeed lists of Ryan Gosling. Don’t be a buzzkill.


Though a recent study shows that the main driver of virality (the pinnacle of shareability) is the overall utility of content, it’s important that companies produce content which are fun and interesting to users. Of course we have to talk about our competencies, our business, how we can help, yada yada yada, but we can do it in a way that doesn’t come off as lame.


So to help you mix things up a bit in the social media marketing front, we’ve studied several shareable posts and compiled their common factors. Here are a few tips to help you come up with your next shareable post.


Distill everything to a list


In today’s attention-deficit world, people prefer bite-sized information. They prefer articles and posts they can skim. Buzzfeed is not the first (and certainly not the last) to capitalize on this format, but we have to give them credit for tying in cool visuals and witty captions in every post. Who knew that GIFs could exist outside Tumblr?


In an article by the Nielsen Norman Group, a leading voice in the user experience field, they found that on the average web page, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit. Another study shows that list posts and infographics are more likely to be shared that other content types like videos and how-to articles. The key to proper social media marketing is brevity. Highlight the key points of your content and don’t forget to bring in a few visuals like graphs as these will add credibility to your post.


Take to the movies


We’re not just talking about movies here. We’re talking about tapping into popular culture. And yes, hipsters are part of the popular culture. Imagine the shares of posts alluding to movies (Mean Girls, Star Wars, Pulp Fiction), television shows (FRIENDS), and music (Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Lorde). For instance, the internet waits in bated breath for October 3rd to share the gif of Aaron Samuels asking Cady (Lindsay Lohan) what day it was.


Try to relate your posts to icons in popular culture. Are you in sales? Try coming up with a list of movies with memorable salesmen as lead characters. Are you in investment? Create an image with a famous quote from a successful investor like Warren Buffet. Package your message in a way that’s easily relatable to your audience.


Tap into FOMO


Karl Greenfield once wrote an article on The New York Times about Cultural Literacy. Everyone wants to know everything, or at least make it look like they know everything.


”What matters to us, awash in petabytes of data, is not necessarily having actually consumed this content firsthand but simply knowing that it exists ‚ and having a position on it, being able to engage in the chatter about it.”, Faking Cultural Literacy, -Karl Greenfield


Similarly, this translated to an even modern term called FOMO, which stands for fear of missing out: fear of not being in the know, fear of not being able to join in the conversation. As a marketer, learn to capitalize on this modern dread of cultural illiteracy. Create mystery, pique their curiosity. Like a fish to bait, lure them to your content. You don’t need to ride in on everything going on in the internet. Look for big news that will relate to your industry. If you’re in tech, tap into discussions about a new Steve Jobs movie. If you’re in fashion, come up with content about Taylor Swift’s style evolution. Be relevant. Place your brand in today’s context so that people can easily identify with you.


Do you agree with our list? What do you think makes a post highly shareable on social media? Write your thoughts in the comment section below.