Going Viral through Shares.
– An Interview with Dustin Stout – Part 3.
We were last talking to Dustin on standing out from the crowd, by building your reputation and image through content marketing, answering questions, and giving advice. Once you start creating valuable content, you need a way to have it delivered and shown to as many people as possible. Dustin shares his perspective on the importance of social sharing.
In this interview learn:
- How sharing is the best way for growth
- What makes content shareable
- Leveraging your creativity
- Your greatest advantage over competitors
Can you discuss the impact of sharing content across social media platforms?
The whole point of blogging and creating engaging content is to build an audience and to build a platform to grow your blog into something that could potentially be profitable someday.
For those looking to build an audience, the point of social sharing buttons is to exponentially grow your reach. Your individual sharing will only ever have so much reach. It is severely limited, you’ll reach a ceiling quickly.
But the power of social media is that you can leverage other people’s audiences and have them share your content for you. They will help grow your audience. So when you create a piece of content people love, they can share it with others who will love it too, and that will grow your audience beyond you.
As more eyes view your content, you’ll have greater potential for it to be shared and spread, which causes a chain reaction of exponential growth known as “viral growth”.
That’s why social sharing buttons are there. It gives people a means to share and spread your message. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to share your content. Make it a good experience so they keep on doing it again and again. This will amplify your reach.
But sharing is only done after they have been engaged. Buttons alone will not cause them to be engaged. If the purpose of your content is to make a sale or get them to like and trust you. Then the engagement needs to happen before they decide to share. They need to be engaged before that call to action.
Once you have engaged them, make it easy for your audience and visitors to share. Make it simple, only have a few options. If you have too many sharing choices, it will lead to less sharing due to the, “paradox of choice”.
The paradox of choice is the concept that people think they want several options, but when presented with too many choices, they choose to take less action. Having too many choices will cause confusion.
In the world of social sharing that means if you give them more buttons, you will actually get less shares. But if you reduce the sharing options, you will get more shares. It’s kind of like going to a restaurant and opening up a simple menu with a few options vs a thick menu with several pages.
I’ve been telling people it’s really about your audience. I recommend every blogger to use Google Analytics, find their top 3-4 sources of social media traffic (usually from Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter) and to focus on those platforms. My audience is heavily from Google Plus, so I invest there heavily. Watching analytics helps me to see where my audience is thriving: such as Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest. But it might be different for other audiences. That’s why you need to know your target audience, know your niche.
What kind of content would make it shareable? How do you get others to share your content?
There have been a number of studies done on why people share things.
It really boils down to a handful of psychological reasons that would compel a person to share something.
It taps into our human nature. As human beings we want to be viewed by others as smart. To be seen and perceived as “in the know”, knowledgeable. Seen as humorous, or to express oneself. Any form of self expression is often shared.
You need to understand a bit about human psychology, so that when you’re crafting your piece of content, you need to ask yourself, “Why would somebody share this?”
It comes down to asking if sharing this content would make the person look knowledgeable, funny or humorous? Is it going to make the person look like they are helpful or caring?
Basic human nature is not difficult to understand. But you must understand why content would be valuable and why it would be valuable for them to share it.
When you produce content, put the human needs first to generate better results.
Basically you want the person to look and feel good when they share your content to others.
Right. There needs to be an incentive to share the content. If it makes them look crazy or weird, they won’t share.
The person sitting there deciding if they’re going to share on Facebook is not thinking, “Oh this piece is so good, I have to share this to everybody I know.”
They’re thinking, “What will I look like if I share this to others? What will my friends and family think of me if I post this?”'If you look good, you feel good, and if you feel good, you do good.' -Georges St-PierreClick To Tweet
You talk a lot about creativity on your blog. Thoughts on Creativity and its relationship to work?
You’re always being creative while at work. What you are doing matters. You are making an impact somewhere with someone. You’re creating a lifetime of significance little by little over time, and that is big.
One of the reasons I write about creativity is that I’m a creative person. However, this idea of creativity is broader than what most people think.
People will walk up and say, “You’re really creative.” But what they mean to say is you’re a good graphic designer. When they say that they’re not creative, they are implying that they lack artistic skills.
That’s a very limited view on creativity. Think of creativity as simply the fact of creating something that did not previously exist. I don’t mean that in the sense of a completely original work of art.
Just by pulling together different pieces of things that already exist is a form of creation.
An accountant filling out and completing a tax form has done an act of creativity. He has used his brain to create and complete something that previously existed in another state or didn’t exist at all, and he finished it. A mathematician is creative when he does the work he does.
Creativity is at the very core of everything we do. Even the sentences that I’m speaking now are acts of creation. Your questions are acts of creativity. You have created those questions and have given them to me, which I then created a response to.
We are all creative beings, and I personally believe that it’s because we are made in the image of a great Creator.
We all have this essence of creativity within ourselves. I just take a practical view of what creativity is and how to draw it out of everyday work and life situations. Most times I put a social media spin on it, because that’s what I do.
So everybody is creative. How can you be creative with content creation? Seems like everything has already been done and said before?
I wrote a blog post on this. Even though it’s all been done and said before, nobody has your unique voice. You may not be saying anything new, but nobody can ever say it just like you.
Nobody on this earth has my unique combination of perspectives and experiences. No matter how many times a subject has been covered, nobody has your perspective; your views and life experiences. Nobody can ever write just like you or be able to relate and connect with others the way that you do, because you see things differently from everybody else.
This is a strong asset you can use for creating content. Adding personal life experiences will help you connect with your audience more intimately and make what you say more memorable. This can be one of your greatest advantages over your competitors.
That’s insightful. If you were sitting down with a close friend seeking your best advice to promote his business online, what would it be?
I would ask my friend to tell me exactly who his audience is. Tell me the name of your customer or who it should be. Not some generic answer like, “Mothers between the ages of 25-45.
Give me a specific face and name. Go to your rolodex of clients. Give me a name of a person you’ve worked with and and who they are. Tell me about them in detail. Go into your potential list of customers and give me the traits of who you want them specifically to be.
This is the biggest thing most business owners fail to wrap their mind around. That by being super narrow about their target audience, is actually the most effective way at becoming successful.
Here is a great example. I used to do a lot of branding work. People would hire me to help create their brand and logos. Most of them think branding is just about creating an art icon for the logo.
It’s really much more than that. It all goes back to understanding your audience.
I’ll never forgot this time I spoke to this one client. We sat down and asked her tell me about her target audience.
She told me, “My target audience are men between the ages of 25 to 75.”
I immediately told her that’s not her target audience. That’s way to wide, you have to be more narrow than that. We need to know exactly what to say to these people. What you say to a 25 year old male will be drastically different from what you say to a 75 year old. I asked her if she understood. She replied that it made sense.
Then we preceded to go over logo design. Typically we don’t begin this stage until we specify and narrow the identity and demographics of the target audience.
We started with colors for logo design. I gave her 3 different color palettes and she didn’t like any of them.
So I asked her, “What colors do you think definitely need to be a part of your branding? Given that your target audience are males from 25-75 years old?”
“I need it to be Pink and Green.”
She actually wanted her brand colors to be pink and green, to attract males up to the age of 75.
What that really told is that she didn’t understand who she’s supposed to be serving. Her brand needs to be about her target audience.
Everything she does, every decision she makes should be to serve and attract her target audience. She couldn’t put a name to her target audience, which is why she was so broad. She didn’t have any desire to meet their needs. She really only had a desire to fulfil her own creative needs.
Very quickly I realized this is the exact type of client who is going to struggle with business. She was not the right fit for my work, so I had to fire the client and tell her to find somebody else.
If you don’t know exactly the name and face of the person you’re trying to serve, there is nothing I can say that will help you.
Apart from that it’s just a matter of finding the right social network. Use tools like Mention or brand24. Do social listening, do research and find out where your target audience hangs out. Then just start interacting with them as a normal human being would.
Treat it as big social networking event. Like a semi-formal party where people are sharing pictures of their kids doing weird things and you’ll do well.
Finally, what’s the best way for people to contact you and learn more about your services?
On my website at Dustn.Tv
Dustin W. Stout Bio
Dustin Stout is a Digital Media designer, consultant, and speaker who helps others to optimize their websites. He is co founder of Warfare Plugins, One of the top social sharing plugin in its class.
He helps others excel online through social media and design. He is an expert on content marketing and social media strategies.
He currently runs a social media blog and his site has been named one of the best Social Media blogs in the world, 2014. He cuts through digital clutter and optimize website design. He helps business establish brands and effectively promote themselves and their messages through social media.