Why Shares Are the Key to Growing Your Following – Episode 5

James Nord
February 23, 2022
Updated Feb 09, 2024

Welcome to Negronis with Nord. Today’s episode focuses on social sharing. What makes us do it? What makes something shareable? How can you achieve the ultimate engagement: shares? And more…

Each episode will focus on your most pressing questions about the space. You can submit your questions here.

This episode includes:

  • As promised, link to watch the webinar here.
  • Link to download webinar takeaways here.
  • Today’s question: How can you create content that is shareable?
  • Mastering the TikTok algorithm
  • How to grow your following on Instagram algorithm
  • Why do we share content?
  • Research exercise to try

A reminder: we hosted a webinar

James Nord: Welcome. Negronis with Nord, episode number five. This is the last thing I do before going to vacation. I am getting up at 6:00 AM tomorrow and flying to St. Martin and probably having like 10 COVID tests and then taking a ferry to Anguilla where I will sit for three days and do absolutely all. That's super excited. I'm excited to be warm again. By the time this comes out, we will have finished a webinar. Y'all know we had DonYe on a couple of weeks ago, talking with me about creator burnout and about following your passions. And DonYe did an amazing webinar all around how to be a good partner to black creators all year long. If you haven't seen it, there is a link to watch, right? There is a link to watch the webinar. There is a download of the insights from it that you can click a link and download that now. Absolutely if you're a brand, make sure you watch that whole webinar and download those insights.

Shareable content is the secret

James: Okay. Today? What are we talking about? We are talking about sharing. Sharing is caring. No, I had mentioned this in my predictions for 2022, talking about shareability being really important, but I want to dive into it a little bit more and I will start by saying, the only path to repeatable consistent growth on social over the next couple of years is creating shareable content. That is it. That is the secret. That is all.

How to grow your following on TikTok

James: Let's talk about TikTok. Their algorithm works in a couple of ways.

  1. First watch time, what percentage of the video did people watch?
  2. Two is to likes, is to comments, no two is shares. Okay. How many people are sharing it?
  3. Three is comments. All right.

So, that is what drives the TikTok algorithm. So if you are looking to hit the like TikTok algorithm jackpot, you need to be a creating content that is shareable.

How to grow your following on Instagram

James: On Instagram, a place that is much harder to grow. Let's just think about how we grow.

  1. First somebody has to figure out who the fuck we are, right? They have to land on our Instagram. How are they doing that? What's the last time you looked at the Explore page? Mine weirdly is like bodybuilders. I don't understand why I don't follow any bodybuilders, but I have a lot of bodybuilder content. So I do not spend a lot of time in the explore page, right? So outside the explore page, how's somebody finding your account today?
  2. They could find it because a brand reposted you or what, or it gets shared, right?
  3. Or somebody shares your posts either in a DM, on Twitter, on their stories like that is it, right?
  4. So you need to get people to land on your page and then you need to convert them and get them to hit follow, right? That is how you gain a follower.

What you should be optimizing for is driving as many people as is humanly possible to your profile, right? And I encourage all of you to start a Google Docs with weekly profile views. And just every week go into your Instagram insights, pull out how many profile views you have and start tracking it and figure out what is driving the profile views. Because without profile views, you can't follow. I can. It is literally impossible for me to follow you without landing on your profile.

Why do people share content?

James: And number one is somebody shares your content. Why did they share it? We were just talking about this and talking about why do you share things? There's the obvious stuff we can go after, we can go through it. Right? Educational content gets shared a lot. Memes, really funny stuff gets shared a lot, that's especially true on TikTok. Sharing a post, be it publicly or in a DM, which is more often the case, it's almost instinctual.

If you think about your own behavior, you probably don't even think about it. You see a post and you're instantly like I need to share that, either with a specific person, a group chat you have or on your stories, right? That is the feeling that you are trying to recreate, right? You want to have made something that in some way elicits a strong enough emotional response that someone is like, oh I am having this really positive emotional response right now after seeing this post, I want to share that with people. You have the ability by sharing that post of giving that to more people and that's what you need to create. Your content needs to create that emotional spark in people. And again, you can do that by educating them, the ability to reframe something in a new way for somebody and let them see it a new way.

We saw this in 2020 with the explosion of social justice posts around after the murder of George Floyd, right? And there were all this amazing content that was being shared. They were taking these big concepts and breaking them down into these illustrated education that was super shareable. And you would go through these posts and you would be like, wow, I have like learned something really impactful that I am going to carry with me forever. It took me 15 seconds of consuming this post to learn that. And now I'm going to share it with either my followers or my friends and family, because they can also become a slightly better, slightly more educated, slightly more interesting person in 10 or 15 seconds giving the person you share it to that same emotional response you had, you do get benefit from that.

If you can do that through education, through comedy, through inspiring people, they're going to hit that share button.

People are benefiting from it. If you can do that through education, through comedy, through inspiring people, they're going to hit that share button. People are vastly and infinitely complex and their tastes change every day and so I think it is really hard to make a list of the 20 things that you can do to make a post more shareable. We'll always go back to the three tenets that the things that you create need to be educational, inspirational or educate, inspire, entertain. They need to be entertaining, inspiring or educational. That's the foundation you got to have it. What the nuance of how you get from a post that I liked, a post that I remembered, to a post that I share, is a little bit harder to put into a list. So what I would do if I were you, just for a week, think about the post that you share.

Maybe every post that you share also save it to a board as a shared post board and just do it for a week. And at the end of the week go through it and try and figure out what it was. Is there any through lines? Why did you share these posts and try and learn something and also go to your insights on Instagram and go to your most shared posts and try and understand what connects these things. Obviously, my number one most shared post is my engagement, which I knocked out of the fucking park as we already discussed. All the other ones are times that I like wrote a really long caption. You can find a through line. If I wanted to create more shareable posts, I would spend three or four hours on Sunday, just writing long captions, really thinking about what I want to say and trying to say something impactful. I don't do that.

If you wanted to grow your account, I believe that stepping back and really focusing on less but better and shareable content, would do you better than feeling like you're on some hamster wheel, you're trying to keep up and you got to do three reels a week and five in feeds and at least 10 stories. That's not the path. That's not what's going to be successful.

Create content that is so good that people are like, oh my God, you have to see this. There is no hack. There is no best practice. There's no amount of posting or focusing on reels or videos that is going to get you where you want. That's the bud of the bud and that is the key to everything. Think about shareable content, try and understand how to get more of it, and success. With that, I'm going to finish this drink, get a spray tan, obviously look at me and I'm going to go on vacation. So cheers.

Cheers, and thanks for watching.

Psst… You can still watch all 202 A Drink with James episodes here. Binge it – we dare you!

And make sure to subscribe to the Fohr YouTube channel to get notified of new episodes.

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