CNN published an article saying that teens and tweens in the U.S. spend about 9 hours on social media platforms.

NINE HOURS.

Let that sink in for a second.

I don't really need to tell you how much of our time is spent on social sites. If you're honest with yourself, you already know that from the very beginning of the day to right before bed, we're each spending a pretty ridiculous amount of time engaging with these platforms.

On one hand, this outrageous social media usage is a big waste of time - for all of us.

On the other hand, its clearly opened up an immense opportunity for entrepreneurs, influencers, and established businesses to gather engaged audiences and make a ton of money in record speed.

Just as an example of how powerful social media is and how easily it can be manipulated to benefit your business - We grew our Habit Nest Facebook page from 0 to almost 250,000 followers in 4 months.

Our Instagram pages - Habit Nest & Greatest Gifters- have also been flying high in terms of a rapidly increasing following and engagement.

The magic wheel that makes the whole system turn, creating both our addiction and the vast opportunity, is content.

You scroll through your Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat newsfeeds because you're looking for entertainment in the form of videos, funny pictures, memes, stories, and to see what other people are up to.

Content is the name of the game.

Good content is the key to winning the game.

“Content curation is organizing and presenting external, valuable content in a particular niche and presenting that to a defined user base in a compelling way, with the goal of building an audience over time."

  • Joe Puluzzi

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We Resarched and Asked Social Media Experts How to Most Effectively Create & Curate Shareable Content - Here's What You Need To Know

1. The Need To Trigger Emotion

Jeffrey Cattel, a Snapchat Discover editor for SELF Magazine says,

"The stories I'm compelled to share all trigger a strong emotional response. Maybe they make me upset or elated or confused. Regardless, I need to FEEL something - and then I'll share."

Think for just a moment about which types of videos you're personally most inclined to watch on your different social feeds. Now think about the type of content you tag your friends in and share on your own social platforms.

Jeff plainly hit on the biggest secret to creating shareable content - it has to make us FEEL something. Most of the time, the reason we share content is because we want to show the world that we're either for, or against something.

On the same point of triggering emotion, Vinay Koshy, Founder of Sproutworth says,

"Show, don’t tell. In other words, show the audience what is happening in the story rather than telling them. Use descriptive words that evoke deeper feelings for the characters and their circumstances.

Create characters people relate to and care about. Use your audience buyer personas as characters to drive an even deeper relationship with your business. When your audience can relate to your characters, they will organically begin connecting emotionally.

Your story isn’t a standalone story. The story should be part of a broader long-term story arc. The obstacles that your characters need to get past should be ones that your audience can identify with, motivating them to root for your characters. Standalone stories lose out on the potential to build long-term relationships. Leave your audience hanging with the promise of more, just like the best tv fiction series do at the end of each episode."

2. Allow Your Audience To Express Themselves Through Your Content

We feel as if by sharing a piece of content, the content itself says something about who we are personally. For example, when we share comedic content and we make other people laugh with it, we feel like we're the ones making others laugh.

To effectively create shareable content, we have to think about what our target audience either is likely to feel strongly about, and to hit on that emotion in a way that can make the user feel personally responsible for it by sharing it.

3. 'Underground Content'

Ross Hudgens, founder of Siege media, a content marketing agency focusing on SEO says, "Effective content curation highlights amazing content that readers have never seen in a way that adds value and impresses the original source."

Ross emphasizes the need for 'underground content' that few people have seen as the way to become a primary source for the type of content you're putting out. He says, "Share valuable content that people haven’t seen so you become the go-to place to find the best content. To build brand awareness and grow a following, you want to be a trend finder, a trend analyst."

This hits on another massively important point in shareable content creation - it has to be unique.

Whether you're capitalizing on an existing trend by improving existing content, or pioneering the trend, your content has to be unique and leave an impression that user didn't have before.

Anyone can take existing content from popular sites or pages and share it. The key to having that content be shared by your personal audience rather than from the source, is to improving or altering that content in a way that leaves a new impression on your audience.

An alternative to finding or creating completely brand new content is including personal commentary with shared content.

Take The Fat Jewish as an example. He doesn't create any of his own content (at least he didn't for a long time). But he has over 10 million followers because he shares his hilarious thoughts with posts - essentially creating the perfect caption.

The caption, the commentary, is its own content - enhancing and altering the experience of the overall user impression.

4. Practical Value

The New York Times Insight Group found that 94% of users assess the practical value and usefulness of content to a recipient before sharing it. We want to enrich the lives of others through sharing.

In speaking about the importance of creating content with practical value, Marucs Ho, co-founder of Social Metric says,

"The sole purpose of your practical value content should be to add value to the users, not pitch the brand name or attempt to increase its brand awareness. Doing so increases users’ friction toward the brand, as they will be doubtful of the content’s true purpose.

In creating any content of practical value, always note that any message the content is propagating should be in line with your startup’s values. If you attract the wrong audience as a result of irrelevant content, the damage to your brand name could be irreparable."

Meaning that to create shareable content for our target audience, we specifically have to address the most commonly asked and difficult to answer questions, concerns and emotions our audience is likely to have.

5. Looks matter, a lot.

When we see someone, anyone, the first thing we do is judge how good looking they are. You know it, I know it, we all know it.

When it comes to content, the quality of the look is equally important. Content that is nice to look at, is more likely to be looked at closely after a first glance.

With so much content out there, our eyes have become master filter-ers.

To create shareable content, you need to get people to look at it first to determine its real value. That requires making it aesthetically pleasing and eye-capturing. This holds true regardless of the form of the content.

Jordan Kasteler, SEO director of Hennessee Consulting says, "We judge online content a whole lot faster than we do books. You only have a few precious seconds to grab your audience’s attention before they close your website or head back to the SERPs.

Your content presentation is the clinching factor that holds an audience’s attention long enough for you to grab them with your actual content. It doesn’t matter how mind-blowingly original or well-crafted your content is: if your audience doesn’t stick around to consume it, why bother creating it?"

All In All

It isn't some complicated ordeal to create or curate shareable content. It is, however, difficult.

It does require patience and experimenting.

Take these expert tips to heart and focus on these things alone.

Work with them, examine your results, and tweak the content based on your findings.

You'll figure out what works for you in no time.

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