As Assistant General Manager here at Daily Kos, my duties are all over the map and span departments. But one of the most fun and interesting parts of my job is getting to strategize about and run social media. Facebook is an especially important place these days for news readers—almost a third of U.S. adults consume news on Facebook. Daily Kos's Facebook page has grown in the last year from less than 100,000 fans to over over 350,000 fans and our engagement levels are consistently through the roof. Most of this is thanks to the fact that we have such an amazing quantity of quality articles—not just front page stuff, but community content—that inform and excite people to share.
When either I or Jen Hayden, our fabulous Social Media Editor, take a story and put it on Facebook, we have a lot of options to make it more shareable. First off, we can upload a photo if there isn't one. We can fix a typo in a headline or swap out the first sentence that previews with the story to make the content clearer to the reader. These tweaks that Facebook allows us to do to stories' previews can sometimes make all the difference to make readers more likely to click through and read the story.
The thing is, though, all these tweaks only matter to people sharing from the Facebook page. When someone clicks through to the story and shares directly from the site itself, or hits the Facebook "like" button on the story page and shares it that way, they get the original version with no image and no tweaks at all.
If you want to make your content more shareable, on social media or just on Daily Kos, adding an eye-catching image or video really helps. Besides the fact an image is just more likely to catch someone's attention, when sharing an image-less post on Facebook or Tumblr or elsewhere, all you get is a big picture of flag guy. While we love flag guy, he's not the most attention-grabbing graphic in a newsfeed. TIP: This article outlines a super-easy way to search Google and filter images that are labeled for reuse.
And if you want to share your stuff outside of Daily Kos, and you have a video, putting a screenshot of the video in so an image is captured (and moving the full video below the fold) is best.
Making sure you proofread your headlines and ledes before publishing is important, too, because even if you fix it later, when people hit the Facebook "like" button and share it, it grabs the original headline and lede. And unfortunately people love to harp on typos if they're there, rather than focusing on the content at hand.
Those are just a few quick tips on how to make your stuff a little more shareable. To get an idea of what community stories have shared best outside of Daily Kos this year, I'm listing the 10 most-shared diaries in 2014 that came in through Facebook so far.
1) Are you sick of highly-paid teachers? by sboucher
2) Most of you have no idea what Martin Luther King actually did by Hamden Rice
4) TIME Magazine Does It Again: First 2014 Cover in U.S. Compared to the Rest of the World by David Harris Gershon
5) 'I Had Nowhere To Go' - Man Loses Wife And Mother Because Another Man Couldn't Wait by Leslie Salzillo
8) Al Roker tells Rush Limbaugh to "Stuff It" by ProgLegs
9) Fred Phelps (of Westboro Baptist Protests) Near Death by tmservo433
10) Arizona Senate Actually does it.. 'Turn Gays Away' Passes by tmservo433
Surprising that the first two on the list are from 2011, right? Some stories resurrect themselves mysteriously after months or even years and begin going viral in a way that they didn't the first time around. It's really interesting to watch happen, and those two stories came back totally organically—we at Daily Kos didn't decide to re-share them via social media, they took off completely on their own. Anyway, that list might give you an idea of what "kinds" of stories share, although, as you can see, there's quite a range. You can also keep your eye on the "Most shared" widget on the right-hand side of Daily Kos under the "Recommended" tab, which updates in real time.
I'm happy to answer any questions I can below. Some fun facts about me not related to Mark Zuckerberg's enterprise: I live in Berkeley with my husband and my marvelous Bengal cat, I play guitar and sing in a band called Dark Beach, and write and publish fiction for fun. I have pink hair. My mother is Executive Editor Susan Gardner. And my first baby is due in September!
Have a question about social media or anything else? Fire away. I'll do my best.