Social media best practices

Want to focus on shares? Find out how readers help spread your content

With the widely reported changes in the Facebook algorithm that focus on friends and family, there has been a lot of discussion on what readers share, including in this blog.

What exactly is a share? In Facebook it is a user sharing your post, directly from your page or their news feed.

When a user shares your content, that post can reach more people and also new users who aren’t already following you on social media. And as posts shared by friends and family are still favored in Facebook’s algorithm, focusing on that metric can help make sure your posts will be seen.

Here’s a recent post from GateHouse site the Journal Star that has a lot of shares:

PJStar share screenshot

Why did readers share this? It’s not a story local to Peoria, but it’s about a club that could be coming to any school across the country. So a reader likely wanted to share it with friends and family.

In Facebook analytics, the publishing tools section breaks down the clicks and actions:

Publishingtoolsscreenshot

And also notes the difference between link clicks and reactions, comments and shares:

postclicksscreenshot

reactionssharesscreenshot

You can also see the difference in Insights, with the shares being included in the red color:

insightsscreenshot

In Parse.ly analytics, which many GateHouse sites use for real-time analytics, you can sort your top posts by shares, like, tweets and pins:

parselysharesscreenshot

Often those stories are different than the stories that have the most pageviews. Why? Readers may click through every crime story shared on Facebook, but they may not be compelled to share it.

Some of the most liked and shared posts in Parse.ly for GateHouse for the month of July include:

Our readers will share our content when they find it interesting, inspiring, or useful information for their friends and family on Facebook. We need to review this metric regularly to make sure we are seeing what really resonates with our readers.

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