Sometimes, I visualize social media platforms as a giant grade school classroom. I see a teacher sitting at the front of the class asking the room who would like to read their book report first.
One hand shoots up enthusiastically and starts waving in the air. She immediately starts saying “Me! Me! Me! Me! Me! Me!” over and over again. At this point, she’s almost moved herself right out of her desk.
The teacher picks her as she is the loudest in the room and offered to be first.
As she speaks, the enthusiasm is still there, but her report itself is a little lacklustre. She finishes and sits down.
3 or 4 other kids give their reports. Each one is good, but not great.
The next kid steps up and starts his report. It doesn’t sound like the others did. It’s insightful and points out pieces of the book that the other kids had missed. He brings the room together in discussion and watches how it all unfolds.
After class, a couple of his classmates come up to him and tell him how much they enjoyed his book report and that he did a good job.
In this scenario, the girl with the flailing arms asking to be first is the person on Twitter or Facebook that adds ‘please RT’ or ‘please share’ to their tweets/status updates. This person knows that the social media world moves quickly and had decided to demand to be seen and heard.
The boy wouldn’t need to ask people to retweet or share his report. Why? Because it’s great writing that enlightened his classmates and brought on discussion.
Great content gets shared. Period.
Am I oversimplifying this? You bet. There are exceptions to any rule. I will always share or retweet an Amber Alert, missing people or missing pets. These are all instances where the information needs to be seen by a lot of people very quickly.
There are also times when people add please retweet or please share to their content that is worth sharing. Normally, I will modify the tweet/update and take the please retweet/please share out of it. There is no time sensitivity or need for these updates to stand up with flailing arms.
Also, the more that people add please retweet/share to their updates, the less people are going to notice the ones that really need to be shared immediately.
Instead of focusing on shares, focus on writing great content instead. Be the kid that wows the classroom with insight and thoughtful discussion.