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3 Ways to Use BuzzSumo to Boost Your Social Media Marketing Efforts

I’m a big fan of BuzzSumo. For those who've not heard of it, BuzzSumo is a content discovery tool that provides a wide range of analytical data on social shares and sharers. I became aware of BuzzSumo some time ago – Steve Rayson, the director at BuzzSumo, is a regular contributor to Social Media Today, and he’d referenced the app several times in his posts. At first I thought Steve might be pushing it too much, that it couldn’t possibly be as useful as his posts suggested. But the more I used it, the more uses I found for it, and the more I’ve come back to it again and again. It’s a powerful, intelligent, tool that all social media marketers should have in their bag of tricks. Here’s three ways I’ve found BuzzSumo to be massively helpful:

1. Find the people who are sharing your content

This is the most basic function of BuzzSumo - for any post URL you enter into the search field, BuzzSumo will provide a list of exactly how many times that post has been shared across Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. Clicking on the ‘View Sharers’ option gives you a list of all the Twitter users who have shared that post - this is great for working out who’s reading your content and which users have shown interest in what you've got to say. This is particularly relevant for influencer outreach – BuzzSumo identifies influencers with an icon below their profile image so you can quickly see if any influential users have engaged with your content. If any have, it’s a great opportunity to get in touch and start a dialogue – influencers can greatly amplify your message, so it's worth getting in touch to say thanks, at the least. You can also click on their profiles to get more in-depth analysis of what content they’re sharing overall, including which blogs they primarily share content from. This info can assist in targeting your future guest-blogging outreach plans in order to place content where influencers are looking.

Knowing who’s sharing your content can also help direct your online marketing strategy. For example, I recently did some research for a company who sell tech products, and those products have multiple applications, ranging from retail to worksites. In looking at the sharers of their content, I found that their posts were only being shared by people within the tech sector itself. This isn't really the audience they wanted to reach, and the data provided gave them the impetus to re-asses their efforts and seek content placements on alternate sources in order to widen their messaging and appeal to different markets.

Another helpful aspect of the sharer search option is the ability to export the data to Excel. In one case I looked at, some of the clients’ content had been shared a heap of times, but I needed to know whether it was reaching their audience in Australia, specifically. By exporting the sharer data, I could filter the profile list by location and get a clear idea of the potential reach, based on sharers within Australia alone. This, again, provided a clearer understanding of the client’s market impact and gave additional insight to help them plan and focus their future outreach efforts. 

2. Find out the top posts from your own, or any other, domain

Wanna know which of your posts is getting the most attention? Paste your blog URL into BuzzSumo and it’ll come back with a list of all your content and the relative social shares for each post. This is a massive help in guiding content direction – you can see which of your posts have done well, which topics are resonating amongst your audience, and use that as a guide when deciding on what to post next.

This option also helps you find out what content is doing well within your industry – enter any domain, or even a topic, and BuzzSumo will come back with a list of top posts, showing what issues are gaining the most traction and coverage. This can help with your guest blogging efforts – if you’ve identified an industry blog you want to submit to, you can use this listing to determine what posts have done well on that site, enabling you to focus your material on specific topics or ideas that they’re likely to be interested in – and you’ll also know what they’ve already published on each topic, so you can come up with unique angles they haven’t yet covered.

3. Use BuzzSumo data to better target Twitter ads

One of the options in Twitter’s advertising platform is targeting people similar to the followers of specific @ handles. For example, if you wanted to reach people who were interested in beer in Melbourne, you could locate the top beer blog in the city, enter that @ handle into Twitter ads and Twitter would then focus your ad onto people with the same characteristics and interests as the followers of that user. This additional level of focus can greatly improve your ad performance, as you’re hitting a very specific group, and a group which, if targeted correctly, is most likely to be interested in your message. But you need the Twitter handles to get there.

Using BuzzSumo, you can look up a post on a topic closely aligned with your business. You can then look up the sharers, export that list, then narrow it down to users from your geographic region of focus. You now have a listing of Twitter users who’ve shared content closely related to your business, which means they, and their followers, are likely to pay attention to your offering if you can reach them. Enter that list of @ handles into your Twitter ad campaign and there you are – a focussed list for your Twitter ad campaign.

There are a heap of data options in BuzzSumo, and I’m finding different ways to use the info every time I go through it. As with most good apps, the more you use it, the more you’ll get out of it, but it really is one of those ones that stands out and gets you thinking of the possibilities and uses. If you haven’t tried BuzzSumo yet, I urge you to try it out.

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