According to a Forester Report published by CMO, advertising spending on social media platforms is expected to increase by double digits by 2019. Currently, social media content is how most people follow what is going on in the world. If you want to reach your target audience, you need to use social media. Shares and retweets are excellent for your message to go viral and ensure it ends up in front of as many potential leads as possible. With that said, there is no a magic wand you can wave to make your social media content go viral. There are a few steps you can take to get more shares and retweets from your social media content. The most important step to create social media content with the potential to go viral is to simply make sure you are tuned into your industry. This will ensure that when something important breaks, you are to date, and can take advantage of opportunities as they arise. One great tool that helps you to stay on top of news is Google Alerts. With Google Alerts, you can subscribe to company blogs that are relevant to your industry, thus ensuring that you are always current.Keep in mind that while it is important to stay current, if you are going to create material that gets the most possible shares and retweets, you need to differentiate your content. Ask yourself: what it is about your content that would cause a reader to hit the retweet or share button? What is your spin on the story? Focus on coming up with something original.Remember to focus on “why it matters”. Make a point of giving your readers valuable information. Too often companies approach content marketing by simply spewing information without saying anything that actually matters. Do not leave your readers in a position of wondering why they bothered to read your content. Remember that your readers’ time is valuable. Make sure that they are glad they took time out of their busy schedules to read what you had to say.Regardless of how great your content might be, there is little chance that it will be shared if you do not create a plan for actively promoting and making it shareable. For example, think about elements you can add to your content that will increase the likelihood of being shared, such as video or images.Take the time to get to know the various social media channels and the types of content that is most likely to be shared on those platforms. According to a report published by Quick Sprout, users on Twitter are more likely to tweet images than videos. In fact, images are retweeted 128% more than videos. The report indicated that the majority of images retweeted were humorous. While there is a common perception that the most popular tweets are related to personal stories, the Quick Sprout report found that in terms of retweeting, list-based articles and “how-to” articles received three times more retweets than any other type of content.In the process of writing content that is worthy of being retweeted, always keep length in mind. Twitter-based content is usually short. In order to increase the likelihood of being retweeted, keep your message well under the maximum character limit, so that users do not have to worry about editing the initial tweet. Make it as easy as possible for users to retweet your message.Facebook tends to work differently than Twitter in terms of content sharing. According to eMarketer, photos are the most popular type of content shared on Facebook. In fact, photos comprise 75% of the content on Facebook. When you create content specifically for a Facebook campaign, including photos is an excellent way to gain more attention. This is mainly due to the fact that photos tend to be easier to consume than large chunks of text. Keep in mind that not all photos are the same. When creating shareable photo-based content, make sure that you only use high-quality photos. It is also important to include relevant links with all images that you post on Facebook in order to divert traffic back to your website.Understanding the importance of comments and how they work in relation to shares is vital, particularly with Facebook. A Social Intelligence Report published by Adobe Digital Index found that Facebook comments have increased by 16% this year compared to last year. This is good news, as it indicates that fans are taking the time and the effort to make comments on content that they find interesting. In order to take full advantage of this trend, be sure to reply anytime a fan comments on the content that you post. Not only is this the polite thing to do, but it can also serve to drive more shares. Your user will receive a notification about the like, which could encourage more comments. To gain more exposure for your brand, it is also a good idea to “like” comments made by users not only as yourself, but also as the Facebook business page.Finally, do not expect to churn out a one-hit wonder on any social media platform if you do not participate frequently. If you are focused on Twitter, then make it a point to tweet often, and meaningfully interact with others. The same strategy also applies to Facebook and other social media platforms. By doing so, you ensure that when you do post content that is worthy of sharing, others on that platform will sit up and take notice.