Sharebait is a popular buzz word lately that deserves a little clarification. It is often given a bad name by spammers who try to trick people into sharing content on social media by using fake content or by offering rewards.

But sharebait need not be a dirty word for social media marketers. In fact, the idea of creating something of value to increase the visibility of your brand is not a new idea at all. Smart marketers have long known that the key to a successful and sustained campaign is to provide value to the end user. Using gifs, videos, and images of cats to make a marketing campaign go viral is likely a more recent phenomenon, but the general idea of sharebait is quite simple.

Here are a few types of sharebait that you can use to get your brand, product, or website more visibility:

1. Create a free tool: While there may be no such thing as a free lunch, people are happy to utilize a free online tool if it saves them time or frustration.  Metro Bank’s business valuation calculator is a great example of a free online tool that provides company appraisals instantly and without cost. The bank receives new leads to potentially follow up with and the business owner can determine what his/her business is worth. A complex tool like this or even a simple tool like this percent increase calculator are greatly appreciated by users and excellent tools for sharebaiting.

2. Write a comprehensive resource or guide: Everyone is an expert at something! Creating a lengthy guide complete with relevant videos, links, photos, charts etc are often times bookmarked and shared across social media networks because they are (rightly) perceived as being extra valuable. As an example, here’s a comprehensive guide about Bruxism. There is real value to be gleaned from a resource like this which compels readers to share with others.

3. Make information sexy. Using an infographic is a way to make lots of boring information visually appealing. Check out “6 Benefits of Underwater Running” as an example of how to make a number of statistics related to underwater treadmill running much more interesting and shareworthy.

These are just a few ways that social media marketers are using sharebait to increase shares and post engagement. The common theme among these three strategies and many others is to provide value to your target audience. It is certainly true that a funny cat photo will likely get a ton of engagement and shares initially, but getting those shares to tie into your actual brand or product can be a bit more challenging.