So you have a wicked idea for some awesome content and you want it to go viral on social media, that’s great! But this is easier said than done. Just because you have great content doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed social success, there is a fine art to running a marketing campaign. The key to going viral is to get your killer content shared by the masses and across multiple platforms. Understanding the psychology behind why people share articles, quizzes, videos, and photos is half of the battle.
Being the driving forced behind a lot of social media marketing has allowed us to navigate the ins and outs of numerous social campaigns, learning a few things in the process. Before you craft your content, take a moment to learn about some of the reasons why people will want to share your message with their nearest and dearest.
A Part of Their World
A big part of the human condition is feeling like few people understand who you really are. One of the many reasons that social media is so popular is because it gives your friends and family an insight into your world. Understand that in sharing your content across their channels, people are, in essence, sharing a piece of themselves. By sharing your content your audience is showing the world who they are, what they believe in and what they find funny, scary or sweet. This is why understanding the audience your message will speak to and tailoring your content for them is so important for viral-ability.
As humans, we desperately want to belong to a community. Whether it is racial, cultural, geographic, or our peers, we naturally place ourselves into groups. This is why posts about specific groups get so much traction on social media. Not sure what we mean? Think about how many articles or photo essays there are about ‘You Know You’re a Canadian When…’ or ’10 signs you’re a mom.’ People share these items on social media to show people which communities or groups that they belong to.
One of the first things they teach you in journalism school is that there are two types of articles – timely and evergreen. Timely content is usually based around something being talked about in the news or a piece of a conversation that the general public is having. For instance, when there was a big flood in Calgary a few years ago, there was a constantly updated blog post going around about what charities needed for donations to help the victims, that is a great example of timely content. Evergreen is something that isn’t time sensitive and doesn’t necessarily need a larger conversation to make it relevant. People want to share time-sensitive content to show they are up on current events and become part of the conversation. Timely content is usually more viral than its always green counterpart.
Of course, emotion is an incredibly powerful motivator for sharing articles/photos/videos across social media channels. You may or may not be surprised to find out that positive emotions have a higher potential for shareability. If something is authentically laugh out loud funny, sharing is likely. Same for amusing, inspiring, beautiful and surprising content. You know those annoying click bait ads that start with ‘You’ll Never Believe What So and So Looks Like Now!!!’ Those used to be so popular because people love being shocked and they were shared because we love to shock others.
Of course, we have just scratched the surface of the deep, dark reasons why people share content into viral infamy. The actual content type does also matter. Like Canadian communications theorist, Marshall McLuhan, once famously said, “the medium is the message.” If you want it to go viral, that message should probably be delivered in video format these days.
Feel a little overwhelmed trying to get your message shared by the masses? Give us a call! Our social media marketing team is always available to help!