How to Make Your Content “Share-Worthy”
by Hallie Moser
The idea that content goes viral still blows my mind – that an image of a fan at a sporting event, one of millions, can get captured and “memed” by the entire internet. It is one of the most fascinating things about the social media community today.
I don’t know if we’ll ever have the full reasoning behind why something goes viral – but when you’re creating content, there are some tips that you can use to make it “share-worthy”.
1. Create Conversation
Consider asking your audience to share their own perspective through your content to make it more engaging. For example, include postings such as “These are our ideas, what are your thoughts?” The comments that you get will not only help you with your business decisions, but will also gets people talking about your organization.
The goal of content is to connect and engage users with like-minded people. When asked why they share in a recent NYT Insight Group study, 73 percent of people said it was “to nourish and grow their relationships.”And, 84 percent in that same study share to show support of causes and issues they care about.
So by creating conversations about causes people care about, you can get users passionate and keep them talking. They will enlist the help of their followers, and the process will repeat. Make sure you include social media sharing button to continue the process.
2. Like to be liked, like to be positive
There is an indubitable desire for approval instilled in us. When content is liked by many, we’re more likely to like it – in fact, we’re 32 percent more likely to like it.
This need for validation makes popularity infectious. A recent study showed that our brain releases dopamine (a neurochemical known as the “reward molecule” that’s released after certain human actions or behaviors, such as exercising, or setting and achieving a goal) when we are liked on social media. It’s addictive because it makes us feel good. Therefore, we’re more likely to share things that we think will be shared/liked.
How can you effectively implement this? Make sharing buttons (with the share count) clearly visible around the content you publish. This way people will know how many others have seen and liked your content, and feel more assured that it will be liked by whom they share it with.
Keep this shared content positive, as we would rather be the “bearer of the good news” rather than a “Debbie downer.” Emotions such as delight, astonishment, excitement, awe, anger, frustration or anxiety get shared more than one that evoked low-arousal or deactivating emotions such as sadness.
Make sure that your headlines evoke curiosity and awe, which will trigger positive high arousal emotions. It’s a marketing principle backed by psychology — humans want to feel. Include stories as they can make any piece of content engaging, memorable and shareable.
3. Make it valuable AND pretty
The NYT Insight Group found that 94 percent assessed the usefulness of the content to the recipient before sharing. People share is to enrich the lives of others.
This is why “how-to” content can go viral often. When content specifically addresses frequently asked questions, or shares tips to make a complex process/concept easier to implement/understand it often generates more organic traffic from search engines as well.
Research your demographics in order to understand their needs and desire so you can create content that relates to them (and in the way they like to view it). For example, if your audience consists of visual artists, infographics and imagery might trigger greater sharing.
In general, articles with images are 94 percent more likely to be shared on Facebook, and tweets with images are 150 percent more like to be retweeted! Invest in visual content including infographics and video, and optimize your written content with sub headers and lists to make it more visually-appealing.
Sidenote – Make sure your brand name and contact information won’t be lost once the content goes viral. If you create an infographic, embed your logo within the image.
If you get stuck, just remember that people want to use your content to better the lives of others. Your job should be to make that process as easy as possible.
You can, of course, always throw in an incentive here or there by recognizing a top sharer, offering discounts, prizes etc. but by simply applying these three concepts you are sure to increase your content shares…maybe even viral!
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