October 23, 2015
Success in content marketing relies to a great extent upon sharing via social media, but we don’t share just anything with our followers online. Some material inspires us to communicate it to our social networks because it possesses a certain characteristic – an “X Factor” that’s the driving force behind our actions. It’s the difference between content that goes viral across the globe and material that fizzles out before ever getting a fair shot.
So what are these elusive qualities that motivate people to share? It’s our job as marketers to figure it out and harness that power.
Human Nature Drives People to Share
As it turns out, the phenomenon behind sharing content is rooted in our earliest form of communication: Word of mouth. Humans are hardwired to share information because that’s how our ancestors hunted, gathered and built civilizations as groups. Today, we’re still driven to share information in the form of content, but our motivations in doing so have transitioned. These days, we spread the word among our social network because:
If your content possesses one or more of these characteristics, you’re increasing the chances that your target audience will share it. But material that’s outstanding in all the above categories can still sputter out if it doesn’t include one factor that deserves a section all its own.
The Role of Emotion
Emotion is probably the most powerful force behind sharing content, as our feelings drive many of our actions – not just our online behaviors. The two emotions that inspire us to share in the content marketing setting are:
As marketers, we can consider our efforts to be successful when content evokes an emotional response that resonates with the person consuming it. In the physical world, the end result is “mirroring” someone’s body language, such as a yawn or smile; online, it’s sharing with our social network.
Making Your Content Shareable
There’s no guaranteed formula that will ensure your content is shared by those who see it, but there are some rules of thumb that can guide your approach:
1. Start with a simple human concept: Decide how you want to appeal to your audience, considering that your story must be timely, remarkable, useful – and evoke emotion.
2. Build a plan around your story: A documented strategy is necessary, including the editorial calendar, assignment of content assets, editing process and other tasks. Make sure you have an established objective to achieve.
3. Invite others to join the experience: Get your target audience involved and make your content easy to share with one click. Request their photos, videos, stories or take a poll.
4. Stay flexible: Be willing to say “YES” if your audience moves in an unexpected direction. It may morph into something new and engaging when the crowd breathes life into it.
Shareability in Action
Encouraging others to share your content is sometimes easier said than done, but take a look at some real life examples. You’ve probably seen these campaigns – whether you were the sharer or recipient.
Your content must be shared to be successful, so figuring out what resonates with your target audience is critical. But you can motivate them to share when you create material that’s valuable, remarkable and appeals to our emotions. It’s human nature.