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We are social creatures. It doesn’t matter whether we want to validate ourselves or bring value to others — we just can’t get around without other human’s presence. That is why we choose sharing as the way to stay connected.
As marketers, we want our stories to be shared, spread through the word-of-mouth. But from the enormous amount of content spurted to the web, only bits are only getting their “minute of fame”.
It seems like a serendipity, a total coincidence, but if you take a large sample of viral content and analyze it, you can see some patterns which can serve you as a guidance.
In this article, we will discuss the types of sharers, what motivates them to share and what are the characteristics of the popular content.
Who are the sharers
According to the whitepaper published by the New York Times, there are six major sharer personalities:
Altruists — the selfless. They deliver a valuable content to the ones they care about or share share good causes or beliefs with the others. It is important for this type to know that the message was received and appreciated.
Hipsters— Building their identity through sharing online. It is important for them to be the first ones who share news, start conversations, are connected with the world. They actively surf the internet to find some good piece of information to share.
Careerists—the people focused on developing their personal and business network. They actively share content, initiate discussions, engage with the content of others.
Boomerangs — just like the hipsters, they like to be the first ones to share content and start discussions. They are mostly motivated by a need of validation. These people share content for the sake of reactions: likes, comments, shares.
Connectors— driven by desire to stay connected with others and to nurture mutual experience. They like to share entertaining content or content that brings people together like events, campaigns etc.
Selectives — they target the shared content on a specific person, knowing that the person wouldn’t have found this information on their own. This group also tends to expect people to appreciate the content being shared with them.
Why they share
Here are 5 main reasons why people share content. Of course, the list can be much longer:
- Share a useful information with the people they care about
- Build their image
- Feel as a part of a community
- Feel important
- Display and reinforce their beliefs
But it doesn’t matter what the reasons are, as long as people feel good about sharing your content.
People share content that makes them look good
From what is known about online behavior, we derived a few tips:
Use an unexpected plot — for entertainment mostly. A great example is the Apple Music commercial with Taylor Swift, which went viral: the ad received thousands of shares and reactions from Facebook only.
Trigger emotions — whether it is sad or funny, content has a greater chance to succeed if emotions are involved. Companies use stories, touch the topics of animals, children, family, romance, evoke nostalgic feelings.
Create useful content — know the problems and questions of your audience and address your content to answer them. If you provide mortgage services, tell your audience about the search process of the real estate, how to avoid frauds and help them understand the paperwork behind the purchase process.
Asking never hurts. If you wrote an amazing piece, ask your readers to share it at the end.
Make sharing as easy and accessible as possible. Add social sharing bars in the beginning and in the end of your content.
At last, it comes down to the basic and hugely overlooked advice: know who your audience is. Once you know it, the right ideas will come fast.
Understand that your audience is what you are here for. Nurture it, create a content not for your brand but for them, forget about going viral, think about quality. And the rest will come naturally.
Outreach 2016 is closer than ever. Get the last tickets.