I want to break down what makes people engage and help understand why your audience shares some something. Every parent knows that sharing is one of the first things to teach a child. Some take to it like a duck to water, others need a bit more of a push.
With online copy and promotion content, obviously you have to write stuff that stands out from the competition but there is a science to sharing and if you understand these basics you could get people passing around your brand name a lot more than you do right now!
Fact: 30 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook each month, including blog posts, links, news stories and photo albums.
HubSpot’s Dan Zarrella has professed that you need three things to get your content shared;
1. Exposure to your content (be a fan on Facebook or follow you on Twitter).
2. Awareness of your content (meaning they actually see it).
3. Finally and most importantly people have to be motivated by something in your content to share it.
Many articles have been written on how to increase your audience size but I want to look deeper and focus on the motivations for sharing.
There is a psychology to sharing that deserves a greater understanding but for now, let’s look at these reasons why people don’t want to share the content you are pushing out.
1: Do they trust you?
You can’t expect people to share your content if they don’t find you or your content to be trustworthy. Therefore you must build trust within your social media communities and lead honest and open public dialogues where you’re not afraid of negative statements.
2: Do your customers care about your brand?
Ouch. But answer honestly. We all have short memories and as Janet Jackson so clearly stated; “what have you done for me lately?”
People are looking for valuable information, great deals and a chance to meet other people who share their interests. Are you doing this?
They may not feel a commitment to your brand, but you can keep them interested in your content. This will in turn build trust. a Double whammy! Determine what your audience values from you and keep giving it to them. In fact, shower them with it!
3: Are your posts are boring?
Are you writing about your gran or what you had for tea? STOP! IT sounds obvious but before you decide whether your posts are dull, ask at least 20 people for their HONEST opinion.
People love to share humor. Get some of your creative staff to find ways to bring humour and fun into some of your posts.
4: People care about causes more than brands
The New York Times found that people are more likely to share about something they are passionate about. (See article below)
Let’s face it. People rarely wake up wondering what they can do for Coca Cola but they do dream of ways to help their favourite charity. Whether it’s saving the world, running a marathon or a sponsered silence, people give sacrificially to help things they care about.
While not a cause in the humanitarian sense, this does get people excited about being part of something bigger than your brand or product. Involve people on your journey, make them a part of it and work WITH them to develop.
Always show you are human. Let fans know what causes excite you and your company and give them a chance to help you spread the word.
5: People share to build relationships
Research shows that people value relationships with other people, not necessarily with brands. People naturally look for communities. Your brand can create a platform for that community which, when looking at the bigger picture, can be so much more exciting than originally planned!
The New York Times study stated:
78% of respondents use links to stay connected to people they might not otherwise stay in touch with.
73% of respondents said sharing content helps them find people with common interests.
Red Bull does a nice job of sharing content their fans might be willing to share with their friends.
Notice how Red Bull asks a question and then encourage sharing. Therefore, when writing your content, evaluate your posts and ask why someone might share this content with their friends.