For countless reasons, content is king. It matters. It affects your everyday business performance and can be the difference between hitting a goal and not hitting a goal. Large brands know the value in content, both blog content and what’s shared on social media enough to dedicate entire departments around the world to their upkeep and maintenance. Why is content so important? Content establishes your brand as an authority that your customers can trust, assists with building SEO and backlinks, attracts the attention of new clients, and establishes your brand beyond simply your logo and visual designs.
But there are so many things about content that can get frustrating. When you’re just starting out, and even when it gets going smoothly, it can oftentimes feel like your content isn’t going anywhere. It feels like you’re putting time and effort into something that isn’t yielding a ton of results, whose measurability may be difficult. Content is a long-haul strategy. It’s not meant to be quick, it’s meant to be long-lasting. Yet there are brands out there that have mastered the ability for content to be rapidly effective, also known as going viral. Going viral means that a piece of content gets shared over and over since it affects the reader or viewer in some way. Now, there’s a method to how and why things go viral and for content, can be the small, measurable boost that your brand needs.
Sharing and word of mouth carries weight. Consider your own personal usage of sites like Facebook and Twitter – there are accounts and friends that you follow that you find to be funny, engaged, thoughtful, and informative. It’s likely that you trust their judgment and insight, so you read or look at what they have to say. According to the Nielsen Global Trust Report in Advertising, 83% of people trust the opinions and recommendations of their family and friends. This means that the best form of advertising your small business will receive is sharing content and recommendations from other people to their extended networks.
While previously recommendations came from word of mouth, social media has connected us with more people than ever before and widened the kind of marketing, advertising, image, and brand content that we’re exposed to. Not only is there a ton of information shared across our screens on a daily basis, but we’re exposed to competing narratives. So when your old college roommate posts about a new skin care product they’re using or your dad recommends a new bank, you’re more likely to click through and see what they’re recommending, and even use the product yourself. Virality works a lot like this and has numerous benefits – it means that the content that is being put out there strikes a chord that resonates with many different people, calling attention to you and your brand.
Content sharing on social media can be broken down a few different ways, and there are some common threads that link pieces that are highly viral and those that just get posted to the abyss. We’re going to outline for you here.
There are many key lessons and takeaways from examining social sharing that can help your content perform much better. Based on what you know about why people share what they do, there are actionable items for any small business owner to increase their marketing potential, social shares, and bring in additional revenue.
Most importantly, you want to bring content of value to your readers. This means content that is enticing, not just content for content’s sake. This includes content that tells them how to do something, a how-to guide, educational and informative while being entertaining. The value of what you’re sharing will shine through and make virality a lot easier. Don’t just whip something together – think about what the reader will be able to get out of it that they weren’t able to from anything else.
Here are some other handy tips and lessons about sharing that ties into what we learned above:
In short, sharing on social media is part science, part strategy, and part luck. Well-placed viral campaigns can sometimes flop when they don’t appeal to the right emotion or target audience, while a random, heartfelt post can get thousands of shares for tapping into a culturally sensitive and relevant point in time. When writing and creating content, remember the lessons here to tap into some of the things that really do work, and watch your posts get more and more success!