Creating Shareable Content
Unraveling the Psychology of Viral Marketing
Information is constantly bombarding us from every corner of the internet and the quest to create shareable content for viral marketing has become the goal for many large brands. What makes some content go viral, reaching millions, while others languish in relative obscurity? It’s a question that has captivated marketers, content creators, and psychologists alike. In this article, we’ll look into the psychology behind viral content and explore useful strategies for crafting shareable content that will resonate with your audience.
Understanding Viral Content
To grasp the art of creating shareable content, we first need to understand what viral content is and why it captivates our attention. Viral content refers to any piece of online material that spreads rapidly and widely across the internet through social media, email, or other online platforms. This phenomenon isn’t random; it’s deeply rooted in human psychology and the way we connect with the content we consume.
Emotional Appeal: The Power of Emotion
One of the cornerstones of shareable content is its ability to evoke emotions. Humans are naturally drawn to content that makes them feel something, whether it’s laughter, anger, sadness, or inspiration. Emotional content tends to generate more shares because people want to share those feelings with others.
For example, consider the heartwarming stories of unlikely friendships between different species. These stories tug at our heartstrings, making us feel a sense of warmth and compassion. Consequently, we’re more inclined to share such content with our friends and followers, spreading those positive emotions.
Novelty: The Element of Surprise
Another key element in crafting shareable content is novelty. We are wired to seek out new and unique experiences, and this extends to the content we consume. When something breaks the mould or surprises us, it piques our curiosity, prompting us to share it with others.
Think about how viral challenges and trends emerge on social media platforms. These challenges often involve quirky, unexpected, or humorous elements that capture our attention. By participating and sharing, we become part of something new and exciting, amplifying its reach.
Relatability: Connecting on a Personal Level
People are more likely to share content that resonates with them on a personal level. This relatability can take various forms, from shared experiences to common struggles. When content mirrors our own thoughts, feelings, or situations, we see ourselves in it and feel compelled to share it.
Brands often tap into this by creating content that addresses common challenges or questions their target audience faces. By providing solutions or insights that resonate, they establish a stronger connection with their audience and increase the likelihood of their content going viral.
Positive or Negative Affect: Evoking Strong Reactions
Content that elicits strong emotional reactions—whether positive or negative—is more likely to be shared. Positive content, such as heartwarming stories or feel-good videos, spreads joy and optimism. On the other hand, negative content, like controversial debates or shocking revelations, can also garner significant attention.
However, it’s essential to tread carefully when using negative content, as it can backfire if not handled thoughtfully. Striking the right balance between positive and negative affect is crucial for creating shareable content that resonates with a broad audience.
The Role of Social Validation
One of the driving forces behind the viral spread of content is social validation. When we see others engaging with and sharing content, we’re more inclined to do the same. This phenomenon is deeply rooted in the psychology of conformity and our desire to belong to a group.
Social Proof: Following the Crowd
Social proof is the psychological concept that people tend to follow the actions of others when they are uncertain about what to do. In the context of viral content, when we see a post with thousands of likes, comments, and shares, it sends a signal that this content is worth our attention. We are more likely to engage with it and share it because others have already validated its value.
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out): The Urgency to Share
FOMO is a powerful motivator in the digital age. When we see our friends or connections sharing a piece of content, we fear missing out on something exciting or important. We quickly hit the share button to avoid this feeling of exclusion, contributing to the content’s viral journey.
Understand Your Audience: Know Thy Sharers
To create content that resonates with your target audience, you must first understand who they are, what they care about, and what problems they need to solve. Conduct thorough audience research to understand their preferences, demographics, and pain points.
Use Visual and Interactive Elements: A Picture Paints a Thousand Shares
Visual content, such as images, videos, infographics, and interactive elements, tends to perform exceptionally well on social media. People are drawn to visually appealing content that is easy to consume and share. Invest in high-quality visuals that align with your brand and message.
Tell Compelling Stories: Weaving Narratives
Stories are a powerful tool for human connection. Craft narratives that not only showcase your brand or message but also engage your audience emotionally. Whether it’s a success story, a customer testimonial, or a journey of transformation, stories capture attention and make your content more shareable.
Create Shareable Headlines and Captions: Hook Them In
Your content’s headline or caption is the first thing your audience sees. Make it attention-grabbing and shareable. Use action verbs, curiosity gaps, and emotionally charged language to entice readers to click and share.
Trending Topics: Join the Conversation
Staying up-to-date with trending topics and events in your niche or industry can provide opportunities to create timely and shareable content. By aligning your content with current discussions, you can tap into existing conversations and increase the likelihood of your content going viral.
Encourage User-Generated Content: Let Your Audience Shine
User-generated content (UGC) is a goldmine for shareable content. Encourage your audience to create content related to your brand or message and share it with their networks. UGC not only boosts engagement but also extends your content’s reach to new audiences.
Timing Matters: Strike While the Iron Is Hot
Posting your content at the right time can significantly impact its shareability. Analyse your audience’s online behaviour to determine when they are most active and engaged. Schedule your posts accordingly to maximize visibility and sharing potential.
Engage with Your Audience: Foster Relationships
Building strong relationships with your audience is essential for creating shareable content. Respond to comments, engage in conversations, and show genuine interest in your audience’s opinions and feedback. When your audience feels valued, they are more likely to share your content.
Harness the Power of Influencers: Partner with Influential Voices
Collaborating with influencers in your industry can help amplify your content’s reach. Influencers have a dedicated following that trusts their recommendations. When they share your content, it gains credibility and exposure to a broader audience.
Monitor and Analyse: Learn from Your Successes and Failures
Lastly, remember to track the performance of your content. Use analytics tools to measure engagement, shares, and reach. Analyse what worked and what didn’t, and use these insights to refine your future content strategies.
Creating shareable content for viral marketing is a dynamic blend of psychology, strategy, and creativity. By understanding the psychology behind viral content and implementing the right strategies, you can increase your chances of crafting content that resonates with your audience and spreads like wildfire across the digital landscape. Keep in mind that creating shareable content is not a one-size-fits-all approach. It requires ongoing experimentation, adaptation, and a deep understanding of your target audience. So, start with the fundamentals, embrace creativity, and watch your content soar to new heights of viral success.
If your business could benefit from implementing a marketing strategy focused on shareable content creation or would like to improve your overall web presence then get in touch with Simon for a free consultation. Over the past 20 years, Simon has helped hundreds of business improve their marketing and sales. We have all the tricks, tips and expertise available at a fraction of the cost of a large marketing agency.