This week I’d like to consider the question, “Why do people share online?” At the heart of understanding this is the key to making content go viral and increasing the spread of your content marketing. That’s pretty important stuff if you’re looking to increase marketing effectiveness for minimal budget.
A friend sent me a link to this article by Brent Coker, called: PR Secrets, How to go viral. Essentially he argues it’s about social currency. “People share things because they want to be seen in a certain way – your friend who constantly shares TED talks likely wants to be seen as intelligent, while your friend who shares memes wants to be seen as funny.”
Basically he is saying people will share if they think it will enhance someone’s opinion of them. My friend noted this was likely obvious, but she hadn’t made that link before.
I’d like to add my own spin on this, and ask you to consider this: IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. IT’S ABOUT THEM.
I think the secret to having your content shared is to consider the next person in line to share, not yourself. Knowing my audience, if I give you something that you will in turn look good sharing, I have pretty much guaranteed you will continue to share the content. And the cycle will continue. That’s the secret of going viral. Essentially it’s less about making myself look smart, funny, insightful or connected to an inner circle. It’s about celebrating you taking credit for it.
Ruminate on that one for a while. It just might cause you to think differently about what you share and how you do it.