How to get people to share your content
First of all, let’s look at the difference between ‘liking’ and sharing. It’s easy to give something a ‘like’ – you could see likes as a sort of vote of confidence, a little nod that someone likes what it is you’re doing. A share is the equivalent of someone shouting from the rooftops, “I absolutely LOVE this piece of content. You need to read it!”
The truth is though, that the majority of people passively consume information on the Internet and rarely share it. So when people do a piece of content is worthy of being shared, what makes them feel compelled to do it?
It’s actually got more to do with psychology that the content itself. Here are some reasons why you yourself may choose to share a piece of content.
1. The content stirred an emotion
Content that makes people feel something is far more likely to be shared. Anger is one emotion that could prompt someone to share a piece of content with their network. Now, I’m not suggesting you purposefully go about trying to provoke people and get their backs up! But if you were to cover an emotive topic, something that’s relevant to your industry/niche/interest which is either controversial or just plain wrong, you may find that some people are likely to share it because they want to express how that piece has made them feel. They want to make it clear where they stand on that particular issue.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, content which is deeply entertaining because it’s funny can get a lot of shares. If we’ve read something that resonates with us or cheers us up, even makes us laugh out loud, it’s human nature to want to share that with family and friends so that it can have the same effect on them.
If you can strike an emotional chord with your audience you really have a better chance of getting it in front of more pairs of eyes.
2. You respected and really liked the person who created it
Do you feel frustrated when you put so much time and effort into your content and then you see an inferior piece of content, nowhere near as in depth, well-researched and written, yet it gets tonnes of shares? How annoying is that?
At first glance this doesn’t make any sense, especially when we’re always being told that all we have to do is create consistent, high-quality content and we will be rewarded. It’s actually not really connected with the content itself at all!
One of the biggest determining factors in what content weshare, lies in the author or creator of that content. We are programmed to want to champion and support those people whom we know, like and trust. If you’ve developed a relationship over time with someone and developed respect for them, you’re far more likely to want to share their content. These small acts of kindness are like little displays of appreciation and support. This is why it’s so important to build connections and relationships over social media.
The trust factor is important here too. We don’t have time to read every piece of content we see on the Internet each day that catches our eye. However, if someone’s content is consistently good, always value-packed, many people will share without even reading it because they’ve developed a trust in you and intrinsically know that whatever you produce will be of superb quality and so they feel confident sharing it with their network.
3. It taught you something
If you can genuinely solve someone’s problem, answer a question and save them time trawling the web trying to get that answer the likelihood is that that person will want to share that knowledge and help others.
Teaching people something can take the form of practical tips and advice in an easily digestible format, a short video demonstrating how to do something or a longer piece of written content explaining a particular point in depth. The more genuinely helpful your content is, the more likely people will want to pass it on to those they in turn want to help.
4. It made them look good
The content we share says something about us. It reflects our personality, our values, beliefs and interests.
In the same way that we think carefully about clothes we wear and what that says about us, so too do we consider how the content we share is going to reflect back on us.
Generally, people will only share content that makes them look either:
- or more relevant
Your content should seek to give people at least one of these personal benefits. Think carefully about how your audience defines themselves and make sure that your content is in line with that.
There are, of course, myriad ways to increase the share ability of your content, at the most very basic level being sure that you’ve included social sharing buttons on your blog posts, but hopefully this shows that, as with all elements of marketing, it’s about getting into the heads of our audience and working out exactly what it is they want from us.