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FRESH FRIDAYS: How to make a splash on social media

500 million Tweets sent per day and 255 million monthly active twitter users... a sure sign that we're living in an age where online communication is king. With one click of a button you can instantly communicate with hundreds of people, and most importantly from a branding perspective, create lots of interest in your product!

However, content is key, and social media is most powerful when it impels someone to click a button themselves and share your update. So with this is mind, what pushes someone to not only read a story, but to pass it on?

Sharing in 350 B.C...

This question has perplexed great minds such as Aristotle, who was questioning in 350 B.C. how he could make his speeches persuasive and memorable, so that his ideas would pass from person to person. He argued that the answer comprised of three principles: ethos, pathos, and logos.

Fast-forward to 2012...

Berger and Milkman, two professors at University of Pennsylvania, were still puzzling out this content conundrum. They worked together to transform content-sharing into an empirical test by analysing nearly 7000 articles that had appeared in The Times in 2008. They found two features that predictably determined an article’s likelihood to make the most-emailed list: how positive its message was and how much it excited its reader. They also found that articles that evoked happy emotions outperformed sad ones.

And then a few more years to 2014...

I'm sure that most of you will have either heard of, seen, or even shared the blogs, videos and pictures below:

  • Look up
  • #nomakeupselfie
  • The Oscar selfie
  • Chris Stark and Mila Kunis video
  • #bringbackourgirls

However, from a business perspective, the most interesting sharing phenomenon of 2014 so far is Wren's promotional video 'First Kiss'. Viewed over 82 million times since it was uploaded in March 2014, this short film of 10 pairs of strangers embracing for the first time hurtled a tiny LA fashion company into the consciousness of the twitter sphere. This was a result of the brand's ability to take the viewer on a feel-good journey; a perfect embodiment of the hypotheses we've just discussed.

Top tips to increase the viarality of your content...

1) Make content tug on your reader's emotions
Berger and Milkman's study shows that highly emotional content is more likely to be shared. These "high emotions" fall into four main groups:

  • Awe-inspiring  e.g. Stephen Sutton
  • Emotional  e.g. #nomakeupselfie
  • Positive e.g. The Oscar selfie
  • Surprising e.g. Kony campaign

2) Positive content is shared more often then negative content
Buzzfeed (the procrastination tool of the masses!) is a great example and now has up to 40,000,000 unique viewers sharing inspiring, uplifting, and funny articles every day.

3) Practical help
More and more people are creating "self-help" videos (e.g. Ted Talks), blogs (as well as top tips lists just like this one!) and infographics, which are one of the most shared social media tools.

4) Action

Sounds simple, but to ensure that your reader does share the information that you have created, you need to ask them to do it. A great example is the #Nomakeupselfie, where all readers were asked to take their own selfie, donate to cancer research and nominate their friends.

This change in methods of getting information seen and heard has had a huge impact on how we market businesses. We have emerged from the dark ages of internet advertising, when clever headlines were written to trick Googlers into landing on a page selling advertising space (or something a lot ruder!). Now, viral messages require businesses to compete for likes not clicks and the focus is on creating engaging content that people want to share.

If you would like to have a chat about finding a role in which you can utilise these top tips, give us a call or drop us an email.