Social 'virality' is a frequently misunderstood concept. Many people, including community managers, assume that people simply share content that they like. This assumption is easy to understand, but it is actually incorrect. The content that people share is not necessarily content that they like, it is content that they think other people will like.Social Media is about Projecting an Image.
Most people use social media to paint a picture of themselves in the way they want to be perceived. This means that they share jokes they think other people will find funny, post information they think other people won't know, and talk about things other people might think are exciting. Most adults don't really care about what's going on with Justin Bieber, but they may be inclined to talk about the latest episode of Game of Thrones.
Of course, what people talk about and share and what they just click on and read are two different things. Imagine you own a business which sells luxury yachts. The people who follow you are HNW individuals who want to hear about your new designs. If you tweet about your latest unveiling, you might get your followers to click on your links and read your posts, or even download your new product brochure, but your content won't go viral.
Your followers may be affluent individuals but the majority of their followers may not have an interest in the latest yacht designs, so no matter how informative and useful your content is, it won't achieve virality.Motivating People to Share Your Content.
If you want people to share your content, you have two options: change the content you publish, or find ways to extend the reach of your current content. The best approach is to try both techniques. Find out what the people who follow your followers like, and start creating and sharing that type of content. Major news events or pop-culture talk or content which is funny or entertaining is likely to get shared among a much wider audience.
In addition to sharing content that has a lot of potential for social virality, continue to share your niche-specific content. However, instead of sharing this content with only your followers, seek out Facebook groups, Pinterest pinboards and Twitter hashtags followed by people who are actively involved in your niche. These people may not follow you at the moment, but they are more likely to share the content that you really want to promote.
Mastering the art of creating content that achieves social virality takes a lot of practice, but it is worth the effort. The right content, if it is shared with the right people at the right time, can spread quickly and achieve a reach far beyond what you would ever see from traditional paid advertising.Virality Guidelines.
Here are some guidelines to viral content analysed from over 100 million articles from BuzzSumo:
- On average long-form content (3,000 to 10,000+ word articles) get more social shares than short-form content (less than 1,000 word articles).
- Twice as many people, on average share posts with at least one image in the post as opposed to none on Facebook.
- Facebook posts had more than three times as many likes and shares that had included the Open Graph meta data, specifically the "og:image" tag.
- Twitter posts which also included the Open Graph "og:image" tag did twice as well as those that did not include the tags.
- The top 3 most popular emotions invoked from content were: awe, laughter and amusement.
- The top 6 content types in order of total amount shared were: infographics, lists, why posts, what posts, how-to posts and video.
- Most popular number on all list-type content for shared posts was 10.
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