“Marketing is a contest for people’s attention” said Seth Godin, but what this quote doesn’t tell us, is exactly how many people he is talking about. The growth of social media has happened so fast that it is almost immeasurable. Just over a decade ago, Facebook was a tool for University students, but today it has 7 billion users worldwide!
So how do you get your shareable content to stand out in a crowd this size and also get people to share and engage?
Don’t speak to a crowd that size.
Earth’s inhabitants are a diverse bunch, and there is no way that you can speak to everyone who uses a particular social media platform. One of the most important things you can do for your business marketing strategy is to hone your demographic.
If you try and speak to a stadium of all different types of people, only a few will hear you over the noise of everyone else. If you speak to a room of people, everyone in that room hears you loud and clear, because it is much easier to get into the mind of a small defined group.
Someone in this group is likely to ask a question which you can then answer back to the room, because a few others may have been wondering the same thing. That is called “engagement” and this is the stuff that spreads.
Don’t side-step your followers to ride the coattails of an industry partner’s viral post.
Consider the psychology of why people share content, and particularly what your followers might share. Usually it’s because something about it resonates with them on a personal level. So write compelling content that is relevant to your brand and your followers are much more likely to respond to it.
When a few people engage, a few more will as well.
This is called “social validation”, but it will only happen if you forget about what others are doing and continually think out of the box to curate captivating content to grow and nurture your specific audience, not anyone else’s. Because believe it or not, one person’s viral post may mean absolutely nothing to a different audience.
Be witty, upbeat and relevant.
According to an article by marketer Jeff Bullas, “a study by BuzzSumo also found that the most common emotions invoked by articles that were shared were awe, laughter and amusement”. In doing so, you need to also have your finger on the pulse of what’s happening around you. A witty and relevant response to something happening in real-time is highly likely to be shared, or even quoted in articles on the subject by major publication.
Having said that, what you should never do is use controversy for leverage. This includes any topic that is divisive. Going viral for the wrong reasons could cost you your reputation in a single moment.
Most viral content happens by chance. What is really important is using insights and analytics to come up with shareable content ideas for your targeted audience. If you do this well and consistently, or outsource it to those who can do it for you, the rest will (literally) follow.