If sharing is caring, then we’re all head-over-heels in love with social media. It’s not just Facebook anymore, there are hundreds of social platforms besides, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and LinkedIn where we’re meeting and greeting new friends all over the world. While these platforms create a great place for sharing cat videos, pictures of what we had for lunch, and talking about our last vacation, businesses use social media as a way to engage with customers and prospects. Sharing amplifies a business message, while making it more relevant because the share comes from others in your social network.
Sharing is the core of these sites and often, given the right set of circumstances, you can create the perfect viral share. Once associated with disease, the term viral now has a more positive definition. Rather than the spreading of germs, it’s now images, videos, content, and other material spreading rapidly from one user to the next.
The ability of free or low cost sharing of information reaching millions of people is a marketer’s dream come true, so how can we create the perfect viral share?
Interesting, Very Interesting
Back in the sixties, comedian Arte Johnson gave us many a chuckle on the popular show “Laugh In” when he carefully examined something irrelevant or just plain stupid and still found it “interesting, very interesting.” Drawing on this, crafting the perfect viral share happens when the content is practical, surprising or interesting in some way. A study of the most emailed articles from The New York Times (shown in the infographic below) found these topics common in shares by their readers.
I Want Some More
Oliver Twist surprised and saddened us when he made the bold statement, “Please Sir, I want some more” to his cruel master in the Dickens classic. According to research, our audience is also happier with more, rather than less. Articles with fewer than one thousand words get much less attention than their lengthier counterparts — weighing in between three and ten thousand words. Experts still recommend that your posts come in somewhere near the two thousand word mark.
Image is Everything
Crafting the perfect viral share often starts with a killer image. Rising tennis star Andre Agassi teamed up with Canon cameras to successfully market the “Image is Everything” campaign back in the nineties. While you can optimize your content marketing strategy in a number of ways, using images, photos, and videos helps create the perfect viral share, with your article shared by twice as many viewers as with mere text alone.
Extra, Extra, Read All About It!
This old quote associated with newspaper sales was also a song recorded way back in 1975 by Ralph Carter. The authoritative sales pitch, “Extra, extra, read all about it” captured our attention, enticing us to buy the latest paper so we could check out the most up-to-date news. Building on this, we add two more characteristics of the perfect viral share — a catchy headline and an authoritative tone. Don’t be afraid to state your expert status on your topic with pride. People will see you as more trustworthy and genuine, while increasing your sharing numbers.
Last, But Not Least
Some will attribute this popular phrase to the theater or more specifically to Shakespeare when he wrote a short line in King Lear, “Although the last, not least.” Just as we highlighted quotes and phrases in this article, we can use them in crafting the perfect viral share. By utilizing quotations and sharing anecdotes from their journeys, we will gain further interest and more shares from our readers.
But It Ain’t Over, Till It’s Over
This pithy quote is associated with legendary baseball hall of famer, Yogi Berra who would often use this phrase when speaking to reporters. Often it is difficult to gauge on social media what is popular and what is not, what trends are just beginning and which are basically over. Using True Social Media Metrics helps us analyze the most popular posts and give us a better picture of the more powerful social media content. Using these insights, we can more easily craft the perfect viral share.
After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. Here’s hoping that your material is seen by a thousand people and shared with a million more.
Megan M. Ritter is a business writer with a background in marketing and telecommunications. In addition to contributing her
research to infographics, she also enjoys sharing her knowledge of business globalization, virtual technology and mobile communications through her writing. Follow her on Twitter.