The 6 ingredients finally unveiled to make your content go viral!
The virality of content is a curious phenomenon.
Sometimes you write a simple article or you turn a video. You publish it and a few days later, your content triggered hundreds of shares.
Without knowing why, you have created viral content.
Many entrepreneurs and marketers would like to know the secrets of virality.
It’s true anyway!
Which entrepreneur would not want to have more exposure for his brand, ideas or products quickly?
In fact, virality is simply the best way to quickly gain visibility and traffic without necessarily paying for it or being an SEO wizard.
It can also be adapted to your advertisements so that people talk about them.
Why do ideas, brands or products become more popular than others?
Jonah Berger, a professor at Wharton University in Pennsylvania, asked himself this question …
Jonah Berger has spent hours studying virality and researching what makes content, stories or viral products.
This research led Jonah Berger to write a book that explains this phenomenon so mysterious and exciting at the same time.
The book in question is called Contagious: Why things catch on.
The 6 ingredients to make viral content
In his book, Jonah explains his strategy to ensure that your idea or product has a chance to become viral through six basic principles that he summarized under the acronym STEPPS.
Readers of my blog know that I write for a year on social media marketing and Facebook advertising.
That’s why I’m not going to just illustrate each of the six principles from the Contagious book.
I will also show you how you can apply them to your social media content strategy or social advertising.
You will see how to use the 6 principles of this book for people to share your content en masse.
1) The social value: Share what motivates your audience
Social value is the idea that people who discuss a subject, in public or on social networks, do so because they want to appear interesting, intelligent or “cool”.
If the very fact of talking about a product or idea makes us look interesting to others, then chances are we’ll talk about it around us.
It is the social value, the value we place on the information we share with others.
In fact, this desire to share our thoughts and experiences is at the root of the phenomenal success of social networks.
On social networks, how do people promote your content or products?
Give your fans the opportunity to be interesting to others by sharing your ideas.
The title of my content or advertising is the first thing that comes to mind so that my content is more shared.
Have you ever done that?
Share an article or video just because the title was excellently done?
Me, I often retweet an article because the title is well written (sometimes without even having read!).
Write great titles for your articles or advertisements is not very complicated, you can play on:
Curiosity: Community Managers: Do you make these mistakes on social networks?
Specificity: How I lost 30 pounds in 6 months?
Solving a problem (+ Benefit): How to stop procrastinating and improve your productivity.
It’s not just the titles that will help your content become viral, the content itself has a say.
Let’s take an example.
You sell organic products and you would like to be a little more visible on the Internet?
For example, you could write an ultra-comprehensive blog post about the dangers of pesticides and share it on your social profiles.
It is likely to be shared by others because from the outside, it implies that they 1) care about their health and that of others and 2) care about the environment, and brands of food they consume.
Keep in mind: Think about your audience before posting, why do you want to share your articles or posts on Facebook? Is your content great enough for someone to take the time to share it?
“According to a study by Marketly (2016), the most important element sought by a brand in an influencer is its ability to engage and not the number of subscribers.”
2) Triggers: Stay in the minds of people all the time!
We constantly talk about brands, products or organizations (i.e football clubs, etc.).
These discussions can be positive, negative or neutral.
Regardless, marketers will do their best to inject their message and products into conversations.
How do they do that ?
They use triggers, which are experiences or moments that come to mind regularly.
The triggers are these subtle reminders that will help your customers think about your brand and your products … to talk better about them after them.
Here, we do not speak of the message itself but of the context surrounding this message.
For example, four years ago when football player Luis Suarez bit his Italian opponent during the World Cup in Brazil, the Snickers brand took advantage of the buzz generated by the event to obtain a boost of visibility.
In his book, Jonah gives a very good example of the use of triggers: Kit Kat.
In 2007, Kit Kat was looking for a way for people to think more about their brand.
After several failures in the past to look for an advertising campaign that works, the brand was a little reluctant to reinject money into advertising.
So Kit Kat’s marketing manager began to think about when people eat a Kit Kat.
The answer: during a break at work and many were consuming it with a hot drink such as a coffee.
And here the idea was born: to associate Kit Kat and the coffee break in a radio spot whose slogan is now famous “Have a break, have a Kit Kat”.
The campaign was a huge success in America.
One year after the campaign, Kit Kat has increased sales by more than 30%.
Why did it work?
The two went well together.
The idea of having a coffee and eating a Kit Kat reflected the notion of having a coffee break at work.
And then, a large majority of Americans spend their days at work taking coffee breaks, reinforcing the fact that they think of Kit Kat’s radio spot.
Remember: The concept of trigger is a classic in the design of advertisements, so if you advertise Facebook (since I talk about it all the time on this blog), remember to associate your message with a psychological trigger that will remind your message in conversations.
3) Emotion: Caring is sharing
This concept is simple and you surely know it.
We share and discuss things that involve strong emotions.
Whether positive or negative, it does not matter.
Moreover, one of the emotions that sticks to our TV screens and triggers word of mouth in a crazy way is fear.
Fear is selling.
And that’s true.
In your opinion, why does the media constantly talk about the misery of others or the attacks?
Because it makes talking!
Because we read and share this kind of articles.
For the greatest happiness of the media.
It’s not just negative emotions that make you sell and trigger a monster word of mouth.
Joy or hope are emotions that trigger sharing.
The first example that comes to mind when I think about these emotions is the company TOMS.
TOMS markets shoes.
Rather banal when you think about it. How can a pair of shoes create emotions?
Wait, I’m getting there!
For each pair of shoes purchased, TOMS donates a new pair of shoes to a child in need.
Not bad as a value proposition.
They may not be the most “beautiful” or the “coolest”, but the message behind them arouses strong emotions, such as joy or hope.
Logically, we want to talk about it around us because we feel good and interesting just by mentioning what TOMS is doing around the world (social value).
Keep in mind: Make sure your social media posts, articles, ads, or products have strong, positive or negative emotions. The emotions that work best are laughter, joy, anger and fear. People will take care of your promotion, sometimes even indirectly!
4) The public: Become your own PR representative !!
People tend to mimic what others do.
Rather than choosing ourselves, we prefer to emulate or be influenced by the choice of others.
This is called social proof.
But you can not imitate what you can not observe.
The idea here is to make your products or ideas more observable to others, making them easier to imitate, and therefore more likely to become popular.
We want our products / ideas to advertise on their own.
Have you ever seen how many people use a Mac in a Starbucks?
There are many !
For several years, Apple has placed its logo on its laptops so that the user sees it when opening it.
The problem was that the logo was presented backwards for others when someone was using it, which posed a problem of recognizing the logo and could even harm the image of Apple.
Steve Jobs, as a good marketer, made the decision to place the logo in such a way that it is visible to the public and not to the user.
Today, in public places, the luminous apple is recognizable on all Apple computers.
The visibility of a consumer choice by a large number of people triggers a well-known human behavior: imitation.
If a lot of people use the Mac, then it’s probably a good idea, and I should use one too.
Concretely, that’s it.
How can this apply on your social networks?
On Facebook or Instagram, you can make your content more observable by the public via advertising.
For example, if you have a Facebook page, you can boost your publications from € 5 and show your content potentially in front of more than 1000 people.
An other possibility that we developed here at Spitche is as a brand, invite your own customer to share your content on social media. They become your micro-influencers recommending your brand to their friends and influencing their opinions about you!
5) The practical value: produce useful content for others!
Why would someone want to share your content if it does not add value?
This value is the utility.
If we can talk about a product or content that can help others (i.e save money, save time, improve our health, etc.), then we’ll talk about it around us.
It’s something natural.
How to do on social media?
Here again, it’s easy to set up.
Your product is super useful and can improve people’s lives. How to make people know it?
The answer (and it’s still the same): Create useful content.
Why not make a video that explains the usefulness of your product or its new features?
It’s more and more common on social networks.
And that’s what Buffer constantly does on social networks.
In this post, Buffer presented a new feature of their product: the ability to program an Instagram post directly from their app (again 6 months ago).
The post received more than 250 reactions and 55 shares.
This is already a lot and yet Buffer is obviously promoting its product and is addressing a smaller market, that of B2B.
If you are like me, consultant, coach or trainer, constantly produce useful content for others. This is how we will notice you and share your content, giving you more visibility at the same time!
Keep in mind: Create content that shows others how your product can save them time, money, health, and more. In short, your content or product must be of practical value.
6) Stories: People want to know more about YOUR story!
Storytelling is everywhere, it is fashionable and triggers word of mouth for centuries!
You can not do without using it.
You can use it in a variety of ways, no matter what you do, for example, behind the scenes of your business, showing you on video (yes, people want to know more about you) and staying authentic of course!
In your storytelling, you can also easily pass emotions or social value.
Remember: Always tell your personal story or that of your company, people want to know it.
Can you create stories and include your products in them (as do Coca-Cola, Redbull or TOMS)?
The success stories of your consumers are a good starting point if you are short of ideas.
You now know the 6 principles (STEPPS) that have the power to make your viral content:
Social value: Is your content sufficiently remarkable to be shared by others? Think about your titles and the content of your content.
Triggers: What are the triggers that allow others to regularly remember your products? Think of Kit Kat: have a break, have a Kit Kat!
Emotion: Does your content cause emotions, such as joy or hope? Caring is sharing. Think of TOMS: One for One.
The audience: Is your message clear? Can people see you using your product? Think about Apple and the Mac!
The practical value: Is your content useful for others? Think about Buffer.
Stories: Does your content tell a memorable or captivating story? Does it make emotions go strong? Think of Coca-Cola or my last article!