Today marks the end of Social Media Week. After listening to the best of the best share their ideas, knowledge and insights on social media and technology, the theme of shareability was overarching. All too often, we hear the term “viral” being treated as though it can be guaranteed while only a few brands are able to actually reap the benefits of “going viral.” Let’s take a step back and explore what “viral” really means. Viral comes from the word virus, which we all know is an infectious agent that can contaminate organisms. So when social content goes viral, it infects our social platforms and is spread one share, reblog or pin at a time. That said, here are three things to consider when striving to create shareable content:

 

Quality

With the growing population of brands on social, consumers are often overwhelmed with brand messaging. “As people consume more content and as more content is created, it’s only natural that each piece of content receives less attention,” says Jan Rezab, Founder & Chairman/CEO at Socialbakers. Therefore, it’s imperative that brands strive for the highest quality content from images, to videos to copywriting in order to stand out in a crowded newsfeed. This may result in fewer posts, at a higher caliber of quality, and that’s okay. This was one of Jan’s main points of focus in the workshop at Social Media Week, “Why 2015 Will Be The Year Of Social Video.”

 

Simplicity

When it comes to content creation, KISS (keep it simple, stupid). A good example of a simple campaign that sparked the interests of millions was Always’ “Like A Girl” campaign.

 

 

The ingenuous campaign came about when Fama Francisco, vice president of Global Always and her colleagues looked closely at data that showed that girls experience a significant drop in self-confidence during puberty. One simple premise resulted from this, asking “what does it mean to do something like a girl?” in order to demystify the negative implication that doing something like a girl meant doing something badly. For such a simple idea, this video resulted in more than 1.5 million shares and a trending hashtag, #LikeAGirl.

 

Utility

The last piece of the sharable pie that brands need to incorporate is utility. There are two parts to utility when creating content: information and emotion.

According to Hootsuite, 61% of people share on social because the content is interesting and/or important. Therefore, if your brand has intriguing information to share, social media users are more likely to be engaged with your organization. For emotionally driven content, creators need to have a clear understanding of what emotion they want to evoke from their audience, whether it be sadness, anger, empathy, happiness or humor, emotional pull is definitely key for enticing audiences to hit the “share” button. A great example of a campaign that did exactly that was the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. According to Facebook data,  “Between June 1 – September 1, 2014, more than 17 million videos related to the ice bucket challenge were shared to Facebook. These videos were viewed more than 10 billion times by more than 440 million people.” The shareability of this campaign spread across the world on Facebook from Boston to India!

Now that we’ve put “going viral” to rest, the next time your client says, “we want this to go viral,” share your newfound knowledge on the three keys to shareability with them.

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