If you understand the inherent factors that motivate people to share your content, you will have a much better chance of getting them to keep doing so in the future. Why is it that people are willing to continually pass on content from certain sites to friends, while not at all for other sites?

These are some of the main factors in play when it comes to why people share on the internet.

==> Emotion Outweighs Logic

Really great marketing gets people to take action by having them think emotionally rather than logically.

For example, if a video gets someone really shocked and outraged about some political position, they might post that video on their Facebook wall without necessarily double-checking any of the facts in the video.

It wasn’t necessarily that the video presented something shocking, but the fact that they managed to get the watcher in an outraged emotional state.

If you can get your content to really get people fired up, they’ll often be much more willing to pass it on to their network.

==> People Naturally Want to Help Their Friends

This principle is very basic. It’s the same reason why we recommend restaurants and movies to friends: we just want them to help them have a better experience in life.

If you create a website that helps people in a certain industry do things faster and cheaper, there’s a good chance your content will get passed around simply because people want their friends to benefit.

To make this process easier, it often helps to have “sound bite sized” pieces of information. For example, if you run a website about how to repair your credit, instead of having someone just share the link to your website, it’s much easier for them to pass on an infographic specifically about how to repair your credit before buying a home. If they have a friend who’s on the verge of buying, they’ll want to help them by supplying some tips they found online.

==> If You Help Them, They’ll Want to Help You

Have you ever had the experience of getting such great customer service that you wanted to return the favor? For example, you go to a restaurant whose service is so spectacular that you feel like you want to bring more people to their establishment just because you want to help them out.

If your clients get the sense that you’re really looking out for them and that you really care about them, they’ll often be willing to return the favor.

Ordinary service doesn’t elicit this kind of loyalty. But if you provide exceptional service, this kind of “over-delivery” on customer expectations can be one of the most powerful marketing tools in your arsenal.

Many viral campaigns work just based on using one of these principles. A few of them activate all three principles and really take off. Which ones make the most sense for your business? Think about it and I’d love to hear from you!

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Andy Bland - May 7, 2014

In my case, the content should be entertaining or relevant enough to share.

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