Today I want to talk about the science of sharing and how to make your content go viral. There are seven secrets to viral content that most people aren’t aware of—simple things that are much more likely to get people to share a status update, a photo, or any other kind of Facebook post.
I’m going to share those with you in just a moment. But first, you need to have an understanding of why certain content gets shared, while other content gets overlooked.
Why Content Gets Shared Virally
When we are trying to figure out how to get our content shared virally, we need to know why people share content in the first place. The answer is people share content (mostly photos with stories) that are represented the way they want to be perceived.
People want to be perceived as kind, fun, benevolent, and selfless and will share content that represents them in that way. This is actually a survival mechanism that humans have used to move up in social status in order to have the best chance at gaining resources.
The Science of Sharing in 7 Secrets
So now let’s look at the seven secrets to the science behind getting your content shared:
1) Create posts with a positive emotion.
2) Make sure your post has a high emotional charge.
3) Use your own stories of love, kindness, and generosity (show you are human).
4) Make your business stand for something selfless and use that in your posts.
5) Get amazing viral photos from the Flickr creative commons.
6) Create your own Photo Album Stack.
7) Use the simple 3 Step Viral Post Formula.
1) Create posts with positive emotion
A study done recently by Kathleen Milkman, a Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School of Business, revealed an important finding with regard to viral posts: Content with positive emotion gets shared more. Click here to read the details of her discovery…
2) Make sure your post has a high emotional charge
In the same study, Milkman found that the emotions emitted from a post have to be strong—there has to be a high emotional charge for people to relate. …And to share.
3) Show you are human in your social media posts
Professor Milkman coined the term “Integral Affect” to describe the correlation between photos with a high and positive emotional charge and how viral they go.
Photo With High + Positive Emotional Charge = Most Viral Content
Taking this a step further, photos with stories of selfless acts of love, kindness, generosity, or heroism get shared even more commonly. I call this the super viral post formula. Read more about it right here.
4) Make your business stand for something selfless and use that in your posts
For this one, you want to create your own posts about selfless acts of love, kindness, and generosity. It could be that you simply decided to smile at a homeless person, gave your old clothes to a church, or even bought supplies for a local school.
No act of kindness is too small, and they are certainly always worth sharing!
5) Get amazing viral photos from the Flickr creative commons
Go to flickr.com and filter your search with “creative commons, commercial use and modifications allowed.” Then sort by “most popular.” You’ll find millions of amazing photos for free, and you have permission to use them as long as you give credit to the photographer.
6) Create Your Own Photo Album Stack on Facebook
By adding photos to the same album over and over on Facebook, your album can accumulate likes. The more likes you have, the easier they are to get because of social proof. This also helps you improve your EdgeRank, Facebook’s algorithm that determines how many people see your posts.
7) Use the simple Facebook 3 Step Viral Post Formula
Step one: tag your business page in the post. Step two: get a positive quote from a famous person that will resonate with your followers. Step three: add your website URL to the post and add one hashtag that your customers are likely to search for, like #inspiration or #wellness.