When it comes to content, viral sharing has always been held up as the holy grail - that rare thing that happens when a piece of content captures the imagination and spreads like a virus. In fact, if you think about how a disease is spread – one person infects another and then they in turn infect someone else etc. etc. In other words, you can start from a small number and spread an idea from that base. Of course, the idea would spread further and faster if the original person was an ‘influencer’ with a high social media presence and power to inspire followers to think or feel a certain way.
Unfortunately, for the average small business it can be really challenging to engage with influencers and get them to spruik your wares.
Maybe another approach is to think about things slightly differently. The average person will usually like or share something not because of their relationship with you, but because of their personal relationships with others. That’s why you will often see people tagging someone specific when they find a post engaging rather than sharing it to their entire network. They’re saying, ‘hey, I thought you might find this useful’ or ‘this reminded me of a special interest we have in common’.
When you are planning a content marketing campaign what if you were to start from a base of as many potential transmitters as possible? What I’m talking about is an integrated campaign - one that seeds content in a wide variety of channels such as social media, print, email lists, flyers or whatever channels you can afford. In other words, you are starting from as high a transmitter base as possible and letting normal social relationships do their thing. That means you don’t need influencers with lots of social clout or high rates of sharing between friends for your ideas to go viral. You simply need a wide enough base to seed the content in the first instance and good quality content that engages a clearly defined target audience.
To move your customers from viewing to sharing you are better off being more selective about what you post. With platforms like Facebook moving to a focus on only showing content in News Feeds that reflect the needs and interests of each user; it’s important that each piece of content you create is targeted to a specific audience. This will also allow you to identify other channels to reach that audience group and build a wider base from which to spread your ideas. Being targeted also means you will be providing content to people who will share it with others who have interests in common.