You Are What You Share: Why Videos Go Viral

What makes a video go viral? Is it because it includes kids, kittens or puppies? Or is it because there’s something much deeper? If you want your articles or videos to be shared, you must understand why and how your content will reflect on the individual sharing it.

What Makes Your Video Go Viral?For more on how to go viral, don’t miss Gary’s session on the All About Direct Marketing Virtual Conference, on May 4! Click here to register.

What makes a video go viral? Is it because it includes kids, kittens or puppies? Or is it because there’s something much deeper? If you want your articles or videos to be shared, you must understand why and how your content will reflect on the individual sharing it.

Why Shares Go Viral

Neuroscience and other research studies suggest that for a video to go viral, there are several deep-seated ingredients that must come together.

A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania neuroscience research lab team recorded brain activity from participants about how they reacted to New York Times health articles. Brain activity suggests that people have a two-part process to decide what to share on social media, and it all points to how shared articles or videos shape their identity:

  • Social relationships: How sharing an article or video will reflect on you
  • Developing self-image: Will friends be interested in the article or video?

In other words, people share things that they believe will improve their relationships, make them appear smart or, in one way or another, look favorable.

You Are What You Share

The deep dive, on a simple sharing impulse, is that your brain looks for information to share with others. It’s how we’re wired. Additional reasons for shares:

  1. To express who we really are
  2. To convey a sense of our ideal self and aspirations
  3. To nurture relationships

In a New York Times study titled “The Psychology of Sharing: Why Do People Share Online?” six sharing personality types where described:

  1. Altruists: Motivated to bring valuable content to those they care about
  2. Careerists: Focused on developing a strong network of personal and professional contacts.
  3. Hipsters: They like to start a conversation, debate or controversy. They are always looking to connect with like-minded people.
  4. Boomerangs: Motivated primarily by reactions; they like to start a debate and generate comments.
  5. Connectors: For them, they share mutual experiences and including others.
  6. Selectives: Shares information they feel will be of value to a specific person.

This same study found that 68 percent share to define themselves. Eighty-four percent share to support causes or brands that they care about.

In other words, you are what you share. You share to express who you are, deep inside.

Take Along, Share and Simplify: Essential Verbs to Enhance Your Brand Strategy in 2015, Part 2

Back in November, I shared with you two essential verbs to enhance your brand strategy: amaze and respect. Now I have three more verbs to share with you for your 2015 brand plans:

Back in November, I shared with you two essential verbs to enhance your brand strategy: amaze and respect. Now I have three more verbs to share with you for your 2015 brand plans:

Take Along
Pomegranates have always had a rough reputation in the world of fruit: How do you eat them? How do you peel or cut into them without getting that staining red juice all over the place? And, once you figure that out, how do you remove all those beautiful ruby seeds (actually called arils) out easily? Pomegranates are the antithesis of take-it-everywhere, eat-on-the-run bananas.

But 10 years ago, the folks at POM Wonderful took it upon themselves to make pomegranates more accessible to Americans and introduced the nutritional wonders of pomegranate juice in a big way to our health-obsessed country. Customers found POM Wonderful Juice delicious to drink, fun to hold and loved the antioxidant boost. Sales soared. Pomegranate juice became a part of healthy lifestyles.

Over time, the brand builders at POM took on this fresh fruit’s primary pain point among customers—extracting the seeds without a huge mess. There had been a brief instruction on the website, but then POM took it a step further—it was simply done for customers! POM introduced conveniently packaged arils in easy-to-tote cups so customers can use them in salads or just pop them in your mouth like you might raisins. Voila! Ease, convenience, antioxidants … all portable.

Brands that gain the coveted access into their customers’ daily lives do so by creating products that are in some way meaningful and easy to use. This “take along” effect (also mastered by others quite successfully like Starbucks and Republic of Tea with their traveler’s tins of teas) keeps a brand top of mind. Is there any way this “take along” verb would help your brand become a bigger part of your customers’ lives?

Share
GoPro’s founder and CEO, Nicholas Woodman, writes this:

We help people capture and share their lives’ most meaningful experiences with others—to celebrate them together. The world’s most versatile cameras are what we make. Enabling you to share your life through incredible photos and videos is what we do.

The verb share centers GoPro’s brand mission. Woodman elaborates, “Like how a day on the mountain with friends is more meaningful than one spent alone, the sharing of our collective experiences makes our lives more fun.” In today’s visually dominant world, the products that GoPro creates enhance its customers’ experiences and make shareability easier than ever.

As stated on the website: “Our customers include some of the world’s most active and passionate people. The volume and quality of their shared GoPro content, coupled with their enthusiasm for our brand, are virally driving awareness and demand for our products.”

Does your brand make sharing possible in some easy and virally visual way? How can you differentiate your brand through creative sharing strategies?

Simplify
In brand building exercises, it is quite common to play with questions like “What if your brand was an automobile … or a celebrity or a color? What would it be?” Those activities are often thought provoking if most of the conversation centers around the why that particular model/person/hue was chosen.

Along those playful lines, here’s another question to ponder: “What if your brand was a magazine … in this case Real Simple?” Real Simple is one of women’s favorite magazines because it truly demystifies almost everything … from cooking several course holiday dinners to removing wine stains to entertaining outdoors to mentoring. Here’s how the brand describes itself:

Real Simple is the everyday essential for today’s time-pressured woman, the guide she can trust to make her life a little easier in a world that’s more complicated by the minute. With smart strategies, genius shortcuts, and shoppable solutions, we help her simplify, streamline, and beautifully edit her life, armed with calm, confidence—and the power of the right lipstick.

Real Simple’s articles are practical and informative and surrounded by lots of white space and often summarized in the back of the physical magazine on perforated tear off cards that their readers can slip in their wallet and take to the store or save in an easy to find manner. Real Simple is part knowledgeable friend, part cheerleader, part organizer and the verb simple is a brand filter for all they do. In our complex, hyper speed, information-overloaded society, Real Simple is an oasis of uncomplicated and straightforward answers.

Customers crave simplicity (just take a peek at Google and Apple’s strategic success). Is “simplify” a conscious part of your strategic plan in 2015? How can this verb be incorporated more holistically across all your brand touchpoints?

Take along, share and simplify … three more robust verbs that have the potential to set your brand apart this next year. Think through these verbs in relation to your brand mission. Fast forward and consider how your customers might feel if these were a part of your strategy, and then, go ahead do something with these verbs!

At 5, Facebook Gets Older, as Do Its Users

Feb. 3 was Facebook’s fifth birthday. Can you believe it? Where did the time go?

To commemorate this occasion, the trend-setting social network’s boy wonder founder, Mark Zuckerberg, offered a note to members on Facebook’s Web site on Feb. 2. Among other things, he said the following:

Feb. 3 was Facebook’s fifth birthday. Can you believe it? Where did the time go?

To commemorate this occasion, the trend-setting social network’s boy wonder founder, Mark Zuckerberg, offered a note to members on Facebook’s Web site on Feb. 2. Among other things, he said the following:

“This is a happy occasion for Facebook, but much more significant to the Facebook team is the fact that over 150 million people around the world are using Facebook to connect with the people in their lives. Facebook was founded in 2004 to give people the tools to engage and understand the world around them. We are glad and humbled that so many people are using Facebook in this way.”

Indeed, Facebook has come a long way. Overall, Facebook was the fifth-ranked Web site by total market share of visits last month, according to online research firm Hitwise. One year ago, visits to Facebook represented 15 percent of the total social networking category, while MySpace captured 73 percent. By January, Facebook’s share had more than doubled to 31 percent, while MySpace’s total share of the category eroded to 57 percent.

What’s more, the time spent on Facebook has continued to increase, reaching an average visit time of just more than 21 minutes in January. In addition, the number of users aged 18 to 24 represented a 42 percent share of visits for the four weeks ending on Jan. 26, 2008. But that’s since decreased to 24 percent for the four weeks ending this past Jan. 24. Now, visitors aged 25 to 34 make up the largest share of visits with 27 percent, and visitors aged 18 to 24 and 35 to 44 closely following with respective shares of 24 percent and 23 percent.

This tells me that Facebook’s audience is more professional. No longer can it be thought of as competing head to head with MySpace, but perhaps LinkedIn, which is known more as a “business networking” tool.

Facebook really has made an impact on networking, communications and marketing online. How could we live without it today? I know I’m checking my Facebook page several times a day, and not just to see how old high school friends are doing. I’ve used the tool to find and communicate with long-lost business associates, learn about new online marketing trends and events in my area, promote eM+C, get questions answered for articles I am working on, and see what my competitors are up to.

How do you use Facebook? Is it an important part of your business day, or have you been thinking about exploring its uses? Let us know here at eM+C. Post a comment now.