We work in an industry where it is extremely important to understand why people talk about things, and share the things that they do. It’s essential that we develop insight into the underlying psychological mechanisms which cause people to identify with a piece of content and decide to share it with the individuals they are linked to on their respective social media platforms.
There’s a fair amount of semi-science that goes into understanding these processes, and there is also a lot of guess work. One of the more compelling explanations I’ve recently encountered comes from Johan Berger, in a book called Contagious. If this is a topic that interests you, then I recommend checking it out. In the meantime, the following is a brief summary of some of the core points Berger makes.
At the heart of his explanation lies an idea which I fully agree with. Basically, social epidemics are driven by the content itself. Sure, reaching out to key influencers and making sure you are plugging into the right networks helps, but at the core you need to be communicating content which is going to appeal to something inside your audience member, or at least communicating it in a way which does so.
So what makes content appealing, and more importantly, what makes people want to share it?