The Psychology of Social Sharing: How to make a post go viral?

Viral.” One little word that means so much in the rollercoaster ride that’s social media marketing. It’s like finding a golden ticket in your chocolate bar or a free pass to Disneyland on a post-it note. But what exactly sets these viral posts apart? What elusive magic recipe makes them so share-worthy, so irresistible? Put on your happiest science face, because we’re about to explore the fascinating psychology behind social sharing.

Unmasking the Share-Worthy Elements

Let’s frame it this way: social media is like a high school hallway. It’s all about the popularity contest. In this digital ecosystem, the most charming, funny or, let’s face it, meme-laden personalities get the most attention. But what makes one charming, funny or meme-worthy post more shareable than other equally entertaining content? 

6 Psychological Reasons why a Post is Viral

1. The Emotional Rollercoaster

Remember that time when you read a post about a three-legged dog named Tripod who finally got adopted after 365 days in the shelter and tears started streaming down your face? Well, you’re not alone. Emotional content, especially that which evokes strong positive emotions, has a high chance of being shared. Happiness, awe, and amusement are just a few of those heart-strings pullers that make people swiftly move their thumbs towards that share button.

It’s no accident that you find content like this filling up your feeds, because brands are fully aware of the contagious nature of emotions. Recent studies have shown that content that triggers high emotional arousal – be it positive or negative – tends to spread faster. The Internet loves a good laugh, but it also loves a good cry.

2. The Aspects of Identity and Uniqueness

People love to be seen, heard, and most importantly, understood. Through sharing posts that resonate with their own beliefs, hobbies and personality, social media users get a chance to voice their identity. We’ve all seen the “tag a friend who’s always late” or “share this if you’re a proud cat mom/dad.” It’s not just about being part of a group or a trend; it’s about feeling validated and represented.

Remember, social media users aren’t just audience members; they’re active contributors to your brand’s story. A share speaks volumes more about the person sharing it than about the post itself. Appealing to a person’s desire for uniqueness can propel your post’s shareability through the roof. Just remember not to hurt anyone’s feelings in the process- it’s a fine line!

3. The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

Admit it, no one wants to be the last to know about the latest viral dance challenge or the cute cat doing somersaults. This deep-seated notion originates from our primal instinct as social animals wanting to stay in the loop. Sharing an interesting piece of content first is like having social media bragging rights and can spike up some serious social currency. So, it’s safe to say, if you can make your audience feel like they’re in the know, you’ve hit the social sharing jackpot!

4. The Principle of Reciprocity

human trait also extends into the realms of social sharing. When a user finds a post educational, inspiring or amusing, they’re more likely to share it as a form of reciprocation. They’re essentially saying, “Hey, this brightened my day, maybe it will do the same for you.”

By creating content that adds value to your audience’s lives, you’re not just earning a share; you’re building a meaningful relationship with them. It’s like baking cookies for your neighbour — they reciprocate with a warm smile and likely a share of whatever they bake next. Essentially, sharing on social media is a modern way of saying, “I care about you, and I thought you’d enjoy this.”

5. Echoing Social Causes and Advocacy

In the age of ‘woke’ culture, social media has transcended being merely a platform for entertainment and has become a potent tool for awareness and advocacy. Users feel empowered when they share content that contributes to a cause they believe in or helps spread awareness about important issues.

Creating content that highlights these topics not only positions your brand as socially conscious and responsible, but it also emotionalizes your brand image — giving it a human touch. In the days of consumers demanding brand transparency, this can significantly impact your shares and overall brand perception.

6. The Power of Storytelling

In the end, the heart of any viral post is a captivating narrative. Whether it’s a hilarious meme, a heartwarming video, or a thought-provoking article, the posts we share are the stories we relate to and want to tell. Harnessing the power of storytelling can make any content instantly more intriguing, engaging and share-worthy.

Our Thoughts…

To wrap it all up, the secret recipe for crafting share-worthy content is understanding your audience’s psyche. Appeal to their emotions, reflect their identity, elicit a sense of urgency, be a treat they’d love to reciprocate, echo their advocacy, and top it all off with compelling storytelling for a killer social sharing formula.

We may not be mind readers, but understanding these principles removes a bit of the mystique behind the erratic beast that is viral content. Remember, at the heart of every share is a human connection. Like the nerve cells in our brain creating a network of information, every share on social media creates a web of interconnectivity that weaves everyone and everything closer together.

So, let’s stop asking, “How do I get more shares?” and start probing, “How do I connect more?” Because building genuine bonds with your audience, engaging with them on a personal level, and adding value to their day – that’s what real social sharing is all about.

And no despair if your posts don’t go viral overnight. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Or in our case, it’s constantly trying new recipes, shaking up that cocktail, until you get the taste absolutely right. Cheers, social media marketers!

One of the services offered at  Zodiac Global is social media management and assistance with creating viral content, so if you need any help with this, don’t hesitate to reach out to our expert team.

Reach out to Zodiac Global here to find out how we can help you align your brand with the stars. Or, if you’re an influencer, contact us for talent management services.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Us On Socials

Recent Posts

Fill in the form to rise above and lead your industry.

Need Specific Help?

Contact our friendly team at [email protected]