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Understanding the Digital Share – Why We Click ‘Share’

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Ever stumbled upon a hilarious meme, an emotional video clip, or an enlightening article and instantly thought, “I HAVE to share this!”? Well, you’re not alone. This very behavior – the itch to share something cool online – is what marketers worldwide are trying to crack. But why do we share? And more importantly, how can businesses tap into this infectious behavior?

The Good Ol’ Days of Viral Content – When Things Were Simpler

Remember the times when “viral” content was purely organic? A hilarious cat video or a heartwarming story would spread like wildfire across the web, and everyone would eventually know about it. No strategy, no ulterior motives. Just pure, spontaneous sharing among internet users. Ah, those were the days!

However, as with any natural phenomenon, marketers saw the potential. If they could harness the power of this ‘organic’ sharing, imagine the reach! Thus began the chase to recreate and capitalize on virality.

Business in the Age of the ‘Share’ Button

Enter businesses and their desperate need to catch this lightning in a bottle. As James Coyle from Miami University and his colleagues observed, traditional marketing methods have seen better days. In our age of Netflix and ad-blockers, nobody wants to be bombarded by commercials.

So, what’s the alternative? The tantalizing world of “word-of-mouth” marketing, where the message is so enticing that consumers willingly spread it. Think of it like being at a party and overhearing a juicy piece of gossip. You’d naturally want to share it with your best pals, right?

Why Do We Share?

Ah, now here’s where things get interesting! Coyle’s team embarked on a mission to understand the very nature of online sharing. Why do some campaigns make us hit that ‘Share’ button while others get a mere glance and scroll? They dived deep, surveying different audience types to discover the secrets behind sharing behavior.

Ever thought about how you decide what to share? Some may call it gut feeling, but there’s a bit more science to it. The researchers found a couple of intriguing points:

  1. Product Involvement: If a person felt a personal connection to the product or content, they were more likely to share it. Ever shared a skincare tip that worked wonders for you? That’s product involvement in action.
  2. Social Consideration: The more an advertisement or piece of content made users think of their friends or family, the higher the chances of them sharing it. Imagine finding a meme that reminds you so much of a friend’s quirky behavior – instant share, right?

Navigating the Murky Waters of Virality

It’s not all smooth sailing, though. As much as we’d like to think that sharing is a purely joyous activity, there are cautionary tales. Some users are hesitant to share content if they’re unsure about its source or validity. Fake news, anyone?

For businesses, this means that while virality is golden, credibility is platinum. In a world full of misinformation, being a trustworthy source can elevate a brand above its competitors.

The Future of Sharing

Here’s a little food for thought. As our digital lives evolve, so will our sharing habits. Businesses need to be nimble, adaptable, and above all, genuine in their approach to reach audiences.

After all, in this vast digital ocean, there are countless messages floating around. To make waves, one doesn’t necessarily need the loudest voice, but the most resonating message.

So, the next time you come across a piece of content that tugs at your heartstrings or tickles your funny bone and you feel the urge to share it, take a moment. Think about why you’re sharing it. Is it because of a personal connection? Or does it remind you of someone?

Understanding this simple behavior can change the way businesses talk to us, making our digital world a tad more personal and a lot more fun. After all, in the age of sharing, isn’t it all about staying connected?

Written by
Alice Frost

Alice Frost is a seasoned journalist and passionate storyteller with over ten years of experience in business and tech reporting. She specializes in covering startup culture, innovation, and entrepreneurial trends. Alice's work aims to inform, inspire, and empower budding entrepreneurs. Her keen insights and dedication to journalistic integrity make her a valued contributor to StartUp National. She holds a degree in Journalism and is currently based in Silicon Valley.

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