What makes people like and share your content?

When I scroll through my Facebook feed I find it fascinating to see that some content gets hundreds of likes. Baby pictures, engagement announcements and wedding pictures score very well on number of likes. And sometimes it is even disappointing to see that your own content only gets 3 or 4 likes. What makes people click like or share? And why do people share specific type or content and not the rest of the content in their feed?

Johan Berger created a theory around why people share and like content. His theory is simple, people like and share content that fits in to, what he calls, STEPPS. If we believe Johan Berger this is the type of content we should share to get likes and shares:

Social currency
This is the type of content that people like or share because they believe it will make them look cool, trendy or hip. This type of content shows that they get it and they belong to the hip and trendy group of people. The topic of the content can be almost everything, the audience that the person wants to reach with his share is more important. Very often this is a specific audience like a group of friends or family.

This is the type of content that reminds people of something familiar and comfortable. People who share this type of content content feel like they understand it very well and they feel comfortable talking about it. They are not afraid to get questions or comments, people feel like they “own” the content.

This type of content fits in to the baby pictures and wedding pictures. People like to share this type of content because it gives them a specific feeling. Very often a positive feeling but also content that gives a negative feeling can go viral quite easy. Emotions are important for people and social media is a great place to share this.

People love to show they are part of a group or a tribe. The type of content they will share shows that they are part of a tribe. Social Media knows severals tribes, simple examples are mothers, runners, students or expats. By sharing content about specific topics, people show they have knowledge about a specific topic and they are part of a specific tribe.

Practical value
People will share content when it is useful and helps them. The best example is a short video about how to open a banana in the right way. Very simple but useful for a lot of people. This video went viral many times. People like to learn new things, this can be small things like a banana or bigger things like business articles or education articles. When people learn something from the content they are more likely to share it with their friends and family.

Stories work very well on Social Media. People love to read and follow stories. The reason why they share and like stories is because they relate to the story and they want to be part of the story. The better and more relevant and engaging the story is the more willing people are to share and like the content. Story telling is one of the most powerful ways of presenting content to your audience!

Make sure, next time you share content you check your content first and see if it fits in to the STEPPS theory. And before you know your content goes viral!

With love, from Dublin..

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