What makes a social media post go viral? People have to share it. So, before you create content, understanding why people share things on social media will help you know what to include.
Scrolling through the most popular posts on Facebook and Twitter will usually yield a predictable variety of memes, politics, dogs, cute babies and motivational graphics. There are certain things that consistently trigger people to share, rather than just notice a post and move along. Why is that and why does it matter to you?
As a dental professional working to promote your business, your patients sharing your content on social media is one of the best ways for them to be advocates for your practice. When your patients share your posts, they introduce their friends and family to you and your practice. No matter which of your posts they share, it’s an implied endorsement of your business. It’s one of the best ways to help new patients find you.
So does that mean you should start putting puppies and babies into all your posts? No. But understanding what makes people so susceptible to sharing them will make your social media strategy more effective.
The Psychology of Sharing
We as human beings are biologically wired to share ideas that make an impression on us. In 2013, UCLA conducted a study about the regions of the brain involved in “contagious ideas” — information that people feel compelled to spread to others.
While we won’t attempt to break down the entire study here, the important takeaway for you is that the psychological triggers for sharing are rooted in emotion. No wonder then that sappy inspirational posts and photos of cute animals get a lot of engagement!
The study suggested that the reasons people share can be boiled down to five relationship-based motivators:
- Bring value and entertainment to others
- Promote causes and brands important to them
- Grow and nourish relationships
- Define their identity to others
The study also found that positive, hopeful, uplifting ideas were much more shareable than negative ones.
How can these findings influence what you decide to post on your practice’s social media feeds? First, remember that effective social media marketing is based on building relationships. Simply dispensing oral health tips and reminding fans to call for an appointment isn’t going to strengthen the personal connections necessary for them to share.
Give them something that will make them proud to broadcast that they are your patient. Showcase the passion for dentistry in your practice culture and your involvement in making your community a better place. Post a funny team photo that they’ll want to show to their family and friends. Instead of just telling them to make oral health a priority, appeal to their emotions with your thoughts about how oral health contributes to their family’s happiness.
Creating shareable content that will help grow your practice isn’t about cheap tugs at your patients’ and fans’ heartstrings. It’s about making the effort to connect with them on a personal level while providing valuable information that meets their needs.