How To Get People To Share Your Brand
Getting people to personally share your brand is the holy grail of marketing.
A trusted recommendation from a friend is more powerful than any smart marketing campaign targeted direct from brand to consumer.
Just take a look at these juicy stats
- 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know – [Source]
- People are four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend – [Source]
- 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends or family. – [Source]
- Word of mouth is the primary driver behind 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions. – [Source]
Now, I’m an absolute sponge for new information, and I can’t even begin to count how many times someone I trust has recommended a book, app or piece of software and I’ve immediately purchased it on my phone, stockpiling it for later.
Contrast this with finding your brand via an ad or google search, even when they’re looking for the product you offer. Without a trusted recommendation, people will likely at least:
- Google around for reviews…
- Check out the competition…
- See if there are any discounts…
- Have to build a relationship with you from scratch…
- Think about purchasing later and forget!
The Dangers To Avoid
A lot of companies (including my own in the past) have gone down the route of forced incentivisation. Paid referral schemes, reward programs and such.
But the truth is, these aren’t as effective as you might hope.
By incentivising people to share, you immediately crowd any natural intention they have to do so. You increase the likelihood of their recommendation coming across like a buy-in pitch to a Ponzi scheme or MLM party as people generally feel self conscious about cash-benefitting themselves… it winds up all over their face!
And in reality, people are incentivised far more strongly by their own, internal desire to share – a decision they’ve come to of their own accord rather than external decisions driven by money and rewards.
On top of that, for every payout you give to customers for referrals, you’re eating into your bottom line. Of particular alarm to anyone selling physical products rather than info products and services.
So how do you incentivise people to share your brand naturally. Without being cringe, without compromising revenue and in a way that provides value to yourself, the sharer and the person on the receiving end?
Make People Want To Share
First it’s important to consider why people decide to share things. There are a few BIG reasons they do…
A) It makes them look good
People like to feel ahead of the curve. In the know. Well informed.
And it’s these same early adopters who are generally more likely to share things to their herd if they find it cool.
(Identifying the remarkable in what you do, who you are or where you came from and communicating that in an inspiring, visually entertaining or thought provoking way is a lot easier than you think.)
The same is true of humour. When people share memes or jokes online, they’re completely positioning themselves as the joke distributor. This is why Facebook says ‘Joe Bloggs Liked Your Post’ not ‘Joe Bloggs Liked The Post You Shared’ – they’re on to it! 😉
B) It reflects their own world view
One of the primary categories in BuzzFeed’s ‘cultural cartography’ or the themes they know will get shared is ‘this is me’.
People share things that help them express themselves.
Political opinions, quotes, even self-deprecating memes of how they could be ‘adulting’ life better.
C) It benefits the receiving person
People strengthen their social bonds by helping each other. By reminding friends that we are thinking about them and are interested in helping them achieve their goals or transcend themselves, we deepen trust and connection.
Now, people are far more likely to share something if it brings to mind a specific person. So the tighter you can niche your content or marketing material – the better.
Think “How <what we do> is Helping <niche person> Save Time”
Offering practical value that is specific enough that people would think “John is really into this topic, maybe this will help him and reflect well on me for thinking of him and sharing” is the gold standard here.
The Truth About Emotion
Most marketers will tell you that people act based on emotion and rationalise later, that emotion plays a critical role in any form of marketing.
However there are some emotions that are useful, and others that actually make people less likely to share…
The real culprit when it comes to emotional engagement is physiological arousal. And there are some emotions that trigger it, and others that switch it off!
Emotions that trigger it:
And emotions that shut it down:
Don’t Look Out, Look In!
The people most likely to sing the praises of your brand are your current customers.
The ones whose trust you’ve already done. The ones whose needs you’re already servicing.
Become their friends, wow them, make them feel IMPORTANT and part of your brand.
When people feel like they’re part of something, it’s theirs to share!
When one of our customers became lactose intolerant and had to stop subscribing to our cheese based subscription box we sent him a ‘Deepest Condolences’ card as a friendly joke with a personalised poem inside.
Even after leaving as a customer, he made a YouTube video about it, posted on Twitter and Facebook – his posts were liked and seen be thousands of people and earned us plenty of new customers.
If You Want People To Share Your Product or Brand…
You need to map it to the various markers that people are proven to share.
Become an asset. Let them use your brand to connect with their friends.
Allow people a back door into what got you excited enough to start doing what you’re doing.
Identify the cool, useful or remarkable that’s become ordinary to you over time.
Entertain people while helping them. And they’ll love you for it!