I recently listened to an insightful webinar featuring Dan Zarrella, Social Media Scientist at HubSpot. To my surprise, Marketing legend, Seth Godin was on the line to introduce Dan and informed us that he was the author of the most popular e-book in the world. I thought that was pretty impressive. Dan took the microphone and began his talk about the viral nature of online content and the behavior of sharing.
Dan’s area of study is memetics or memes as coined by Richard Dawkins. He talked about content being “contagious” and how that results in people wanting to share it. Overall, there are three drivers of viral success: 1) Exposure (the act of following and friending on social networks), 2) Attention (the consuming of content) and 3) Motivation (clicking/taking an action).
Dan put these concepts into context by using Twitter as the platform for his research. Based on his in-depth analysis, Dan offered some great tips for maximizing Twitter with greater success.
- Sharing content on Twitter in the form of links drives more followers than engaging in conversation
- Define yourself and tell people why they should listen to you (use terms like official, founder, speaker, and expert in your profile)
- Self-reference doesn’t always attract new followers, don’t talk about yourself too much, instead focus on the subject
- Negative content turns off people and it won’t be shared – they want positive content
- Research shows that people with more followers on Twitter are less conversational because they tend to broadcast more
- Friday, Sat and Sun are bad days to publish unless you want to bury your story
- Use verbs in your tweets since are more powerful than adjectives and are more shareable
- Asking readers to “Please RT” actually works – on average it will generate 4x more retweets
Dan did a great job and I urge you to view his Science of Social Media 2011 presentation and transcript for yourself.