How can you get more people to share more of your blog posts, Tweets and Facebook posts? Ironically, the answer lies in a 50-year-old psychological study.
Fifty years before the iPhone and social media took over our lives, an Austrian-born psychologist and market researcher cracked the code on a marketing challenge every business faces today: How to encourage people to tell others about their products and services. Whether it’s called word-of-mouth or social sharing, getting consumers to share with others is the Holy Grail for any marketer.
In 1966, Ernest Dichter, who was trained by one of Sigmund Freud’s pupils, conducted research on what makes shoppers tick. His findings transformed the way the world looks at relationships between products and consumers. It was the first international and interdisciplinary study to reveal the hidden world of motivation research and insights into the way consumers think, feel and act. Since then, others (including The New York Times) have built on his findings.
What Dichter Discovered About Social Selling
Dichter discovered there are four motivations for consumer sharing, but they boil down to two primary reasons people share: You’ve blown them away with your product experience, or you’ve made them feel good in some way.
Dichter’s four motivations for social sharing include product involvement, self-involvement, other involvement and message involvement.
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- Product Involvement. About 33 percent of sharing is based on a good product experience. The customer found the experience to be so delightful or fulfilling they had to tell their friends. This is why some companies’ Facebook pages are filled with happy consumers. Take Starbucks, for instance, where people share pictures of their daily cups of coffee.
- Self-Involvement. This comprises about 24 percent of shares. People share content that expresses their knowledge and opinions, and makes them feel smart—like breaking news and political issues.
- Other Involvement. About 20 percent of sharing fits here. People want to help a friend by sharing, for example, coupons or product reviews.
- Message Involvement. This makes up about 20 percent of shares. It’s triggered when someone finds a message so humorous or informative they want to share it. Cat videos and memes fall into this category.