Let’s imagine that my friend, Susan, was having a tough time in her marriage. Late one night, when the family was asleep, she decided to do what most people do these days — search Google for help with her marriage issues.
She read article after article, read through forum threads and nodded in agreement as she read other women verbalize the same pain Susan was feeling.
Then, she found it. To Susan, it looked like a miracle solution! It was an online guide titled “How To Save Your Marriage in 10 Days” and Susan couldn’t get her credit card out fast enough.
Susan was so happy that she found that guide. So when she saw the little blue button with the thumbs up sign on that web page, she clicked it to “Like” that guide on Facebook.
She then read the miracle guide that would save her marriage and went to bed with happy thoughts and a renewed hope that all would be ok.
The next morning, her mother called… her sister called… her neighbor called….. her boss called – all asking, “Oh, my, Susan, are you and Bob ok???”
Susan could not figure out why people were calling asking. She hadn’t told anyone about her dissatisfaction in her marriage — not even her husband, Bob.
How did these people know she was unhappy?
And then, the worst thing happened. Bob called her from work. He had taken a moment to check on his Facebook and saw where his own wife had “liked” something called “How To Save Your Marriage in 10 Days“.
He had one question for Susan, “Honey, are you divorcing me?”
Think Situations Like That Don’t Happen? Think Again
As Facebook and other social sharing platforms get more mature and we, the average consumers, get more acclimated to using them, people are becoming more and more cautious about what they share with their friends and followers.
Sharing family photos, recipes, special events, coupons, and funny cat pictures is one thing, but we are slowly learning that we don’t share everything — as Susan discovered the hard way.
However, as affiliate marketers, we really want people to share everything and anything of ours they come across, don’t we?
If you are an affiliate promoting something like the fictitious guide, “How To Save Your Marriage in 10 Days“, do you really think the average consumer is going to “like” or “tweet” your promotional article?
Think about the situation with Susan. Isn’t there a point where people realize that they’re sharing too much personal info… or sharing something that perhaps they really don’t want anyone else to know?
Do “real people” actually “like” and “tweet” a guide they bought about getting 6 pack abs, or losing weight, or how to improve the size of their…. well, you get the picture.
No, they don’t.
Well, first off, that’s some personal stuff right there. Secondly, it is almost like an admission that something is wrong with them.
If Holly “likes” a guide about how to lose belly fat, don’t you think any potential boyfriends are now wondering whether Holly is hiding a fat stomach?
No, we humans don’t like to admit to the world the internal struggles we each have — and we certainly don’t want to make those struggles become the main highlight of conversation at the next family get-together, do we?
Holly: Grandma, will you pass the potatoes?
Grandma: Oh Holly, do you really think you should? I know you’re worried about your belly fat.”
Ugh! Poor Holly!
So, as affiliate marketers, how do we get people to share, like, and tweet the information that leads to our “pitch” — especially when it’s a “delicate” topic?
First, We Need To Understand Why People Share Things
According to SocialMediaToday.com, people have the following main reasons for sharing content online:
- To bring valuable and entertaining content to others
- To define ourselves to others
- To grow and nourish relationships
- For self-fulfillment
- To market causes or brands
Basically, we humans like to share things we find valuable or funny (hello, cat pictures). We also like to share things that define who we are — such as music we listen to, books we read, etc. We like to share things we think will help others as well as things that make us feel good.
And, naturally, we like to share things that matter to us — such as political topics/candidates, charity events, etc.
If you can find a way to create content that matches up with one or more of the above reasons for sharing, you’re good to go.
We also like to share things that make us look smart — and that, right there, is a big key to getting your affiliate marketing content shared by the masses.
Make Them Look Smart
So let’s go back to Susan’s situation as an example of how this can work.
Say you do have a site that promotes “How To Save Your Marriage in 10 Days” and you really want to create some content that real, live human beings will love to share with their friends and followers.
What kind of content could that be?
Remember, we want to make them look smart in front of their friends, right?
What about an article that goes into detail about a December 2011 study that show that 33% of all divorce filings mention the word “Facebook” as a contributing factor?
Start off with a catchy and intriguing headline such as “Study Reveals Facebook Causes Divorce!” and then fill your content with great stats, insight, and information.
I know the first time *I* read that study, I said “wow” to myself and was more than happy to share it with others so they could also say “wow” (and then share it with others).
When you create content that makes someone say “wow,” and they share it, you want those that follow that person to share it as well.
Like the old Faberge shampoo commercial said, “And they told 2 friends, and they told 2 friends, and so on and so on…”
To summarize, don’t slap up some social sharing widgets expecting anyone and everyone to share your content if your subject matter is “delicate”. Find a way to create content that:
- Makes you look smart
- Makes those that share your content look smart
- Makes their friends look smart by also sharing it.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.