It’s easy to get caught up in the next platform, content format, and piece of technology. Oftentimes these platforms create a lot of distractions and its difficult to separate the signal from the noise.

However, people are all really the same.  The biggest challenge is zeroing in on these fundamental principals and understanding out to apply them today.

I was recently invited to go speak at a brand innovation summit and discussed these psychological principals and tactics that work in driving excitement around something offline and online. You can see the entire presentation below, but I’ve outlined the major points here in this post.

Whether offline or online there are a few things we know works well in driving engagement.
1. Emotions are engaging
2. Invite an audience along
3. Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd

Multiple studies have been done studying what type of content gets shared or goes ‘viral’. The two that stand out for me come from Jonah Berger and Karen Nelson Field. Content that evokes high-arousal emotions are more likely to go viral. This means that content that performs best doesn’t just make you smile it makes you laugh out loud, it doesn’t make you sad it makes you cry. According to Berger’s study:

Virality is partially driven by physiological arousal. Content that evokes high-arousal positive (awe) or negative (anger or anxiety) emotions is more viral. Content that evokes low-arousal, or deactivating, emotions (e.g., sadness) is less viral.

People love acknowledgement and being a part of something. Cater to specific niche communities in order to focus your efforts and get a community to rally around content. Start small to help identify what makes them tick. Engaging real communities to be unstoppable for three reasons – built in distribution, they’re credible, fans are highly engaged

You have to provide value and get them invested – either emotionally or physically.

Emotional – love it or hate it, they have to talk about it involves them
Physically – build them into the content production so they’re invested in its success

People tend to follow the crowd when it comes to assigning value to anything. If there’s a restaurant with a long line it must be good, same goes for clubs, bars, movie premieres, etc. The perception that something is popular breeds more popularity.

The same is true online. The more likes, views, comments, blog pickup that something gets the more it is perceived as valuable. In focusing these efforts you can create a snowball effect of additional sharing and engagement around your content.