The science of sharing: How charities can increase financial support using social media
In this short blog post, I am going to share (excuse the pun) with you my findings of why people actually share content on websites. I did this research for my book, Playing The Charity Card.
My aim was to find the scientific and psychological reasons individuals share content via their social media identities on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, etcetera.
You’ve all seen the Facebook like and share buttons, tweets and Google +1 icons all across the web, but what actually compels you to hit that button and give that specific content your seal of approval?
With the nature of social networks and the exponential benefits of spreading the word with powerful peer-to-peer marketing, charities simply must have a sharing strategy.
I’ve studied the psychology of sharing extensively to find out what really drives people to share online content with their family and friends.
Here were my three key findings:
- Research by the University of Pennsylvania (Berger and Milkman, 2011) says that people prefer to share information with a positive rather than negative theme which is emotive. Good news for charities, as long as the message is right. Shout about your achievements, how you’ve helped, rather than the negative emotive content we commonly associate with charities.
- The early adopters among our social groups love to be the first to show and tell their friends about the latest craze or music or technology. Early adopters thrive on the “I’m the first to find” type of street cred.
- However, the biggest reason to share online content within the mainstream is simple… Everyone likes a bargain and you’ll find the highest motivator to share is to receive something in return for doing so.
If you can create an incentive for your supporters to actually share, coupled with the positive nature of your charity’s achievement you will see better results.
For the purpose of an example, I will explain how we use a powerful sharing strategy with our own participating charity’s greeting card shops.
Based on our findings, the team here at Charity Greetings developed our Incentive Sharing Tool.
Our sharing tool works incredibly well in order to turn customers into advocates.
Here is how it works:
Would you spread the word of a charity’s greeting card shop with your friends if you were to receive 50% off your next card, your friends would also receive a 50% discount off their first card order AND you’ll be feeling good by supporting your favourite charity too?
If your answer is yes, congratulations, you’ve just got you and your friends a bargain, you’ve spread some positive news and you’ve improved your social standing among your peers by doing some good for charity.
Here’s a simple way charities use our incentive sharing tool in situ:
You’ve just purchased a greeting card and on the confirmation page it says.
“Thanks for your purchase and supporting us. Do you think your friends would like our card shop? If you share our card shop with your friends, you’ll receive 50% off your next greeting card order and all your friends will receive 50% off their first greeting card order.”
A supporter can then share via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google and email.
How can your charity benefit from peer to peer marketing? Remember, with incentive sharing you are guaranteed better results.
Don’t forget about Android applications as part of your strategy to win financial support for social media users.
Craig Hartzel is CEO of Charity Greetings. Charity Greetings provides white labelled charity cards shop to charities. To open a free card shop and receive your free pre-publication copy of Playing The Charity Card visit www.joincharitygreetings.com