In an earlier post, we discussed about the three types of contagious content – Practical Value, Trending Triggers, and Surprise.
For many businesses, producing content the provides practical value is one of the easiest ways for your target market to perceive your brand as a thought leader in your industry. In fact, by creating content on practical value, you’re also pushing a psychological button on your target market to get them to share the content.
But why is that?
A Short Story on Giving Back
During the gold rush era in the 19th century, many workers travelled from all parts of the world to places like the US, Australia and New Zealand, which had suddenly discovered a lot of gold deposits. Many from China also wanted to travel abroad, but they did not have the money to do so. They sought the help of clans around China, who would provide them with the financial assistance they needed. With that, many Chinese went to these countries and prospered.
Now that these Chinese people had become successful, they wanted to give back to their clans, who made it possible for them to travel abroad in the first place. They went back to their clans and gave back, either financially or otherwise.
The moral of this story is that when one receives value from another, they will be motivated to give back or share what they have received with others.
In our modern-day living, most of us do not require the assistance of a clan to travel overseas for work. But psychologically, we still constantly look for ways to give value to others when we care for them.
But how does this translate to social media?
Being Helpful Sells
You may have seen this video that went viral not too long ago:
This video showed viewers how to cleanly remove an egg yolk from the egg white, with the help of just one empty bottle. The video currently has over 17 million views, simply because of how easy it is for users to try it. All you need are two plates, one sunny side up, and one empty bottle. That’s it.
This piece of content was so shareable because it had practical value. Practical-value content is any type that the audience can implement instantly and easily, without spending too much effort.
Here’s another example:
This piece of content was created by Wacoal, an international lingerie brand. One of the core values of Wacoal is to promote breast cancer awareness to all women. In this post, the visual explains how a woman can identify signs and symptoms of breast cancer.
The visual is easy to understand, and it is easy for the audience to implement.
A quick look at the visual provides the necessary info for any woman viewing this to check themselves for the signs and symptoms. They can also check themselves relatively easily, without needing to spend too much effort.
This piece of content, which perfectly exemplifies the qualities of practical value, got a lot of shares by users who also wished to share this useful piece of information with their female friends.
Another useful piece of practical-value content:
As you can see here again, the visual was easy to understand and implement. The audience can easily try out the steps and create their own lingerie drawer as well.
Keep It Simple, Easy, and Actionable
Do note that if your practical-value content is takes too much effort to implement or is not clear, the audience will be turned off by it. Here’s an example of a piece of content that tried, and failed, to give practical value to its audience:
Nuxe is an international cosmetics brand that emphasizes using natural ingredients in their skincare products.
This piece of content tried to promote the positive effects a rose has on one’s skin by emphasizing its benefits. However, the problem with this content is that it cannot be easily implemented.
Also, the content shows three benefits of using a rose, but it does not specifically tell you how. There is no particular action audiences can take upon seeing this content, so there is less incentive for users to share it.
Finally, this piece of content incorporated the brand name into the visual. Any practical-value content should only do one thing: provide practical value. It’s that simple.
The sole purpose of your practical value content should be to add value to the users, not pitch the brand name or attempt to increase its brand awareness. Doing so increases users’ friction toward the brand, as they will be doubtful of the content’s true purpose.
In creating any content of practical value, always note that any message the content is propagating should be in line with your startup’s values. If you attract the wrong audience as a result of irrelevant content, the damage to your brand name could be irreparable.