How to move your message across your networks and provoke viral action

I saw a post on BlueGlass last week, by way of a tweet from a client, and it inspired some serious thinking about the ways we use and abuse social media, hoping for that big hit – the viral success story.

The way you craft your message determines how it will move around your networks.

The theme of the post: Information moves through your social media networks because of the “weak ties” that connect your various social and professional groups.

Relatively unknown or generally inactive people in your network can be the difference between a viral message and one that just dies in the echo chamber of your close friends.

In the world of social media, our close friends are quick to share the good things we post and a certain percentage of the ordinary things we post because we are friends and we support each other.

But we belong to many groups of people in our day-to-day life and the connections between those groups might be people we barely know. Those weak ties are how ideas jump from one closely knit group of close friends to another. A message goes viral when it moves across the bridge between two very different groups in a network.

Combine two ideas that appeal to different people to help your message go viral

How to leverage those “weak ties”?

Combined relevance: Does your message appeal to different types of people?

From “The Power of Weak Ties”:

One excellent way to accomplish this goal is to generate ideas that have “combined relevance,” a term coined by Dan Zarella of Hubspot. By combining two or more ideas, you increase the potential for your idea to bridge the gap between weakly-tied networks.

What’s that mean? Combine things that appeal to different people into your message.

We see memes every day that combine pop culture icons with funny lines. You don’t have to set out to create a funny meme (unless that’s your business model) but there are examples in the article at Blueglass that illustrate how people we know have used combined relevance successfully.

Expand Your Networks: Remove the artificial boundaries between you and the people you find interesting!

Limiting your contacts to a certain industry or sorting them too vigorously can prevent your message from getting out into the world.

It’s not necessary to accept every spammer request – that’s not the point. But there are hundreds of people immediately available to you in almost every social network.

A huge percentage of those people have something in common with you – something that could be the bridge between what you tell your clients and friends and what your potential clients and friends hear from someone they support and trust.