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Dan Zarrella Guest Post – Go Viral with the “They Might Miss it” Hook

Online marketing information can change quickly This article is 12 years and 280 days old, and the facts and opinions contained in it may be out of date.

One of the most surprising things I learned while working on my viral content sharing report is that one of the most common reasons people send content to their friends is because they believe that otherwise their friends may not see it. People who mentioned this typically said things like "they might have missed it," "they might not have seen it on their own," or "some of my friends aren’t up on the news." Almost 6% of the respondents to my survey specifically gave some variation of this motivation and I believe this percentage is merely the tip of the iceberg since users often do not fully understand all of the triggers at work in their own behaviors (as Dr. Clotaire Rapaille says "most people don’t know why they do what the things they do.").
When we look at this through an evolutionary lens, it becomes obvious that there are selection pressures that dictate that if you know something important (like which berries are poisonous) you’d better share it with everyone in your community. The social exchange theory of proverbs hints at this, as does my research into email chain letters and urban legends.
Sharing content that other people might have missed also means that the friends you saved from ignorance are more likely to share key information with you, another popular motivation mentioned by respondents to my survey: reciprocity. One user specifically said: "I share, they share back, in case I miss something good," and another said "It encourages them to share with me too so I find even more things that I would otherwise miss."
Sharing content like this also shows the recipient that you were thinking about them and that you value them enough to make sure they’re not left in the dark, relationship building of this type was specifically mentioned by almost 10% of respondents.
This means that for marketers looking for a viral effect, the "they might miss it" idea can be a powerful call to action. This can take the form of a subtle indication that the reader is in possession of valuable information that others don’t have, or a more blatant "be sure to pass this on to your friends who might not have seen it."
This is a small part of the large data presented in the full report I did on the results of my survey, if you want to know more, be sure to read the rest of my viral content sharing report (and don’t forget to pass this on to your friends who might have missed it).
Dan Zarrella is a social and viral marketing scientist, you can read his blog here or follow him on Twitter here.

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  • Florida SEO

    Hmmm …

    I’m thinking of a dog barking at the ring of a bell …

    Nice post … You’ve got me thinking back to Psych Class …


  • Jim

    I’m thinking that there are a large number of information sharers who do so to show some type of information gathering prowess. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t there an amount of competitiveness involved in saying, “I saw that before anyone,” or “My boss gets these stories straight from the source, so I get them as soon as I get to work everyday.”
    I have definitely been boasted to about how someone else got information long before I did. Fortunately, I am comfortable that I read the news at a pace that works for me, and I don’t share it at all, someone will inevitably send me the big stories that I’ve already read.


    Nice insight as always, Dan. Keep up the good work.

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  • john

    does anyone else sit on this kind of information and dole it out to just your closest friends well after you’ve found it, or am i just a dick?

  • Satya

    good work

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  • Tom Lindstrom

    Good insightful post.

  • SEO Tools

    This is just another great post and I owe you a cup of coffee… I might try to use viral again..

  • Daniel Massicotte

    Personally I like the “missing this…could potentially jeopardize your…”

    But you’re right, marketers are always on the looking out for this like that.

  • Nicole

    I completely agree with Jim, Information sharers feel that they have batter knowledge about certain thing or about the world. And Viral marketers should try to use this weakness of people to market their products.

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  • Sobhan Doorco

    One of the modern methods to increase community awareness of the
    Internet. Nowadays, the Internet has been a very good position in this field

    I’m up for being in a particular field, your information
    will go to the Internet. Because this method is very simple and reliable. Glad
    that the visitor field increases conversancy There are sites that.

    تور چیندرب ضد سرقتدرب اتوماتیکتست جوش دستگاه حضور و غیابکرکره برقیخرید و فروش خودرونمای ساختمانپارتیشنکرکره برقی