The term “shareability” refers to a highly shareable piece of content, a message, or any form of information. The exponential nature of shareability, brings up thoughts of viral marketing.
The reason many growth hackers have been hell bent on creating the next shareable sensation is due to the dramatic surge in awareness it can generate.
But, the importance of such an intense focus on ‘shareability’ or ‘going viral’ has been called into question over the past few years.
Sure, the sudden surge in awareness can feel like a huge bonus, and might even generate loads of engagement. However, critics claim that brands struggle to maintain the increased level of awareness and engagement.
3 Examples of Shareable Marketing
Ponzi – pre-digital shareable marketing
Ponzi (or Pyramid) schemes are probably the most recognisable – albeit flawed – example of shareable marketing.
The Ponzi strategy was simple. Investors buy into a scheme in rounds, and each investor is paid interest using the initial deposits of later rounds. I.e. Round 1 investors would be paid using the deposits of round 2 investors.
As the scheme showed promise to early investors, they would recruit their friends and families. This in turn generated exponential growth round on round, with each investor recruiting their friends, and they theirs. Eventually, though, the number of viable investors always dried up, and the schemes would collapse.
Hotmail – using what you’ve got to spread the word
Hotmail’s marketing strategy might be the earliest example of shareable marketing on the internet and growth hacking.
The free, web-based email service also had a simple strategy:
Hotmail invited users to try out their new email service and gave away free email addresses and services.
At the bottom of every email sent via the web-service, they included the message “Get your free e-mail at Hotmail”
As more emails are sent, more people sign up for their own free email account, and more emails are sent with the promotional message.
Hotmail’s shareable campaign is a far cry from Ponzi schemes, or the cat videos and “fail vines” that we have come to know today. This innovative move to advertise within their own product saw them become the fastest growing email provider.
Dollar Shave Club – because fun is contagious
In 2012, Dollar Shave Club debuted their $4,500 video campaign “Our Blades Are F***ing Great”. The video depicted the company CEO walking through a warehouse, in parody of many “buy my product” videos.
Within 48 hours of the video hitting YouTube, it had been shared at an exponential rate, and over 12,000 people had signed up for their service. It has now amassed over 22 million views.
The truth is, as with everything in the marketing world, the importance of shareability depends on your business and marketing goals. It will never be clear cut whether it is a good, or bad thing to focus on.
If your goal is simply to increase awareness of your brand, shareability might well be the right call. But, if your business and marketing goals are to generate sustained engagement, you might be better off focusing on using shareability as part of a broader marketing strategy.
Hopefully this helps you to understand shareability better. If you still have questions get in touch with us at Peazie and we can share some more expert knowledge on shareability, maybe while we listen to Cher!