Yesterday something happened that hasn’t happened in a while: We shared a picture about the coming of Spring.
Meanwhile in finland

It resonated well with people. It got a lot of shares and likes, and some even said it was a great example of good brand marketing. Thanks @sanose_linda.

All this left me thinking: Why did this post get the shares & likes it did? I think there were a few drivers that contributed to its success more than others:

1. Funny

The Human brain decides if it wants to share something before our consciousness gets the message. The choosing function is highly unconscious and, you guessed it, FUNNY is the biggest trigger for sharing.

Our image was not hilarious by any means, but it did carry a certain realism that people found funny. The best comedians have the talent to dress up real life into a funny joke. And the joke is that it is happening to each and everyone of us. The picture did exactly that. It covered a topic that everyone in Finland experiences every year - Thinking that Spring is here prematurely.

2. Relatable

The picture had a highly relatable element that made it funny. When people find out that a possibly silly thing they do isn’t actually that uncommon, PEOPLE LOVE TO SHARE IT and talk about it.

3. Timely

The picture was extremely timely. It was a sunny day. Tons of people talked about how they were so excited to finally enjoy the warmer weather. The coffee break topics covered how bikes need to come out of storage, summer clothes are being taken out of boxes, coats get lighter, and how some can finally wear those fabulous shoes they bought during winter sales, etc.

We really hit the nerve because the truth is that all of us know better than that. Spring is not yet here but we ignore that fact and rather cling on to the blissful thought of sun and warmth.

4. Visual

Let’s face it, it was a big picture. I don’t know how many times I’ve read that one of the biggest trends for 2014 is images. I wouldn’t say that images work alone, but combined with the emotions, relatable element and timeliness, you have a high chance of getting great traction for your post.

Secondly, the image did tell a great story with just one slide, and with very little reading. The majority of people are on the move and don’t have time or don’t want to read long posts (which, by the way, this will be).

5. Emotion-based

A psychoanalyst, Donald Winnicott, discovered that our first emotional action in life is to respond to our mother’s smile with a smile of our own. This means that an emotional connection to joy and happiness is pretty much carved into our souls.

Below is a great heat map, from a study by Fractal, showing which other emotions drive engagement and sharing.

So, next time you’re about to publish something, consider these things and maybe you'll even surprise yourself!