Here’s Why You Should Never Ask People to “Share” Your Site (+ What To Do Instead)

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Do you want your business to go viral? Well, who doesn’t?

Every day, more and more people come to realize how important it is to go viral if you want to generate a buzz for your business.

Unfortunately, what most people don’t know is that they use all the wrong tactics to go viral!

For instance… Asking “to get shared”.

Did you know that telling people to share your message is the worst thing you can do? Shocking, especially coming from us, right? 🙂

Why Shares Alone Are a Dead End

Let me tell you why, and what you should do instead.

I first gave viral marketing a try way back in 2010. I created a simple opt-in page for people to get access to a tool I had created.

After the opt-in, they got to a thank you page where I offered an extra tool to them if they shared a message on Facebook. After sharing, they’d gain access to the tool.

Guess what happened?

This attempt got me a couple of hundred shares… but not much impact at all.

Here are a few reasons:

  • People used fake accounts for sharing.
  • They would delete the post immediately after, or, even if they didn’t delete the post, the message would just be my pre-written message– not persuading their friends at all!
  • My message was pre-written in English (not my own language), so my friends would consider it marketing spam.

At the end of the day, shares don’t mean anything!

What means something is your reach– how you’re able to build your email list.

Related: 10 Proven Ways To Grow Your Email List Today

The Genius Strategy Dropbox Used

Have you heard of Dropbox? I’m sure you have! But why are they relevant to this story?

Because they did something brilliant.

Instead of saying “Hey, share this message with your friends and you’ll get more storage space,” they did something different.

They gave everyone their own unique invite link, and that was a game-changer. It gave people accountability. Only if people signed up via someone’s unique invite link would that person receive extra storage space.

It Wasn’t Just About Shares Anymore…

People needed to convince their friends to use their invite link. They needed to persuade people to use that link, to tell them that it’s probably the best thing ever in order to get them to sign up.

And that’s because they got something of value out of it.

And that’s when it hit me.

The worst thing you can do is ask for a share.

Here’s what you should do instead…

Give everyone their own unique invite link so that people have accountability.

This is exactly what we do here at UpViral!

Tell people, “If you get three of your friends to sign up for my email list, you will get this free tool!”, or maybe run an UpViral contest and tell people “The more friends you get to sign up, the higher your chances of winning!”

People will go absolutely nuts trying to get their friends to sign up. 🙂

The first time I tried this formula out using the UpViral link structure… I noticed something interesting.

People weren’t just sharing their links once.

They were sharing them multiple times, all over the internet– on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, forums, blogs, you name it! It was crazy.

This was all because I wasn’t asking for a share. I gave them their own unique tracking link and made sure that they got other people to sign up to my email list.

Giving people something of value in return for their participation means that you are getting them to share the goals you have for your business.

Related: 50 Creative and Small Prize Ideas for Different Industries

And that’s completely changed things for me.

What have your experiences with viral marketing been like? Let me know in the comments down below. 🙂