Establishing a social media presence is great, but if you’re sharing underwhelming content, your followers will get bored quickly. As a consumer, finding quality content can be challenging with the amount of information they’re inundated with every day.

On average, eight out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only two out of 10 will read on. Providing your followers with worthwhile information can boost your engagement level and help drive sales. But doing so will take more than a smartly crafted marketing message.

According to marketing professor Jonah Berger, the first step to creating successful content is emotion. As humans, we’re driven by emotion, and if your content fails to evoke a strong feeling, then chances of it “going viral” are slim. Beyond emotion, Berger identified five other key elements necessary to take your content to the next level: social currency, triggers, public observability, practical value, and storytelling.

It might seem like you need a background in psychology to create quality engagement, but that’s not the case. Instead, all you need is a fundamental understanding of the people who are consuming it. The infographic below — created by WhoIsHostingThis.com — offers a brief lesson in viral psychology as well as tips and insights that can be applied to your content strategy.

Whether you’re on multiple social networks or focused solely on your blog, content is one of the most important facets of your marketing strategy. If you aren’t already, it’s important to pay close attention to analytics so you can determine which content attracts the most engagement, and what drives fans away.

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[Image credit: dierk schaefer]