The 3 S Rule of Social Media

The 3 S Rule of Social Media

There are 3 reasons consumers share any content on social media.
Give them a reason to share yours.

All business owners, whether with large brands or small businesses, say that their best source of new customers is word of mouth. Sometimes that’s hubris. Sometimes that’s a defense mechanism against spending any money on marketing. Often times its true.

But no one has a plan to make this grow! 

They think it just happens. They assume that if their customers have good experiences then new customers will magically appear. And they think it’s all out of their control; that it can’t be managed, grown, or amplified.

Don’t make this assumption. Make a plan. 

Social media is the best place for this plan to be executed and for word of mouth about your brand to be put to work for your brand. Give your customers something to say and share about you on social. And, let’s take you and your brand out the equation. Social media is not about you, it’s about them. What to customers want to say on social about themselves?

The 3 S Rule of Social Media

Let’s take a step back and think about the reason any consumer posts anything on social media. Is it to save the world? Is it to help their fellow humans? Is it to inspire the rest of us do the same? 

Maybe. But it’s more likely that consumers post to make themselves look good.

Breaking this down further, there are three basic reasons why your customers or other humans post anything on Social Media. They post to make themselves look:


Sexy, or


Yes, the entire past decade can be boiled down to our culture using the most powerful communications tools ever created to make themselves look like smart, sexy, or successful to their significant others, potential significant others, former significant others, friends, frenemies, enemies, clients, co-workers, neighbors, and even strangers. 

Smart: this includes any posts that makes one appear wise, savvy, shrewd, enlightened, cultured, being a smart parent, or clever. And yes, this includes all funny or meant-to-be-funny posts!  

Sexy: includes all posts (especially photos and videos) that anyone posts from the gym, going to the gym, or talking about the gym. Also included are any pics showing new clothes, weight loss, new hair styles, or date night.

Successful: includes all vacation pics, new car or house photos, any pics from inside any restaurant more expensive than a fast food place, and gifts for friends and family.

Is Your Content Sharable?

What content can your brand serve up today that, if shared, will make your customer look smart, sexy, or successful? 

Picture a fan who seeing your post or a targeted consumer seeing your social ad. What would make her want to share it? Remember, she’s not thinking about clicking “share” in order to promote your business or help you gain exposure. She’s thinking about herself. She’s sharing this so her friends see in their own newsfeed that she shared something. Be that something!

Does your post make her look smart, sexy, or successful? If not, she’s not going to share it.

If your post is nothing but a sales pitch, she’s notgoing to share it. 

If your post is a link to a dry technical article, she’s notgoing to share it. 

If your post links to a blog about how great your brand is or tells an uninteresting story, she’s notgoing to share it. 

But if your content is relevant to her (and her friends) and being associated with you makes her look good, she may share it. 

For years I recommended being the “go-to source for information.”  Now I recommend being the “go-to source for sharable content.”

The Best Example: Fitness Industry

Gyms can be a great example in all three categories. When a consumer posts about working out, they are saying that they are smartabout their health, they’re getting sexyand in shape, and they’re successfulenough to afford the cost and time to belong to this fitness center (broke people aren’t going the gym).

And the consumers posting from the gym are really only doing so to prove to their friends that they one of more of our three S’s.

Americans eat fast food. A lot. Billions of burgers are served every year. But I don’t see many check-ins from people at the drive-through window while picking up a Whopper or people taking selfies with their Big Mac. I’m guessing more Americans go to a Quick Serve Restaurant each day than a fitness franchise or other facility. But I’ll bet that your newsfeed is full of check-ins from the gym and selfies mid-workout by friends who want us to see that they’re working out.  

The smartest fitness brands are those who make it easy for their members to share pics of their workouts or who give customers goal-oriented sharables! Anytime Fitness and Orangetheory Fitness are both awesome at this. Here’s an interview with a smart regional coach from Orangetheory sharing some tips on Social Geek Radio.

Be the Go-To Source for Sharable Content

Give your customers what they need to impress their social sphere. Juicing up your Word of Mouth on social media means not only just giving your customers a great experience, but also giving them what they need to look good to their social friends!