I recently read Contagious – Why Things Catch On. Did you know that 7% of word of mouth happens online? Just think about that for a minute. 7%. With the right frame work, something shared could go viral. We have all seen the overnight posts that just run rapid.
There are 6 Principles of Contagiousness (Likeliness to Spread) or better known as STEPPS. These six things cause things to be talked about, shared, and imitated.
Social Currency – People like to share things that make them look good to others. What people talk about also affects what people think of them. Ideally, companies need to give people a way to make themselves look good while also promoting the company’s products. Scarcity and exclusivity of products also helps products catch on by making them seem more desirable. If something is difficult to obtain, people assume that it must be worth the effort.
Triggers – Stimuli that prompt people to think about related things. When hearing peanut butter it reminds us of jelly. Products and ideas need to take advantage of existing triggers. Sights, smells, and sounds can trigger related thoughts and ideas, making them more top of mind. By acting as reminders, triggers not only get people talking, they keep them talking.
Emotion – When we care, we share. People want to be moved. Be sure to select high arousal emotions that drive people to action; awe, excitement, and amusement.
Public – Making products and ideas more public. Making things more observable makes them easier to share, which makes them more likely to become popular. The more public a product or service is, the more it triggers people to take action. For small companies or organizations, try designing products that advertise themselves, this cuts down on spending resources
Practical Value – People like to help others (normally), if you can show them how your product or idea will save time, improve health, or save money, the word will spread. People use the price they expect to pay for something as their reference point. When it comes to having things on sale, for low priced items, be sure to use a % off. For high priced items, use the dollar off option. An easy way to remember this is the Rule of 100 – if the product is less than $100 use the % off option.
Stories – People don’t just share information, they tell stories. People have gotten so used to telling stories, that they create narratives even when they don’t need too. The key, when telling stories, make sure the narrative connects back to you.
This was a really good read with tons of examples and explanations for reach step. If you are creating content or sharing content, I highly recommend reading this book.
As always share some love, we could all use a little more love