There are many reasons that things catch on and go viral. Contagious: Why Things Catch On takes a practical dive into 6 key elements that make things interesting enough to share.
THE 6 ELEMENTS – STEPPS
- SOCIAL CURRENCY
- People crave societal approval. They want to be liked, but they also want to feel special and like they know something that others don’t
- Word of mouth is a form of currency
- Remarkability, exclusivity, and scarcity boost word of mouth by making people feel like insiders
- Environmental reminders that keep you top of mind
- Examples of triggers: Peanut butter makes you think of jelly; ketchup makes you think of mustard
- Associating your brand with a specific trigger brings your brand to the top of consumer minds more often
- Good triggers are those that are seen frequently, happen near where your desired outcome takes place, and are strongly associated with your product (not extremely broad/general)
- “When we care, we share”
- People share things that are interesting and/or useful
- You want the emotion to trigger action (examples of emotions that result in action: rage, awe, excitement) so that your brand is shared
- It needs to be seen for social currency and triggering purposes
- People do what they see others do because of social proof and herd mentality
- Behavior is public, but thoughts are private so you need people’s actions to support your brand, idea, or desired outcome, not just their thoughts
- PRACTICAL VALUE
- People pass along practical, useful information
- We measure value in relative terms meaning that we compare things to our reference points and expectations. If we expect a bill to be $400, but it is actually $100, we will be excited because it costs less than we expected; however, if it was $600, we would be upset because it costs more than we expected.
- When setting prices or creating promotions, consider the consumer’s expectations and use the Rule of 100
- Narratives carry information
- People dispute reviews on a website, but they are less likely to dispute a person’s story
- Make your brand, product, or idea an integral part of the story to make sure that it doesn’t get left out of the retellings
The STEPPS don’t have to all be used at the same time to make something go viral, but the more that can be included, the better. This book was concise with limited redundancies making it a great resource for anyone interested in making their content reach larger numbers of people. I don’t usually read books more than once, but this book will stay on my bookshelf as a reference tool.
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