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Jonah Berger set out to analyze what makes certain ads and content on-line or in the media go ‘viral‘.
This book is the result of that research and a breakdown of 6 factors – which he defines as the S.T.E.P.P.S. (we all love acronym’s, don’t we? ūüôā – that content must have to engage and cause the spread, via word of mouth, of the message.

As he notes, word of mouth (telling others about something) is the primary factor behind 20-50% of all buying decisions.

Why? ¬†Because we generally only tend to select and share a piece of information with people who we think will find that information relevant. ¬†And if it is relevant to that person, they are more likely to be interested and perhaps purchase.It’s easy because of all the media hype and activity to ¬†focus on on-line/social media as a means to get our message out there.But…consider this statistic:

Only around 7% of “word of mouth” happens on-line. ¬†50% of YouTube videos have less than 500 views. Only 0.33% have over a million views.

That’s right…most word of mouth still happens person to person (or group).

So we need to realize and not focus so much on the means of distributing our messages, but on what drives the sharingthe message itself.

The S.T.E.P.P.S. model provides a way of crafting and creating our messages so that they are more likely to be shared and the main point of the message is retained as it is retold.

The six factors are:

  • Social Currency – People will share things that make them look better, knowledgeable, funny, etc. to their social groups. So your message should provide this social currency.
  • Triggers – To make a message ‘stick’ and come to the front of peoples minds, you need to connect it to other things in the environment that a person finds themselves in¬†when you want them to remember you. ¬†Sights, smells and sounds can trigger related thoughts and ideas, making them more top of mind.¬†(Think Kit-Kat and breaks – when I’m on a break, maybe I should buy a Kit-Kat..).
  • Emotion – When we¬†care¬†we¬†share. Messages that cause emotional stimulus are more likely to be talked about/shared. ¬†The emotions that cause the most arousal/action? Awe, Excitement, Amusement, Anger, Anxiety, Love. ¬†So focus on feelings in your message…how will it make the person feel?
  • Public – If it shows well and is ‘prevalent, it will be talked about. This is where the concept of social proof comes in. For instance, the longer the line/wait at a restaurant, the better the food must be.
  • Practical Value – Provide something that has practical value to the receiver and they are more likely to pass it one to others. ¬†Value is about saving people time or money, or helping them have good experiences.
  • Stories – We have evolved to pass along information in narratives or stories. ¬†Because of this, a good story is easily transmitted. So make your message so integral to the story that the story can’t be told without your message.

By using the concepts in this book in your messages – for your product, brand, ads, etc., and you will find more interaction with your messages, connection and more people talking about you and your business and products.

As always,

Stay On The Rise!

JT

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