Viral Marketing – How to Create Shareable Content

Word of Mouth advertising is the most effective, as much as 10 times more effective

  • More Trustworthy – People believe their friends and don’t trust companies
  • WOM is very targeted – Having your customers become brand ambassadors is a great method to find new customers.
    • Because people tend to be friends with people liek them – homophily – so WOM is great to find users who would already be open to you
    • what can we give them to cauase them to spread our marketing?

How to get People Talking About Your Marketing

Online WOM – Social Media Sites get 7% of WOM, but it is growing rapidly.  Online is not the only way to think about WOM.  WOM is still mostly conducted in face to face conversation, coffee table conversations.

One WOM is easy with linking, but offline is more prevalinet, so must plan both online and offline strategy.

Don’t just think about follower count, try to drive engagement.  Retweets, clicks, and sales are just as important.  Just posting isn’t effective, you MUST get the engagement.  Think less about technology and more about they psychology.

How WOM works

6 psychological drivers cause people to share:

  • S – Social Currency
  • T – Triggers
  • E – Emotion
  • P – Public
  • P – Practical Value
  • S – Stories

We will br crafting contagious content.  The keyword is crafting, it will take time and effort to accomplish.

People love secrets.  Having access to information that not everyone else knows makes you look good.  It gives you social currency.  One way to get people to share your content is to make them look good, to build their social currency.

Choices Communicate Information

THe clothes we wear, the cars we drive, it tells people about us.  If someone posts a lot about restaruatns, someone will think they are a foodie.  Give people social currency and they will be more likely to share

One way to build social currency is to give people hidden content.  Make them insiders.  Give them scarce information.  How can we make them feel like insiders?

How can you make them feel like they have exclusive content and scarce information.

Another way to build social currently is to play up the inherent remarkability.  Must find a way to make your product remarkable and exciting.  Find that inner remarkability.  What makes your product or service interesting?  Surprising?  Why do you find it interesting?

Be sure to show the remarkability, not tell.  Highlight what is exciting in an amazing way


Make your content top of mind and tip of tounge.  A trigger is any stimulus in the enviornment that reminds you of something else.

Whether you like something or not, triggers keep you talking.  What is going to trigger them to think aobut your product or service?

What is the thing in the enviornment that will remind customers even when we aren’t around.  Triggers are important to help people remember brand.

Make sure your trigger is frequent and that it comes up at the right times.  When is the right time to trigger your consumers.


When you care, you share.  The more emotional content in the post, the more shareability.  It is up to 20% more engageable.  Don’t just focus on function, focus on feeling.  For sharing, think about underlying emotion.  Get them to care and buy in.

The 3 Whys

Get down to the core emotion.  Why do you do what you do.

We think of emotions as positive or negative.  The biggest factor for emotion is arousal.  Some emotions are actionable, while some are quiet and solumn.  High arousal emotions drive sharing.

When applying emotion, focus on emotions that are high arousal.  It’s not good enough to make people feel good, you must make them feel inspired.  Use humor.

Social Proof

We often use others to indicate the direction of our decision.  When we see an empty restaurant, we assume the food isn’t good.

If something is built to show, it is built to go.  People are more likely to do something if they see other people doing it.  They use others as a cue.  But they have to be able to see the action.  Monkeys can only do what they can see.

Make things easier to see.  If it is easier to see, it’s easier to imitate.

You cant to make it easy to imitate others.  Make the private public.  Use color

How can you make it easier for people to adopt something new.  How can you indicate the amount of people that are using the product or service.  The easier it is to see someone else doing it, the more likely they are to do it themselves.

If lots of people share your content, you want to show that.

Practical Value

If information is useful to your audience, they are more likely to share it.  Use lists, especially in the title, to organize your information.  By giving a number, you make the items more digestable.

How can you use practical value to show your expertise.

Rule of 100

Another great way to build practical value is to use discounts  Saying a product is on sale is a great way to drive engagement.  By expressing a deal as a percentage, you make the discount seem deeper.  It is not always this way, however. With large numbers, you want to use the dollar value.  The rule is that is the discount is greater than 100, use the dollar value.  It is framing

By framing as a percentage vs number, you will drive different engagement patters.

Stop selling and start storytelling.  Stories are the currency of conversation.  Use your stories as carries.  Think of trojan horse stories.  Use stories that bring our mesage and idea along.  Craft a narrative that carries our message along.

To make stories work for you, Ask yourself what idea you want to get accross.  What is the key concept.  Then build a narrative that exemplifies that idea.  Make sure that your idea is a key detail.  Stories aren’t conveyed with all the details, so you must make your concept a key portion of the story so people won’t forget it when retellign


The more of the 6 steps that we include, the more likely it will caause engagement.  You don’t have to use all at once,. tho.  You can focus on different elements at a time, but make sure each piece accomplishes atleast one step very well.