[Contagious: Why Things Catch On] is full of examples of interesting ideas that spread, but also provides a strong reminder for marketers, citing research that only 7 percent of “word of mouth” recommendations (or complaints) happen online. Berger then talks about the science of sharing, citing 6 factors that influence how fast and broadly an idea spreads. His mnemonic for these is STEPPS:
-- > Social Currency – People share things that they think will make them look “good” (smart, cool, hip, etc.) in the eyes of their peers.
-- > Triggers – People share things that are top of mind, because of associations with other things that people think about all the time. (Note: This is more of a hidden trait, but consciously creating trigger associations can have a big, big impact.)
-- > Emotion – People share things that evoke emotions (A note on this since I’ve blogged about emotions before: Focus on things that cause high arousal. This can be positive (awe, excitement, amusement) or negative (anger, anxiety). But don’t go for the middle. Just making people feel content or sad won’t drive sharing.)
-- > Public – People share things that are visible.
-- > Practical Value - People share things they think will help others.
-- > Stories - People use stories as a the medium to communicate ideas in an interesting way (another favorite topic of mine)