We all remember when South Korean singer Psy shook the internet with his song “Gangnam Style.” I remember thinking to myself: How can something with such a dumb and meaningless content go viral?
I used to think that in order for something to go viral it needed to be the absolute best in every aspect in its field. In this case, the song did not have the best lyrics, performance or meaning, and yet it went viral. Such examples are countless.
All of us probably have some clues about what makes things go viral, but, we don’t have to guess anymore. There are six identified aspects of viral content. Jonah Berger, a professor at Pennsylvania State University who wrote the book “Contagious: Why Things Catch On,” explains what makes something go viral.
Let’s quickly go through all six aspects, then we will talk about some real-life examples of how they can be used.
1. Social Currency
People are more likely to share something if it would make them look good or give a certain social status. Example of this point could be attending an exclusive social gathering.
Linking your product with activities and ideas that are popular and casual among people. One of the most best known examples was in 2006, when Kit-Kat decided to advertise their products with coffee. Kit-Kat sales has been declining year by year, so they tied their product to coffee — which is widely consumed — in consumers’ minds. The strategy worked wonders.
We are more likely to talk about or share something that we care about. To create that connection you need to start with asking the question “Why?” Why is it important, why should people care?
People are likely to act like the society and public. The iPhones are a great example. Most people don’t use more than 2 percent of the functions of their iPhone and yet they pay a lot of money to purchase them.
5. Practical Value
People who really see a benefit in something are likely to suggest it to somebody else.
Most people don’t really care about details and specifications, they care about stories. So you need to figure out how your product or idea connects to an awesome story.
It is worth mentioning that for something to go viral it doesn’t necessarily have to contain all six aspects. Some of those points might not even be applicable to your situation.
Knowing about these six aspects is great, however, knowing how and where to implement them is important. While most of us are not thinking about creating the next piece of viral content, those six steps are in the core of many other activities. Let’s go through some examples.
Let’s take newsletters and offers. When creating a newsletter or offer, think about what to include that would connect with your audience. Use elements that would trigger emotions and provide your audience with useful content, because if those two criteria are met the customer is more likely to suggest it to others. Also, try to make the person reading your newsletter feel special and privileged. Lastly, it is crucial to connect yourself with something bigger and of greater importance. You want people to have a smile on their face when they think of you or the company that you work for.
Now consider polling and surveys. Depending on the purpose of the poll, the goals could differentiate. Nevertheless, when you go to Swift Polling to make a survey, keep in mind the above mentioned six points. Ideally, you would want your poll to be unique, interesting and contain a deeper purpose. Obviously, this doesn’t relate to every poll. However, use that tip if you want to reach masses, if you want exposure. You need to make the poll in a way that it would contain a practical value while being part of much bigger picture, that’s the only way it would be shared over and over. Some other tips to make the most effective poll would be using in your poll-question words like empower, overcome, thrilled, delightful and etc. will make your poll more engaging, because alike words tend to connected with people more then if you used allow, beat, elated and alluring accordingly. Also, writing poll question with the content that would somehow connect with trends would be a good idea.
Lastly, keep in mind that knowing those principles can help protect you from manipulative advertising. In the the 21st century, we are provided with ads no matter what we do or where we go. Internet itself is a big ad. By analyzing those principles, we can have a better understanding of why, when and how we are being sold the things that we really do not need. This information can help us resist manipulative techniques that advertisers are using or a call that you might get about this revolutionary investment opportunity, and he is very convincing, you might even start considering his/her offer.
Remember these six steps to understand exactly how you are being sold an idea that you do not even believe in.