How To Use Social Currency To Create Infectious Messaging

Infectious Messaging…sounds like you’re talking about the plague or ebola and the concept is the same. Infectious means it’s likely to spread or influence others in a rapid manner. When it comes to messaging, you want your ideas to spread like a viral wildfire. So your messaging should be engineered to become infectious.

There are 6 principles to adhere to in order to ensure the virality of your message. They are Social Currency, Triggers, Emotions, Public Authentication, Practical Value, and Stories. These 6 principles are “must-have” components to your messaging in order to infect as many viewers as possible. And these principles aren’t reserved just for social or digital messages–but should be used for all types of communication. Every message should conform.

The first of these is Social Currency or word of mouth. We share what makes us look good making customer recommendations one of your most powerful tools. As humans, 40% of what we talk about is ourselves. In fact, sharing things about ourselves is a drive for us. We find it as pleasurable as eating our very favorite food. It’s why social media works so well–and why we share so much online. We share to look more impressive to others–resulting in social proof. It’s the reason companies are always coming up with new ways to share customer endorsements.

So the first part of creating a viral message is to figure out how to entice people to talk about your products or services. The key question to this equation is, what credibility does your offering provide the person sharing?

For instance, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014 enticed 17 million people to participate and it wasn’t because we loved getting ice water poured over our heads, but it was a movement in which you gained social clout by taking part. So much so that even large corporations were getting involved, lining up their employees and challenging other companies–raising $115 million for the cause.

There are three key points to keep in mind with social currency and each has to do with finding the remarkability of your brand.

  • What are the extraordinary or remarkable aspects of your products or services? How could you make those more shareable? You can see this in action with a product as unremarkable as a blender. Blendtec created a series of videos showcasing their blender’s impressive abilities–for instance, it can pulverize golf balls. If remarkability can be found in a blender, you should be able to find the extraordinary within your products and services.
  • What about your products or services are interesting, surprising or novel? Firebox, an online store, sells surprising and novel items but they’ve taken their offbeat item descriptions to a new level–making you want to share them with your friends. After all, who doesn’t need cushion with your friend’s face on it?
  • What are the consequences of using your products or services–what makes them even more amazing than prospective customers may think? At first glance, Trunk Club is another stylist-in-a-box company where you receive clothes picked for you every month. But this one is a little different than what you’ve come to expect. First, they market heavily to men which many of their competitors overlook, but the big difference is you don’t pay a monthly fee–you only pay for purchases. They found a way to compete with those bigger players in the same space.

Use the surprising, extraordinary, and remarkable values your products or services supply to craft marketing messages that provide social clout to the sharer increasing virality. Using social proof to share your brand’s stories will mint social currency and show provable business results.


Sources mentioned in the article:

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge



Trunk Club

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