Berger: Social Currency

This is the 2nd post in our series on Jonah Berger’s book “Contagious” Today we want to know what the hell is social currency and how does it make stuff go viral.

Here is the core idea. People like and may even need to share messages about themselves. We do this all the time and we are on the lookout for stuff to share that makes US look good. That means stuff that fits what we want to share does not need advertising.

So what type of stuff fits? There are only 3 categories

(1) INNER REMARKABILITY – this is stuff that surprises and delights. Like a secret message on the inside of a bottle cap. To make a message remarkable, it should break the pattern. It does not matter if the subject itself is remarkable if you break the pattern – like offering black toilet paper! The funny thing about remarkable stories — people make them even better when they re-tell them.

(2) LEVERAGE GAME MECHANICS – Games are fun to play because of their mechanics — like getting points (for example, frequent flyer miles). This motivates people to get something AND to talk about it. Offering rewards can

(3) OFFER INSIDER STATUS – you do this by including “scarcity and exclusivity” in your message. Like by using a “flash sale” – one that only insiders know about and that only lasts for a short time.

So how good are you at creating social currency? I will be the first to admit that I am not good at this. But I am thinking about how to get better.

Next we look a quick look the second principle of making messages go viral – using triggers”

IT IS AVAILABLE ONLY FOR ONE DAY AND ONLY FOR YOU! Errr … how was that for offering insider status? And answer the quick quiz and win 1000 points! Read the post backwards for the secret message! Heehee!



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