The Secret Science of Social Proof & Validation

Have you ever wondered why some apps, games and videos are more viral than others? What are the forces that propel them into the wider realm of virility? It’s certainly not a case of luck and understanding the science of virility is becoming an increasingly critical aspect of marketing. There is an assumption among marketers that the biggest, best and brightest products and services naturally receive the most attention. Unfortunately this is not the case as understanding the nature of virility and what drives people to share stuff, can propel poorer products and services into the web based stratosphere.

Social Proof

It’s traditionally acknowledged that word of mouth is an essential aspect of raising awareness about your product or service. If you’re a fledgling start-up company, it does not matter if you’re developing apps, games or houses, you have to get your message out into the ether. We live in tough economic times and it’s hard for new companies to raise cash. As such advertising and marketing must be done on a shoestring budget. It’s a question of pushing your message uphill and generating organic buzz around your cause. But how is this possible?

Sheer luck?

Some commentators believe that virility is just luck. Occasionally the right factors align to create an effect like ‘lightning in a bottle’ enabling word of mouth on a global scale. Relying on this type of approach is naive. This does not underpin how or why people actually share things via Facebook, Twitter or whatever. Word of mouth and understanding virility is not an art form – it’s a science. It’s not a random occurrence and people share and talk about things for a reason. Understanding why and how people share is big business right now and if you’re starting a new company, it’s essential.

Trigger an Emotionally Evocative Response

People share stuff because of specific triggers. These triggers include social currency, emotion, public observability, practical value and a strong message or narrative. Think about the stuff your friends share on Facebook. Blogs? No. Videos? Yes. So why do people share videos and not blogs? Usually because they are in some way profound, sad or hilariously funny. Your marketing must trigger an emotionally evocative response and make the user feel good about sharing it. If someone cares, they’re more likely to share. Think about how you can apply these principles to your own marketing practices.


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