6 factors that drive electronic Word Of Mouth

Electronic word of mouth can be more cost effective than hiring a PR agency or advertise in news papers, but it’s not easy. If no one shares your messages nothing will happen. In our last blog post we wrote ‘Trigger an emotion and your content gets shared and retweeted’. Now we’ll digg a little deeper in the factors that increase your online visibility. It’s not about luck which means that if you learn and apply these factors you’ll gain a competitive edge. It’s not only for big brands either. Small businesses, start-ups and even solo-entrepreneurs need to establish their brand and live up to it.

In a recent investigation by Jonah Berger, author of the book ‘Contagious, why things catch on‘, the word-of-mouth data on almost 10,000 products and brands were analyzed. The focus of this research project were the motivations and emotions behind the outcomes. Not which products get talked about and shared more, but what is driving this behavior. And emotion does shape social transmission as published earlier in ‘What makes online content viral?

Trigger people to keep them thinking about you

For a company like Disney it’s easy to get mentions, you may think. It’s a brand well-known by people at any age and it’s all about having fun together which is a very positive emotion. However Disney is only top-of-mind right after the experience.

Jonah compared Disney to Cheerios, a breakfast-related product. A much less interesting product than Disney but for Cheerios is far easier to stay top-of-mind. How can this be? Well, people pass the Cheerios brand about every time they visit the supermarket. On top of that, if this cereal is purchased, the brand gets noticed every time the purchaser has breakfast. To be top-of-mind you have to be where the people are so they get triggered every time in thinking about you.

And what if you can have both like Apple’s iPhone? The anticipation when they announce a new model, the thrill after the purchase and it’s a product the user sees more often than at breakfast only. Well Apple knows how to cause a stirr. Last month rumours were circulating that Apple would launch a ‘Champagne’-colored iPhone. Many news sites and blogs were anticipating a legal battle between Apple and the CIVC (the French organization in charge of protecting the Champagne name around the world). But it turned out… it was all rumours. The color was named ‘gold’ and Apple just gained a whole lot of free publicity from this.

5 Other factors that drive Word Of Mouth

We’ve talked about triggering people as reminders. Let’s now list the other five factors:

  1. Social currency: Sharing you just bought the new Bentley makes you look successful, but you won’t see many tweets from people bragging about the results they got from a new medicine for haemorrhoids.
  2. Emotion: Sharing is caring. Humor, surprise, anger etc are all drivers of word of mouth (see also our previous blog post).
  3. Public: People easily adopt what’s already popular. See also the Roger Adoption / Innovation Curve. You only need a few innovators and early adopters to get the masses going.
  4. Practical value: Earning karma points by helping others. Sharing a publication with great tips makes you look good.
  5. Stories: Storytelling is the new advertising. It’s about getting your message across without annoying people.

How BuzzTalk helps

BuzzTalk is all about artificial intelligence and teaching a computer to read and understand human language. BuzzTalk is able to recognize the factors that trigger responses and show engagement.

This SaaS-application determines whether a particular publication is positive, whether an emotion is involved and assesses the reputation of the publisher. It also helps finding relevant influencers who can help you to get your message across.

In short, BuzzTalk helps you monitor the buzz and evaluate what’s being said by whom about what. You can measure where you are now, benchmark against competitors, monitor in time and analyze the buzz for sentiment, emotions and more.

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