What makes things popular? Jonah Burger, a marketing professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, has dedicated the last 15 years to finding the answer to this question.
In his book Contagious: Why Things Catch On, Berger discusses the power of word-of-mouth and social influence. More specifically, Berger covers six basic principles he says impact all consumer behavior. These principles include:
- Social Currency
- Public (a.k.a. Social Proof)
- Practical Value
Ecommerce brands must take these motivators into consideration when building their marketing campaigns. And a prime opportunity to leverage these concepts and create impactful marketing is Instagram Stories.
If you’re looking for basic information about Instagram Stories and how to create them, check out our recent post, “How to Create Instagram Stories for an Ecommerce Brand”. But if you’ve posted a few stories and are looking to improve them to build your brand, generate leads, and increase sales, keep reading.
1. Social Currency
We like to share information with others that make us seem “in the know.” Some folks are pop culture experts and like to let you know the latest and greatest in the world of celebrities. Others are sales junkies and like to share amazing deals.
Here’s an example from Francesca’s:
Words can create feelings. The key is to use words that trigger a feeling in a new way. For example, you might use “hot dogs” to create a story around Dachshunds instead of including hot dogs in a post about an Independence Day barbecue.
We all love a good story. In an analysis of articles included in the NY Times Most Emailed List, the most viral ones contained high arousal emotions, including awe, excitement, amusement, anger, or anxiety. Articles that included sad stories had the opposite effect.
Peer pressure is real, even for adults. When other people are doing it, or it seems like it, we want to do it, too. Eating healthy, seeing the coolest movie, and supporting a cause are examples of this that can be included in Instagram Stories.
Here’s an example of a free Q&A session offered by marketing powerhouse Gary Vaynerchuk:
Being an “it” kind of guy, folks will be drawn to something they “should” do – participate in his Q&A session. When they’re done, they can then use the experience as “social currency” and share it with others.
5. Practical Value
Have you ever read something useful and been inspired to take action? Product demonstrations, recipes, ways a business is helping the community – these all provide value, while showcasing businesses and products in a positive light.
Tarte Cosmetics is an expert at this. They’ll often show makeup demonstrations, and at the end will explain how to buy the makeup included in the demonstration, or how to enter a content to win the makeup.
(Note: This example actually has 18 segments as part of a story, but I only included five.)
Creating a longer video with shorter segments is a common way to get around the 15-second maximum on Instagram stories.
Pro Tip: If you have a longer video that you’d like to cut into shorter segments, consider using CutStory.
According to Berger, “People don’t think in terms of information. They think in terms of narratives.” There’s a reason Instagram calls their feature “Stories”. It’s because we all love not only to hear a good story, but we also love to share a good story.
In other words, ecommerce brands must replace traditional advertising techniques in favor of storytelling.
As you continue creating Instagram Stories, consider experimenting with the six different principles. Test what works, what doesn’t work, and what works better than the rest. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on all the newest Instagram Stories strategies.