What makes you share?

tree

What creates sharability online? While for (traditional) WOM several research studies have shown that people speak mostly about impressive experiences, often those that are relevant to the other person they are directly speaking to, the same isn’t necessarily true for much of the social media landscape. In fact, if you think about it, it is hard to talk about something impressive, like a holiday, in fewer than 140 characters… so what can you talk about? And how can you create sharing online that translates into potential WOM face-to-face? The answer is surprisingly simple… it just has to be something that is curious, novel or new – or just original. And don’t worry too much about whether it is actually something that makes a lot of sense. As long as it is quick and easy fun, it is likely to be sharable.

Take the example from Monday: Confession Time is absurdly useless. Funny maybe. But useless… Why anyone in their right mind would follow them on twitter is anyones guess…. but the site has featured on the BBC, Techcrunch, T37…. you name the tech site from anywhere around the globe, chances are it has created buzz for i4giveu.

Can you make this into a marketing strategy? Of course! The trick is to link one of these sharables to the experience, which can then be, later on, the subject of face-to-face talk. Take the successful example of Changi Airport Singapore. What is important for an airport: transit times, shopping, food, cleanliness, efficiency…. but few people tweet “wow! love how clean the airport is” (they may do the opposite though!). And although Changi is pretty ok as an airport, it is also a quite smooth operator when it comes to social media (no wonder, it is in one of the most connected cities in the world): The airport used a pretty nifty little trick to get people talking about the experience. By providing something that is useless, kind of cute, quite fun – but above all: sharable.

If you have seen people tweet from Changi you are probably familiar with the “social tree” (see above) they installed. It must be one of the most photographed trees in the world…. especially in an airport that features a lot of trees in other areas. The trick is that it focuses travellers attention, and yes, they can send a picture to it… Does it make your journey any smoother? Does it help to shorten (in a substantive way) a long layover? …. Probably not. But what it does, is to give travellers a bit of fun they can share. Useless, useless fun. But fun. And very packable into 140 words.

Changi tree, i4giveu… you can probably continue the list with hundreds more items that are shared despite their clear uselessness. So there you have it… if you are serious about driving online sharability, think silliness. Because those few seconds of stupid fun are what matters to people.