Discuss about Earned media and reason that somebody would share something and how to make it viral.
So in today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about social triggers. I say these words all the time, I say social trigger all the time. I reference it all the time. So I figured it was time that I put the real definition of it, how I see it into paper.. So social triggers, a term that if you Google what you’re going to find first is Derek Halpern’s blog and business, social triggers, which is absolutely amazing.
Derek is a genius at everything he does. He studies, the psychology of marketing has been doing this for years. I loved Derik. I respect Derek. Derek’s awesome. And so he built a business around social triggers, but when I referenced social triggers, what I’m really referencing. As I’m referencing more towards the lens of Jonah Berger.
So I talk about a few books quite often, only one of them being contagious by Jonah Berger, probably the number one required reading for any entrepreneur that does marketing, but in Jonah Berger’s book contagious, he talks about, you know, why things catch on, why people share things, why people post things, why people take specifics actions and he buckets those things into five buckets basically.
So the reason that somebody would share something is education, credibility, controversy, humor, or social status, right? So back in the day we used to go on line, but like what makes something go viral? Oh, it’s luck. It was never luck. We just hadn’t really studied enough of it to figure out what it was. But at the, at the core of everything that’s gone viral, there was a reason that somebody shared it. A reason that somebody shared it that benefited them cause people want to look smart. They want to look credible. They want to be seen, they want to be heard. They want to be respected.
So if a piece of content, a video, a post or anything gets posted and it helps them fit into one of those buckets. Well, the likelihood of virality is massive. The likelihood of it sharing is massive. That’s the truth with it.
So when we think about social triggers, I’m not talking about viral content. The way that I think about a social trigger for me is just that a trigger, a trigger that when somebody hears something or sees something or feel something they think about me or they think about X business.
So I’ll give you an example when I say, just do it. Who did you think about? So when I say I phone, who do you think about? Those are examples of social triggers? Just like right now, when I say running shoes, You have a thought that pops into your head might be Nike might be Saucony might be Reebok, might be Adidas might be a company I’ve never heard of.
When I say laptop, you probably have a thought that pops into your head. And most of the time it’s probably going to be Mac or Android or Microsoft. If I say phone, you might think Android, I might think iPhone. Those are all examples of social triggers. So I’m going to actually read you Jonah Berger’s wards before view my examples and how I built businesses by utilizing social triggers.
Jonah wrote this on his blog. So everybody go check out his blog, check out his books. And if you don’t have every one of Jonah Berger, his books, and you’re a business owner, you’re an entrepreneur. You do marketing, you’re already losing the game. It’s like required reading like you shouldn’t be allowed to, to be an entrepreneur unless you read Jonah Berger’s books. He’s that good?
So share worthy stuff, capitalizes on triggers, sights sounds, and other stimuli that remind us of related products and ideas are another reason we share. Last year, which I don’t know what year this was. NASA landed a Rover on Mars. We all remember this. It was an Epic undertaking. It required millions in funding and years of effort. The world cheered when the Rover finally touched down on the Rocky mountain Martian terrain and slowly rolled onto the dusty ground media outlets, clamored to cover this story and millions of people buzzed about the news. NASA was of course a static, but at the same time, another organization enjoyed some unexpected success.
Now, before I tell you what this company is, I want you to think about this right now. So what we’re talking about and what w what Jonah is talking about, what I’m reading to you, is when NASA landed the Rover on Mars. So obviously when NASA landed the Rover on Mars, there was a lot of media coverage, nationally, regionally, globally, all over the world. Everybody was sharing it. Why? Because I want it to be a part of it. It was a social status. I lived through this time. I was here for this time, like, Oh my God, look at that or I knew that person, or I knew this was happening, or I knew this was coming. If you think about what I shared at the beginning of this.
All the media coverage, all the sharing, all the posts that you’ve seen fit into. One of those two buckets are one of those five buckets, right? Humor, credibility, controversy, social status, or education and you think about it. It had all the ingredients for it to go viral for it to go but then the other side of that is once it’s shared, it also served as a trigger.
And so as you sit here and think about this, ask yourself right now, what company or companies would have massively benefited by all the free press and free pre PR and free news coverage of NASA landing the Rover on Mars. Just think about it now, of course, like you might have thoughts, like maybe Elon Musk did because he’s doing, you know, trying to get people to Mars. Maybe Jeff Bezos did because he has a space company. But it’s actually simpler than that.
The number one company was probably the most excited if that NASA landed a Rover on Mars and all that coverage happened was Mars candy company over the same period that the Mars planet was in the news. Let me find this exact line over the same period that the Mars, the planet was in the news. Mars, the chocolate bar saw surprising uptick in sales. Mars bars are named after the company has found her Franklin Mars, not the planet, but all the attention to Mars the planet did something remarkable. It brought the candy to the foreground and showed us that sometimes viral success is in the hands of chance.
No one can guarantee 10 million unique views, but most of the time, the content people choose to share isn’t random by understanding the signs of virality, you can increase the likelihood that your content will be shared. No, I want to give you why is so profound, right? We have a brain, our brain is loaded with neurons and, and quite frankly, the thing I’m going to reference quite frankly, What I’m referencing is neural pathways the way in which we have memories. When we smell something, we think about something, right. When we see something, we think about something like, have you ever noticed that whatever car you own, if you own a car, whether it’s a Honda accord, a Jeep Wrangler, a BMI W3C series, you name it. That the moment you own that car, you start to see all of those other cars on the road. And you’re like, man, everybody’s been buying this car lately. No everybody’s already had that car, but it wasn’t a trigger for you but now that you own one, there’s a trigger that every time you see one, it registers a thought for you, right? It’s a social trigger. Mars, when the Rover landed on Mars, a lot of people know that there’s Mars bars, but Mars, the candy company.
And so when they kept hearing Mars, the people that had memories or triggers associated with that started thinking about candy or chocolate or something along those lines. And so it’s really important to understand how triggers work because in my world, the way that I’ve see triggers like in business and entrepreneurship is that you can do one of two things.
You can either make a social trigger for you, your brand, your business, or something, or you can ride on the coattails of one and I’ve done both. So if you think about, you know making one, Nike made one, “just do it”. That is, that is a social trigger for them, for sure. Vital proteins, the college and company who I love to pieces cause I’ve been a part of it. If you think about it, they also made a social trigger around collagen and normally it’s with the color blue. Right. But another one. Is when I say, Hey, do you know? And if it’s a collagen, you’re like, yup, hair, skin, and nails. That’s also another social trigger, every time somebody thinks about their hair, they think about their skin. They think about their nails. They have an association with collagen and people are going around spreading that message.
So you can make one like that, right. Or you can ride one. The example of this would be like, let’s say you’re a fitness trainer. Let’s say you’re helping coach people. You could literally have every single one of your posts being out commitment and just doing it regardless of people feel, and you could use it, you could reference Nike and you’re going to get credibility by using that word.
People are going to authentically trust you because you are basically being a messenger of Nike. They’re going to associate you with Nike, whatever that relationship looks like. And that’s when you can ride on. So for me, I’m just going to actually give you a tangible example. When I was building civilized, caveman, the food blog that I used to own, I knew that I didn’t have the chops or the credibility to really make a social trigger.
I didn’t really understand what they were at the time, but I knew that the name of the game back then was attention. And I knew that if I could get my recipes in front of more people, that they would send more people to my website, my website views would increase my visibility. It would increase. And then I would figure out how to build a business around it. And so some of you that are listening to this, remember, but there was one thing that I posted about it every day, no matter what, and it, for seven years, I did at least one post a day about this one thing. I even recorded sales videos, and ads and videos inside of costumes of this one thing.
So, if you’re listening to this, you don’t remember civilized caveman, you don’t know yet, but if you’re listening to this and you do remember, I want you to think about what that word was. What was the one thing that I posted about every single day for seven years? You ready? Three, two, one, bacon.
I posted about bacon every single day for seven years. Why did I post about bacon? Well bacon had all the ingredients of a social trigger. People were already posting about bacon all the time. There were bacon gifts, there were bacon toys, bacon fragrances. And I ran a paleo food blog, which I could eat bacon and I could talk about bacon. And I really don’t love it bacon as much as I post about it. But what started happening is that as I consistently started posting about bacon, People started recognizing me as the bacon guy and all I was giving them was some way to describe it. Like, Oh, this guy posts about bacon. Oh, Andy has paleo recipes.
And so then when I started thinking about that social trigger, what would happen? Well, somebody would go out to breakfast with two of their friends. They would be eating breakfast and then they would see bacon on the table. And then they would remember something. I posted a bacon joke, a bacon recipe, and they’d be like, Oh my God, you guys are so funny. It just reminded me. Oh, the civilized came and got told me the best bacon joke ever. Let me tell it to you. And then they’re using my name. They’re using me in that 86% of word of mouth marketing that we use every single day because every time they thought about bacon, they cooked bacon. They smelled bacon.
All they could think about was me because I consistently mentioned it over and over and over again. Basically hijacking that socially trigger that somebody else had already built. I was just jumping on to utilize, to meet people where they were and find a way to bring them in. And then once that, and I also realized that I wanted to create my own, and I was interviewed on a podcast, my buddy Brett Hill, a long time ago. And he asked me what I think is the secret to world peace. And I just very quickly said hugs and bacon. And he said, nobody owns the domain. You should get it. And so I started using that hashtag and I started telling people like, Hey, this is the secret hugs and bacon hugs and I started creating my own.
Then people started creating t-shirts because it was a funny phrase. It was easy to remember and they would tell all their friends and they would use the hashtag and everybody would be like, what’s hugs and bacon, what tugs and bacon I’m like, they’re like, Oh, it’s this civilized caveman guy. He posts recipes.
He thinks that’s the solution to world peace. Guy’s crazy. Even vegetarians and vegans, we’re laughing about it because I just made a joke of it and it was humorous. And so those are two of the examples that I utilized when I did this. But I think the undertone, this that’s really important to take away. Is that it’s about consistency and congruency. So we sit here and we talk about our businesses and our businesses are known for one to three things. And if we can’t accurately describe what our business is, then our customers can’t accurately tell other people what our businesses.
So if we have 25 different focuses a day, our customers can’t go talk about us. What are they going to talk about? They don’t know but when you’re consistent, like Nike, just do it. And every single thing you do fits under that umbrella of your brand, it fits into the bucket of, you know, discipline or mindset or intentionality, or, you know, just do it or whatever that case is.
And every road leads back to that. Every single thing you create as an asset. Every single person that shares for you as an asset, every single person that consumes your content is developing a trigger with your brand, about how to say it, how to describe it. And so these are how I see social triggers.
So to summarize this pretty quickly, The way that I see it is it doesn’t matter whether you make one, whether you ride on the coattails of one or whether you do both, it’s just important for you to understand how this works and how the human brain works. Like we do it all the time. We’ll be out walking around in public and we’ll see somebody in shoes and we immediately know what shoes they are because we own the same ones. Or we’ll be driving and pull up to a stoplight and somebody pulls up to us in the same car. We have no idea who they are, but we’ll just nod at them like this mutual form of respect cause we both drive the same car. All of these things are triggers and we are surrounded by triggers all day, every day.
And in my opinion, the mistake that a lot of marketers make or business owners make is they try to recreate the wheel. They try to go against the current. They try to make it, I want to create this thing. I want to do this thing. I want to make it my own, rather than realizing where our audience already lives, the habits that they already have and the choices that they already make, and then understanding that which is what I teach in our captains, the assessment, understanding that, so then you can jump in into their world and meet them where they are, which allows you to get in and develop a social trigger.
So that’s what I wanted to cover in today’s episode. And really what it is for me is it’s really important just to understand it. It doesn’t mean that there’s an easy way to do it, or there’s a hard wire that you need to do it, or you should do it, or you shouldn’t do it.
It’s just important to understand that it’s there and how this works, how the human brain works, how consumption works of content, how our job is to create businesses that have the ability to reach the masses and have other people do our marketing for them. We have to have a business that’s loaded with value that puts content into one of those five buckets, humor, controversy, credibility, social status, or education.
And then we want to make sure that, we’re building a brand or a business or content or a product or a solution that has the ability to be a trigger that it’s easy to talk about. It’s easy to share. People want to tell their friends, they want to invite people in and that starts with understanding the customer journey, understanding the value that we provide and helping people get there because people can only share if they’re in a positive state.
If you have a product, a service where you promise somebody something, they don’t achieve the goal. They’re not going to post it. You promise them some content. You don’t give it to them. They’re not going to post it. And so these are the things that you want to think about. So when we think about that and I actually did this post, if you’re in my Facebook group or on my personal Facebook, I posted about this the other day as an example.
And I wanted to see and I asked two questions and I said, number one, I’m going to be teaching a lesson on this or doing a podcast on this. What color shoes do I wear every single day? And 98% of people knew what color shoes I wore, which are pink. I wear pink shoes everyday. I’m also in a pink hoodie right now.
And why do I do that? Well, that’s a social trigger when people describe me, they’re like, Oh, this guy always wear pink, or this is crazy dude with tattoos. He’s always in pink shoes and this has happened to me before. I gave a keynote two years ago to an audience about a thousand and yeah. I wore my traditional outfit. At what? A hoodie, I think it said work harder. And then pink shoes. I had a Mohawk at the time and some cute glasses, blue light blockers. And then I gave this keynote. I referenced my pink shoes. I called them out. I’m like, yes, I’m that guy. I won’t put on a suit. I’m just as a former Marine with tattoos, a little bit crazy wearing pink shoes.
And then what was really funny is like a year later, I was at another event in San Diego. There were probably 5,000 people there and I didn’t remember anybody. I didn’t really know anybody. And I had at least 15 people in two days come up to me like, Oh my God, you’re the guy in the pink shoes you gave that keynote at brand builder summit with Ryan.
Oh my God. I love that keynote, those pink shoes. I couldn’t place it. Then I saw the shoes. And so, you have the opportunity to do this all over the place. And so I did that post just to see how people will respond or what people remember or what they do. I’m not saying you have to have a Mohawk, you have to have tattoos. You have to have pink shoes, but you have to be consistent and congruent in order to reap the benefits of the world that we live in and in the world that we live in people are surrounded by distraction. They’re surrounded by input. They’re surrounded by noise. And so if you don’t stand out or if you don’t have the consistency and the congruency with the same message to be there over and over and over and over again, it just gets lost in the noise and the shuffle with everybody else. But when you know who you are, you know what you stand for, you can make a trigger right on the back end of a trigger or just be consistent and congruent. What you’re really doing is you’re setting yourself up to win over and over because you stand out, you make it easy for people to talk about you, you post your content every day, and there’s always a takeaway. And that’s where the momentum starts to build. And it’s not created overnight. It’s created every single day one step one.. And eventually once you affect critical mass, you really can’t get off of it. That’s the backbone in which everything is built with.
So if you haven’t read the book contagious just yet by Jonah Berger, I highly recommend checking it out. I really don’t think you should do anything in business or marketing without reading it, even if you’re not the marketer, even if you have a COO, you have a team that does it, it’s about understanding. And it’ll give you a better lens on how to converse, how to communicate and what you can do to help build that of your business and get it spread out there with traffic. Earned media owned media paid media. But right now what we’re talking about is earned media. And if you’re wondering what I’m talking about, I cover this in our lighthouse method course, but that’s what I wanted to share today.
Those are social triggers. Those are some of them, examples of how I use them. Those are the way in which I see them, how I try it. And so what I would love to know from you, I would love to know you can send me a DM. Hit me up on Instagram tag me to post. But like, what are your favorite social triggers that you recognize in your life right now? Or what are the ones that you want to create? Like open dialogue about this? Any time I love learning. I love seeing, and I love supporting. And so just think about it where the social triggers that you’re already utilizing in your business, right? Like, Oh yeah. I actually, I do post about this all the time.
I’m constantly posting about company X and we work in alignment. I support what they do. And so you have a social trigger sometimes that if somebody is interested in what you have to offer and they see company X, they’re going to think about you, right. And then start thinking about the social triggers that you want to be including.
Where can you go? Like, where can you capitalize on attention? Where can you ride the coattails of something that’s already been created? Or the mass media is investing massive amounts of money in. And you can insert yourself consistently into that conversation so that you can meet people where they are, and then give them the depth that you have to offer.
Those are my thoughts on social triggers. I love you all. I will see you in the next episode, please make sure you tell your friends. I want more people listening to those podcasts so I can keep giving away all the secrets. Cause there are no secrets, but I’m just a horrible liar. And if you guys ask me questions, I can’t lie by omission either. And so even if I’m normally paid for it, I kind of just have to say it cause it’s the only way I can sleep at night. So that’s it. Tell all your friends, get him here. www.mindofgeorge.com. I’m sure I’m going to cover that in the outro as well. I love you all. Send us your questions. Let us know how we can support you.
All the episodes are in www.mindofgeorge.com. I will see you online. I will see you in the acts episode and have a beautiful day. And remember that relationships always beat algorithms.