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Viral in Content Marketing | In search of a recipe for popular Content

Have you ever wondered why some things are spreading like viruses on the Internet while others are landfilling? Or maybe you’ve ever tried to create something viral, but you didn’t have a strong foundation and knowledge in this topic?

The six points mentioned by the author can be written as an acronym as STEPPS. From the first letters of English words:

  • Social currency – we share what makes us better perceived.
  • Triggers – we share what we feel.
  • Emotion – we share only what we care about.
  • Public – we observe what is happening around us.
  • Practical value – we share what constitutes value for others.
  • Stories – we share stories, not information.

In this article, I will address the issue of social currency and its impact on viral spread of information.

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Table of Contents:

  • What is social currency?
  • Secrets
  • How to use it in marketing activities?
  • Game mechanisms
  • Summary

What is social currency?

The first concept of social currency is derived from Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of social capital and is about increasing the sense of community, access to information and knowledge, helping shape your own identity, and ensuring status and recognition.

In its analysis of the social currency, the consulting company Vivaldi Partners defined social currency as the degree to which people share the brand or information about it as part of everyday social life at work or at home.

Nowadays, building social currency is a very important form of investment that companies should not forget about. Initiated clients (so-called insiders) feel part of the brand, support it, create it, which is why they more often talk about it both online and offline.

It is about creating a sense of community and a strong bond between customers and brand users.

Having such a social currency allows for closer contact with clients, interaction and access to knowledge that clients share. Strong attachment to the brand is also the main driver of actively promoting (or defending) the brand among other people.

Research shows that people feel the need to learn about socially important topics.

Example: In a group of five men, four are talking about football and the previous World Cup final. Unfortunately, one of them, the fifth, is completely not interested in football. What do you think, won’t he feel isolated? The only recipe to change this is to gain knowledge on this topic.


I am convinced that you once heard a secret whose ending was “just please don’t tell anyone ok?” What did you do next you told about everything to someone else.

Relax, no one is judging you. This is completely normal and consistent with our nature. If something is referred to as ‘secret’ it automatically has a better chance that people will talk about it.

People provide information that makes them grow in the eyes of other people. In addition, a person who knows such a secret automatically becomes an insider, which changes his social status. A simple example:

Asia knows the secret of Basia. Basia knows that Asia knows this secret and dreams about finding out what secret it is. Asia is the one who is initiated. What do you think, if Asia would tell Basia that he would tell her everything in exchange for a can of tea and jelly beans, what would Basia do?

Exactly. People will do a lot to join a group of initiates. We don’t like to be excluded, uninformed. However, we love the information and the ability to provide it.

How to use it in marketing activities?

Tell your clients a secret. Let them feel that they are initiated and special. Let them be an active part of your brand.

OnePlus One can be purchased only in two ways: after receiving an invitation from another smartphone holder or by participating in events organized by the company.

It’s hard to find a better example!

Game mechanisms

Think about your favorite game. It can be a computer, board or sports game. You like to play it because it is governed by mechanisms that make everything go as it should. Otherwise, instead of playing, you would have to focus on overcoming chaos.

Can you imagine football in which the coach of team X according to his own vision introduces three goalkeepers and the referee does nothing about it? Lack of clear rules (i.e. functional mechanisms) would prevent the game.

Whenever I think of good gamification mechanisms, I am reminded of Vitay points at Orlen stations. I was very young when my dad received a card to collect points along with a leaflet which you can get for X points.

I noticed that 10,000 points can be exchanged for a Zippo lighter. This lighter was my dream! My childhood friend’s brother was a European champion in Zippo tricks, which inspired me to repeat his feat. I only missed the brand lighter.

I begged my dad to let me know as soon as he accumulates 10,000 points. We both got involved in this game, and my dad only refueled there for a few months.

The story went on forever, and Orlen gained a very loyal customer (with an even loyal child).
Elements of gamification allow customers to be very close to the company. In this case, the difference of 2-3 cents per liter in favor of the competition did not affect my dad’s decision because he knew that refueling with Orlen would approach the magic pot of 10,000 points!


Make your client feel special and he will tell everyone.

Ask yourself: what excites my clients? What will make them feel special?

The customer who is part of the brand is the best customer. See how loyal fans Apple has. They are ready for anything, they are fighting for the brand themselves, regularly joining the discussion about which phones are the best. Apple users are simply part of this company.

Note that it is really difficult to find their product’s advertisement on the Internet or on TV.
They don’t need it 🙂