Is It Contagious?: The 6 STEPPS to Social Selling

Coincidental to the timing of this post, I just wrapped up a two-day stint of running a triple digit fever (which also raises the un-related question: do Millennials own thermometers?). One of the bright sides to my elevated body temp is it gave me the opportunity to wrap up Jonah Berger’s critically acclaimed book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On.

Berger sets the bar high as he takes on the role of curator. He utilizes the proven experiences of landmark companies and thought leaders to extract the 6 commonalities to contagiousness (hereto forward known as the STEPPS). The bottom line—social sells.

As the cliché goes, a simple synopsis fails to do this work justice. Instead, view this application of the #GetCovered campaign as a sales pitch for you to check out the book yourself.

(S)ocial Currency: How does it make advocates look?

The sexy first step, pun intended, is a bit of a gimme in the case of the POTUS. Having healthcare coverage inherently comes with its own social status. Yet with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (AFA), it was vital to exceed all expectations and build momentum to carry through multiple years. The campaign focused on the fact that signees did not just bump up a level, they went from 0 to 100. The currency that comes from never having coverage to being fully covered is invaluable.

(T)riggers: What reminds people of the product?

In Contagious, Berger emphasizes that the most impactful triggers are not obvious associations. Hospitals, clinics, classic advertisement mediums; focusing here would not have got the job done. So President Obama took a familiar risk, he leveraged his knack for humor and reached out to Zach Galifianakis. Hate it or love it (more to be discussed on that), the President’s episode of ‘Between Two Ferns’ created triggers that had yet to be involved with the idea of healthcare.

(E)motion: When we care, we share.

Pride, security, happiness, relief—the positive sentiment resulting in not having to shoulder the entire burden of a medical bill is one that deserves to be shared. Again, the White House could not rest on their laurels…and luckily for them, Berger had found that at times, negative sentiment goes further than the warm and fuzzies. After being interviewed by Mr. Galifianakis, or following the more recent BuzzFeed video, many naysayers were upset that the President was acting un-presidential. Regardless, they were still sharing their emotions, and you know what else they were talking about? The Affordable Care Act.

(P)ublic: Can people see when others are using the product or service?

It took a few strides, but this is where we get to the actual #GetCovered hashtag. Social Media has created more ways for businesses and organizations that offer a service, to be creative in how they encourage users to share their experience. Aside from physically seeing a happy face signing-up or entering a clinic, media is the best way for satisfied customers to publically show a service being used.

(P)ractical Value: Usefulness, duh.

Yes, even with a necessity such as Healthcare, it is still important to emphasize the value ofthe product or service. Berger reminds readers to not overlook this fundamentally obvious step. Notice that in any AFA communication, there is no uncertain language. It’s always a need, not a “nice to have.” This especially applies to the aforementioned Millennial demographic, #GetCovered wants us to remember that we aren’t too young to fail.

(S)tories: What broader narrative does the idea encompass?

Continuity comes in the timelessness of a story. After running a less than successful attempt to use the fabricated stories comic characters based off various archetypes of American citizens, the White House decided to use actual American Citizens. This premise of social selling and storytelling is the foundation of StoryBox as well. The#GetCovered2015 page has put together a nice little storyboard (though we would recommend more videos) with real anecdotes and a nice call to action with encouraging readers to pass it on.

The final step, storytelling, is vital to growing business…Berger has nailed this universal formula and we can close the loop in helping to collect and leverage these stories! So don’t wait, Request a Demo.


Topics: UGC, Best Practices, How To, Obama, Social Media, Marketing, Jonah Berger, Social Selling, #GetCovered