Word of mouth and the top 3 reasons why we share

Last week I wrote about the fact that only 7% of word of mouth happens online. The rest actually takes place offline in actual person-to-person conversations. It was a pretty remarkable statistic, but one worth keeping in focus as we continue to focus so much effort on social media. We do however need to recognize that both online and traditional media are often the vehicles where content is read or broadcast initially that may prompt oral sharing.

At the heart of all this learning is getting at the reasons WHY people talk and share. Could it be that psychology is more important than technology?

Social currency is a huge factor. People share to make themselves look smarter, funnier, in the know, and generally more likeable. You need to keep that fact in mind. It’s all about THEM. It’s not about YOU. What gives people social currency?

1. Sharing interesting facts, controversial claims, just released information. This all makes a person appear smart and informed. Everyone wants to know that person and be in that inner circle of sharing. Here’s some examples:

A sure fire way to measure word of mouth:

New York Times revenue from circulation exceeded revenue from advertising for the first time ever

2. Sharing things that make others laugh. Humour is a unifying platform, and just about everyone can use a laugh to break up their day. How else can we explain the explosion of cat videos, funny clips on Youtube or fun photos shared on Instagram? Or the popularity of 6 second Vine videos, a platform only just a year old.

How to be a Vancouverite:  If you’re from here or have visited, you’ll laugh. If you’re planning a trip, this is required viewing!

3. Sharing stuff that makes them appear in the know and part of an inner circle, privy to information that others are not. We all love secrets, especially when they get shared apparently with us at the exclusion of others. We become a member of the inner circle too.

Just in time for Movember: the “Beermo bottle mustache.” Attach it to the top of your beer and instantly everyone will be sporting a mustache at your next party. Available in 6-packs and 6 colours.

Duct tape paraplegic surfer Pascale Honore from Australia featured in UK short film just released. For those of you who may have first heard about this story first on my blog or newsletter, this is a great extension of an already remarkable story. For anyone else – you really have to see it to believe it.

I’m willing to bet there was something in this list that you linked to or will go back to over the next week. Why? Because I gave you social currency. So spread the word, and while you’re at it, tell your friends and colleagues to follow this great marketing blog or sign up for my weekly enews on so they can be in the know too!






Mary Charleson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Featured on


Subscribe to Mary’s Weekly
Five-Minute Marketing Tips.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.