3-Minute WOM Lesson: The three fundamental emotions behind all WOM conversations

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When you begin to understand the fundamentals of why we share, you’ll quickly get better at creating things your talkers actually want to share. At the heart of all word of mouth conversations lie one or more of these powerful emotions:

1. We want to look smart
2. We want to help others
3. We want to feel important

1. We want to look smart

It’s fun to be the friend who’s an expert on a subject, and we love going to them for advice. Your job is to help these people look even smarter. These talkers are motivated by the beta tests, the inside information, the sneak peeks, and the geeky details. The more they know, the more they’ll talk.

2. We want to help others

The sense of helping others is a powerful emotion, and it’s a key motivator of word of mouth. These are the folks who get frustrated when they see someone buy the wrong brand or get stuck with an inferior product. They’re the ones who approach other customers in stores and give unprompted sales pitches for products they love. Help these passionate talkers help others by giving them samples to share, handouts to distribute, and messages to forward.

3. We want to feel important

It feels good to be asked for advice. It’s fun to share our opinions, and it makes us feel important when people listen. And when lots of people start asking your biggest fans for advice, good things happen. You can help them stand out by recognizing them with awards, badges, and certifications. The more you recognize your smartest talkers, the more people will ask them for advice.

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