How to be more persuasive on social media
By: Ryan Burgio
February 20, 2014 | Reading Time: 3 mins
There’s a lot of talk in social media these days about analytics, marketing automation, and content distribution. Many companies are seeking the holy grail of pushing out massive amounts of content in front of their audience.
That’s great stuff, but the science of social is being outweighed by the lost art of persuasion. It’s a good exercise to take a look at some of the leaders in the influence industry. One of our favourites is Robert Cialdini, the creator of the 6 Principles of Persuasion. Every project at Stryve Group incorporates these principles into our decision-making. Here’s a look at 3 principles that you should consider for your next campaign in order to be more persuasive on social media.
Principle #1: Reciprocity
Humans tend to feel obliged when they are given something of value for free. This is why Costco lines up the food samples. People are not just more inclined to buy when they’ve sampled, but also feel a small amount of obligation. What does this mean for social media? We’re much more likely to retweet when someone has retweeted our content. We’ll be much more likely to follow when others follow us. We’ll be much more likely to talk about a brand, when they reach out to say something nice about us. Think about how you could give something to your social followers and they will give back in return.
Principle #2: Social Proof
It’s called social media for a reason. Humans are social beings by nature and tend to take cues from others. Pushing the “system gamers” aside, if your brand has a high number of followers and Likes on social, that can have a positive impact on a consumer’s perception of your brand. A dead account, with sparse activity and a few followers, can be destructive. This applies to not just B2C brands but also B2B brands as well. I continually see the B2B side littered with social media profiles that are sparse and underutilized. It’s unprofessional and it may be hurting your brand.
Finding great content to share on your company’s social media profiles is relatively easy to do. Let’s say you work in the technology or marketing industry: you should set up a Google Alert for relevant terms such as “technology” or “marketing”. Google Alerts will send you a digest of the best, most popular and relevant articles as it relates to those terms to your inbox on a weekly or daily basis. Scroll through the digest, choose the articles that people in your social media networks would find the most entertaining or informative and schedule them to be posted to your social media account using software like Hootsuite. This should take no more than 30 minutes of your time each week.
Principle #3: Authority
Perception is sometimes stronger than reality. Take two experts in a field like car repair. Expert #1 has 10 years of experience, does great work, has satisfied customers and is generally respected by the people around him. Expert #2 has all the qualities of Expert #1, but also blogs about his work, responds to questions online and has a series of YouTube videos explaining car repair. Who are you likely to perceive as the authority?
When you’re developing future plans for your company’s social media usage don’t forget the art of persuasion principles. Stay tuned for part 2 of this blog post which will cover the next 3 principles of the art persuasion that you should be applying to your social media strategy. In the meantime, go read some of Cialdini’s book! (amazon.ca at your service)
Only somethimes though… try “please” first!