How can you be persuasive with consumers on social media? One of the best books on persuasion is called Influence, in which author Robert Cialdini describes six elements of effective persuasion.
I share those tactics below and analyze how they can best be applied to a social media audience.
1. Reciprocation – The Oldest Trick in the Book
Reciprocation is built upon the theory that if you give something as a gift and then ask the recipient for a favor, they’ll respond in kind.
For example, Dropbox will give you 2GB of storage space for free. But the company asks you to return the favor by sharing the service with friends, then rewards you with another 250 MB of space. That’s reciprocity.
Another common social media strategy is to give away ebooks. For example, after a customer has downloaded a free ebook, encourage that person to subscribe to your blog, Facebook Fan page or Twitter account.
2. Social Proof – Don’t Be Left Behind
When it comes to making decisions, we often look to other people for clues. This is called social proof. Here are a few indicators of social proof in the social media world.
- Subscriber or follower counts – Are a lot of people following this blogger? Then you probably should follow him too.
- Reviews – If you see that a book has over 500 reviews and an average four stars, you are more likely to buy it than a book without any reviews.
- Comments – Blog posts with hundreds of comments suggest that it is a very good (or very controversial) post. You are more tempted to see what’s going on.
- Share counts – If you see an article has been tweeted 1,200 times, you are more likely to read it than an article tweeted 50 times.
Bottom line: When it comes to social media, a large audience is golden.
3. Liking – Never Met a Stranger
When Cialdini talks about “liking,” he doesn’t mean the “Like” button on Facebook. He means, do people like you? Here are a few ideas how this works on the social web.
- Be warm and personable – Whether you’re on LinkedIn or Google+, talk to people how you would interact with them at a cocktail party.
- Give people things they want – For example, if you know somebody is looking for research studies on mobile app marketing, and you come across some information, share it with that person.
- Be polite – Unfortunately, it’s very easy to let it all hang out online, but you shouldn’t do that. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
- Be funny – If you have a sense of humor, flaunt it online. People love to laugh, even in professional contexts.
4. Authority – Why You Must Listen to Me
What does authority look like in social media? Maintaining relationships with well-known brands can only help. For example, if any of your articles have been published in popular offline or online publications, display that content on your social media accounts.
If you’ve ever published a book or built a successful company, you are considered an authority. Developed an app? You are an expert.
Highlight your exceptional achievements in your social media interactions and you’ll have greater influence with your audience.
5. Scarcity – Last Chance to Be Popular
Scarcity is another way of saying you have a limited supply of something. When it comes to social media, weave scarcity into your efforts.
- Limit your interactions online – James Altucher hosts a 30-minute Q&A on Twitter every Thursday. People flood him with questions during that time because they know he’s not available otherwise.
- Time your interactions – Online attention is scarce. Therefore, identify the best times to interact with your social media communities. Master social media timing and you’ll increase your social media performance.
- Use deadlines – Force people to act quickly by limiting how long a product, opportunity or offer is available.
6. Commitment and Constancy – Don’t Go Back on Your Word
This is where it all comes together. During the entire process of connecting with your social networks using the above tactics, you should constantly ask for small commitments.
For example, ask people to share an ebook before they download it. Once they download, remind them of their commitment!
Push those commitments because most people dislike their own inconsistencies. If they commit to something, they will likely do it.
To be successful in both life and business, you must ask people for help. But first, you have to convince them to comply with your requests. Social media allows you to do that by giving you the tools to be a connecter and persuader, whether offline or online.