How the principles of social influence can improve your marketing strategy
According to researcher and author Dr. Robert Cialdini, there are six proven methods of persuasion that can be used to influence others: Reciprocity, scarcity, consistency, authority, likability, and social proof. When it comes to marketing, these techniques are crucial for understanding your target audience and creating effective campaigns.
Here are a few ways to incorporate these six principles of social influence into your own online marketing strategy:
This involves the classic “give before you get” approach. In other words, you have to offer something to potential customers before they’re willing to buy from you, whether that’s a free report, free initial consultation, or anything else of value that will create a sense of indebtedness, which psychologically motivates people to want to “give back” by buying something from you.
Here are 10 great examples of the reciprocity principle in marketing campaigns.
This is one of the most well-known marketing tactics: Creating a sense of limited supply or a limited amount of time to make a purchase. This generates a feeling of urgency for consumers, who might otherwise scroll past your social media ads and forget about your offer. However, it’s important to avoid creating a false sense of urgency – such as “limited time offers” that don’t actually expire – in order to maintain your credibility as a brand.
Here are some awesome examples of scarcity copywriting from other brands’ marketing strategies.
Have you ever seen ads on social media that were completely different from the website they directed you to? A lack of consistency between a brand’s messaging, image, values, and even products/services is frustrating for consumers. To smooth out the process of converting website visitors into paying customers, make sure your social ads are relatively similar to your website and your call-to-action remains consistent in all of your marketing collateral.
Here are 15 examples of consistent brand marketing to get some inspiration from.
Trust and credibility are some of the most important things consumers look for when deciding which brand to purchase products or services from. If you don’t project an air of legitimacy and expertise (and provide warrants for your claims to authority), then you might not get the sales figures you’re hoping for because consumers are turned off by marketing messages that don’t offer a compelling reason to buy from this brand in particular over the competition.
Here are a few examples of authoritative brands and entrepreneurs to help you develop your own brand’s authority in marketing messages.
Traditional advertising is losing its effectiveness among consumers, especially those in younger demographics. Instead, consumers want to feel engaged with a brand, whether that involves personalized responses to social media messages or sending thank-you letters or emails with a promo code for future purchases after someone completes their first purchase. What this all means is that your brand needs to have the likability factor; you can’t just sell to customers. You have to develop ongoing relationships with them.
Here are some fantastic examples of brands that took their likability to the next level with social media users.
Social Proof (Consensus)
Last but not least, we have social proof. This social influence strategy entails popular opinions, such as Yelp reviews, customer testimonials, ratings on Facebook business pages, and so much more. Potential customers are more likely to buy from you if you offer some kind of social proof that demonstrates your brand’s history of customer satisfaction. While this may seem intuitive, it’s certainly surprising how many businesses have yet to claim their Yelp pages or regularly ask customers to leave reviews on their websites or online marketplaces.
Here are 8 examples of brands that highlighted social proof in their own online marketing campaigns.
Should you host a contest on your brand’s social channels?
It seems like everyone is hosting contests on social media these days, but some of them are surprisingly ineffective. You’d think users would pounce on any opportunity to get free stuff or recognition, but sometimes, contests fizzle out shortly after their initial announcement.
Since running contests takes a lot of time, effort, resources and attention to social media platforms’ policies (such as Instagram’s extensive promotion policies), you want to avoid creating a dud as much as possible. With a valuable prize, carefully-crafted campaign and consistent promotion however, you could create a lot of buzz around your brand.
One of the biggest advantages to running a contest on your social channels is generating lots of buzz and hype around your brand, a new product, or even a new partnership. If you have a boring or worthless prize, then social users aren’t likely to engage with your contest. However, a truly valuable prize (worth at least $20 with free shipping to the winner) could drive traffic to your accounts and website.
To create a buzz-worthy contest, you should:
- Give users enough time to enter but not too much time (otherwise they’ll forget they entered at all)
- Offer a valuable prize to one or multiple entrants (e.g., gift card, free product/service, cool gadget, 3-month membership, etc.)
- Require more than a simple click to enter
In regards to the last one, you’ll want to use contests as opportunities to create leads or bring in new followers. For instance, you might ask for a person’s name and email on a separate landing page to qualify for entry, or ask users to comment on your post and tag their friends (one entry per friend tagged in the post). Offer different levels, such as one entry for liking or commenting on your post, five entries for sharing the post on their own page, and ten entries for referring others to like your page. As mentioned previously, be sure that your entry requirements fulfill the guidelines set by the social platform to avoid negative consequences.
It’s not enough to simply generate buzz around your brand; you also want some tangible benefits from your contest, such as racking up more followers. However, you don’t want bots or low-activity accounts artificially boosting your follower counts, so be sure to include a requirement about commenting, liking or sharing your post(s) to ensure your pages are attracting legitimate followers who could later convert into paying customers.
The best contests go above and beyond simply asking users to “like” their contest post. Sure, it’s easier to track entries when you use this method, but you’re unlikely to see long-term benefits from a contest based on entry likes. Instead, you should focus on user engagement above all else, which could include: counting entries based on whoever uses your branded hashtag for the campaign, hosting photo contests and letting your followers vote for the winning entries (PetSmart does annual Halloween pet costume contests this way and they’re popular on social media), and asking users to submit photos of them using your product or service for the chance to be featured on your page.
Recognizing and engaging with your followers is one of the most successful strategies for social media marketing, so don’t miss out on a potential opportunity to truly engage your audience with your next contest.
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