The Blog of Babel

This site sits on the crossroads of Languages, Linguistics, Social Media Market Engagement, Marketing Strategy, Innovation Strategy, Creativity Theory, Ancient Mythology & Egyptology. Its a very small crossroads in the middle of cyberspace - so stay for a while - pull up a chair and coffee. 

Science Of Persuasion - Social Media Strategy

Now, please imagine the power to convince your followers with a single tweet - to be in control of user's perceptions with a single status update. Why would want this ability - because social media in its nature is a persuasive technology, having a firm grip on customer's behaviors and desires. 


In his YouTube video Dr. Robert Cialdini, Professor of Persuasion in Arizona, outlines 6 universals that guide human behavior and most influence action. 

"You Scratch My Back, I'll Scratch Yours"

Reciprocity. Studies show that human beings have an innate need to "return a favor". In one study, post cards were mailed out across the US to random addresses and strangers. Around 80% actually got around to sending return post cards back to the "reply to" address. In social media, the reciprocity tendency means that engagement starts with yourself and that you need to listen more than you create buzz. Want to have followers and hype? You need to engage with individuals without agenda to build up that need for them reciprocate. Example: On LinkedIn - do you want to build up amazing endorsements for all those skills you've listed on your profile? (which is an amazing social tool to keep users dialed in to the site). Start endorsing others and the majority will come around and thank you with an endorsement back. However the gift must be either sincere, personalized or unexpected - or else you will seem to have the agenda and the jig is up. 

"You Always Want What you Can't Have"

 Scarcity. This is one is pretty universal - it can explain the law of supply and demand. The less there is of a thing, the more value that thing has - the more people want it. This one seems to against everything social media stands for - as social media is literally a "democratization of media" and access for all. Ironically, scarcity is hard to find. Environments of scarcity can be created - through online competitions, limited releases, release links that shut down after a designated time or amount of clicks and even websites that market themselves as member's only clubs like  or . 

"Follow Me, I Know What I'm Doing" 

 Authority . People respond positively to authority and tend to find such figures very persuasive - I'm sure we've all heard of Milgram's Experiment. Therefore it is important that inidividuals develop some type of online proficiency or niche expertise. Boiled down to the tweet level, it is important to embrace traditional displays of power or authority. In other words, how you say something matters. When you tweet to persuade - be bold, be confident and make big choices - give them something decisive and a lot more than you expect will fall in line.  

"If that is what I did last time, then..." 

Consistency.  This effect manifests itself by an individual's desire to stay consistent in their actions and outward behavior. If you ask someone for a penny and compliment them on "how generous they are", that person will be more likely to give you a 10$ bill the next time around. This means that every little favor matters and that you should consider using many of these 6 rules together to become highly convincing online. Start out asking as little as possible from your active users, but as you build up a rapport and expected behavior the relationship can blossom.

"Virtual CRM - Sincerity is Key"

Linking . If you are easy to like as a person, than odds are you are more likely to be persuasive. It goes without saying that the same is true online because whet boils right down it is never accounts that interact but individual people - no matter how large the entity. When handling others the universal rule applies - you have to cooperate with others and pay them compliments - treat them how you would like to be treated. It's amazing how simple this rule is, but that makes it all the more forgettable. 

"If They're Doing it, I Should Do it" 

Consensus . This is the oldest social phenomena in the book - the snow-ball effect. However I think it is important to distinguish this from viral phenomena. Most people share viral posts/videos/photos for the novelty of the engagement piece but also to be first to make the kill. People enjoy being the first in their social circle to share a viral post, the same way people enjoy having higher Klout scores (the two are connected FYI). Regardless, this consensus tendency has been somewhat deadened online, as online is demonstration of a use's unique identity. The use of consensus to build persuasive content must be used in very specific ways so as not to step on anyone's virtual toes.

+ Magical Words of Persuasion

  • Because
  • Now
  • Please
  • Thank You
  • Imagine...
  • "A Person's Name"
  • Control Words - In Charge, In Control, Its Up to You.