Giving. It’s a celebrated act during the holidays but not so much for business communications. Or is it? A recent study by the university of Massachusetts Dartmouth discovered that the fastest growing businesses are the ones that are boldly engaging in social media.
Social media is powered by the interactions between people. So what are these successful businesses doing? They’re giving.
In his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, author Robert Cialdini uses scientific scholarship to explain what influences our decision-making. He introduces six principles of ethical persuasion (no torture here): reciprocity, scarcity, liking, authority, social proof, and commitment/consistency.
How do these tie to giving? Recipricocity, liking, authority and social proof are all big players in social media and content.
When someone offers something of perceived value the recipient automatically feels a sense gratitude and an obligation to reciprocate. It’s human nature. If you give me something useful I’ll give you something in return. That something can range from a few minutes of my attention to positive word-of-mouth to money.
Social media allows us to publicly share what we choose to return. This builds on another of Cialdini’s principles; social proof (if all my peers support this, it must be good).
Something wonderful happens when you produce high quality, helpful content. Readers will start to see you as an authority on the topic and they will like you because you helped them. See how this works?
Marketing through giving also creates some pretty cool side-effects.
Authenticity. One article, one tweet, one update: giving in social media and marketing isn’t a one-shot bullet. Nor is it snake oil. Giving repeatedly helps prospects really understand who you are and what you can do for them. In his 2009 White Paper Success Summit, Michael Stelzner used the analogy of a bank account. Every time you give you’re making a deposit. Every time you ask for something (a call-to-action) you’re making a withdrawal. Overdraw on your account and you’ll be penalized. Manage your account well and you’ll develop a credible and trusted reputation.
Integration. Giving allows you to tie traditional and online marketing methods together. Businesses are advertising the availability of helpful information in lieu of announcing features. This information is then made available through social media channels, email, or hard copy. That’s a lot of touch points for your investment.
Enthusiasm. A positive, can-do attitude. Facilitating awareness and learning. Wouldn’t you agree these are desirable qualities and actions? The best communications, either through content or conversation, radiates these elements.
If you like this article and are on Twitter please consider retweeting it. Nothing like an example!
K. Marley is a professional content writer who helps businesses communicate their value to their prospects and customers. Make contact at http://www.kmwordsmith.com.