Susan Weinschenck, Ph.D., wrote an interesting piece on influence, and how a common theme that researchers encounter is that we think that OTHERS are influenced by certain things, but that WE are not. We are wrong.
Regardless of what we think, we are very much influenced by the thoughts, actions, opinions and purchases of others. That’s why online reviews are so important. Face it, we’re a bunch of sheep. When we see what others think, what their experiences have been, what their thoughts on quality, price, functionality are, all of that factors into our ultimate buying decisions.
The same is true when it comes to Facebook, and that’s one of the reasons Facebook is growing in popularity – and in power. When we see that our friends “Like” a product, service, event or even a person, we are more inclined to explore and, in most cases, “Like” them or it, too. Familiarity, recommendations, either explicit or implied, lead to a comfort level that consumers seek.
Here’s an example. Susan (whom I would really like to
stalk follow on Twitter and anywhere else she hangs, but she did not give me that opportunity by putting connectivity buttons on her blog, grrrr) roped me in with a simple blog post. I discovered Susan’s nifty post when her content was retweeted by Beth Harte, someone in the industry that I respect and admire. I not only enjoyed the blog post, which was implicitly “recommended” by Beth, I also retweeted it which, for the non-Twitterai, means sharing it with my pals on Twitter. Then, I posted it on my Facebook wall because I can’t resist sharing great stuff with MY friends, and now I’m off to Amazon to buy Susan’s book, Neuro Web Design: What Makes Them Click. All of this because my friend, Beth, recommended it. And without ever really realizing that she was doing so.
Let’s recap: She liked, I saw, I paid more attention because she liked, based on her “rec” I shared, which means I endorsed, I went back and bought something and then I told you about it. Get it?
Influence drives sales. Need I say more?
Two important things: This is a perfect example of the power of social media and how opting NOT to use it as an integrated part of your overall marketing efforts is, well, stupid.
Secondly, it illustrates the importance of listening in the social media space using monitoring tools. If you’re a brand, you should care what the sheep are saying about your product or service, and the only way to find that out is to monitor and gather business intelligence. Here at V3, we use Spiral16 (client) and that helps us stay on top of what’s being said that could potentially influence and impact our clients.
What are you doing to influence the people you want to buy your stuff? And how do you know whether or not it’s working?