Just about all of us are doing it—whether we'd like to admit it or not. Some may only do it monthly. Some do it daily. Heck, some even enjoy it so much that they do it multiple times an hour. Just what is it that I’m talking about that everyone is doing?...It's checking social media! (What else did you think that I was talking about?)
Social media has become such a mainstay of how we communicate as a society—these days, if your brand doesn’t have a sound social media strategy—you’re at an enormous disadvantage to your competitors that do.
In fact, senior executives are realizing that social media marketing is such a determinant in the success or failure of a brand that according to Linkedin, Social Media Marketing Specialist is now the most in-demand marketing job by employers in North America.
So, since everyone from your competitors to potential customers is on social media—either talking positively about your competitors' brand or even worse—talking negatively about yours. It’s pretty much a no-brainer for you to use social media marketing to either help save or scale your startup…right? Great! I’m glad you agree. So, let's get to it.
Narrative influences perception—so control it!
Have you ever visited the website of a restaurant that you wanted to try for the first time and the pictures of the food on the website looked extremely appetizing? You then decided to do one last bit of research on the restaurant before making your dining reservations—so you go on Yelp to check out the reviews—only to see that others said the food or service were "terrible!" And gave it bad reviews?
At that moment—the initial perception of the restaurant that your mind formulated probably became totally altered—which created cognitive dissonance—resulting in you considering other options for a meal. That’s the influence that social media has over our purchasing decisions.
A solid social media marketing strategy is the optimum approach to combating the cognitive dissonance between your brand’s messaging—and the messaging about your brand that consumers may come across from others that may not be so…let’s say—favorable towards your brand.
By your brand having a focused presence on social media—you could control your brand’s own narrative (which influences purchasing decisions) by encouraging and providing a platform for what’s known in persuasion science as “the convert communicator.”
“The convert communicator is the individual who is representative to those hesitant folks as being one of them—not just demographically or regionally, but someone who believed what they believed, and then had a new piece of information that allowed them to change.” Says best-selling author and psychologist Dr. Robert Cialdini, in an interview with Thought Economics.
Example of a convert communicator
Before delving any deeper into the concept of convert communicators and how they can help save your startup—I’d be remiss if I didn’t provide an example of one.
Let’s say that despite the negative reviews that you saw online about the restaurant that you wanted to try for the first time—you went there to dine anyway and had a great experience because the restaurant’s atmosphere, food, and service were great.
If you were to tell others something along the lines of, “Even though I initially heard bad things about this restaurant and perceived it to be a bad place—once I experienced it for myself—I realized that none of it was true—this place is amazing!” You would then be considered be a convert communicator.
Why convert communicators are so effective
Here’s the thing, people are influenced by others with similar interests as themselves. Therefore, consumers are influenced by other consumers. And from a psychological perspective—humans tend to follow others that share the same beliefs that they share.
So, if someone says that they were once hesitant—or held a negative preconception about your brand before experiencing it themselves but no longer feel that way afterwards—others that may also be hesitant towards your brand are much more likely to view your brand through a more favorable lens.
As Dr. Cialdini said, “We want to be influenced because we want to be right. We want to take the more adaptive strategies in any situations in order to have good outcomes.”
Here’s a harsh reality as it pertains to business—people are far more likely to leave a negative review after a bad experience with a brand than they are to leave a positive review after a good experience with a brand. And according to Reputation Builder, one negative review online can cost a business up to 30 new customers—when not countered by positive reviews.
Which is why it’s so important for your brand’s convert communicators to be heard by others.
How social media marketing saves brands
Through effective social media marketing—you could provide platforms for—and also encourage your startup’s convert communicators to avow any misconceptions that they may have had about your brand prior to experiencing it for themselves. While also telling others just how great that your brand truly is.
For example, let's say that you owned an electronics company that sold headphones and 60% of your company’s sales came by way of Amazon. You’ve had consistent growth in sales for months until one day—your CRO tells you that sales are starting to dip due to an influx of negative reviews posted by customers on Amazon about your headphones.
This continues for months until finally—your CRO tells you that if something doesn’t change—the business may have to file for bankruptcy soon.
With a great social media marketing strategy—you could reach your audience at various touchpoints and turn them into convert communicators by assuring them that your products are high-quality and address any concerns that they may have where they are—which is on social media.
You could also personally reach out to those that left negative reviews about your brand and remedy their complaints.
This would turn many of those that once complained about your brand into convert communicators. Which would not only eradicate their negative influence on sales—it would have the opposite effect by influencing others to purchase what your brand offers—which could change the trajectory of your business.
One of the keys to using social media marketing to not only save—but also scale your startup—is that authenticity has to be at the forefront of everything that your brand says and does.
To utilize social media marketing to influence consumer purchasing decisions as well as favorable brand perception—your brand’s messaging online must be congruent with what it actually stands for. If not, it’ll be disregarded by those that you seek to serve. As best-selling author Brittany Hennessey states in her book Influencer, “Authenticity is your only ammunition.”
We specialize in providing sound social media marketing strategies specifically for startups. Please feel free to contact us for a free consultation to become a Decryption client and together—we’ll help your startup advance.