The term “Social API” doesn’t carry the same meaning as the technical term “API”, but it is close. “API” is a technical acronym for “Application Program Interface”, a base code that is included in software that allows software components to communicate with each other. For example, we’re all familiar with the myriad Twitter apps that run using data that comes from Twitter. That data is communicated from Twitter using the Twitter API. The API allows app developers to use Twitter data in new and sometimes surprising and innovative ways.
The Social API is somewhat similar – it can allow us to use our existing data to drive sales in surprising and innovative ways. When we use the Social API to speak to the human “base code”, it will catalyse reaction to spark human intuition and make conversion rates soar in social marketing copy. The Social API as I have coined it stands for a new acronym: “Authority, Persuasion and Influence.”
The critical point is that greater Authority can be obtained through Persuasion and Influence. As simply vendors and marketers, we do not have the direct authority to make others buy, click, sign up, or inquire about our services and products. But we do have the ability with our marketing and branding to influence and persuade the prospect by following good use of social API techniques. Here are 5 way to use it when creating content for your audience.
1) Producing content that increases trust can change consumer perception of your company or product. Position your content with trust and credibility in mind. The more trustworthy the brand, the stronger the influence. Remember that it is your content that is the fuel for influence. Self-promoting content is often NOT truly helpful, interesting or inspiring and as such should be limited and used in smaller measure when compared to your overall page or site content.
2) Social proof is persuasive. Social proof is defined as “looking at what others do or think to help guide our decisions” and it can be either explicit, implicit, or both. Keep in mind one important thing here; no man wants to admit that his or her actions are being influenced by others. We all want to feel like we are 100% unique and original in our thought. But often that is not the case.
When I want to see a movie, the first place I go out of habit is Yahoo Movies. I will read what others have rated the movie, and if the rating and reviews are favorable enough, then I will go and see the move. If the ratings suck, I will skip it and keep looking. That is influence and persuasion from social proof. How can you curate the opinions of others via reviews, comments and likes and use that to influence marketing? Facebook does this with their sponsored advertising, leveraging the likes of others to influence with social proof.
3) Clearly write down your policies and post them. Your customer service commitments should be written and easily accessible for your clients or customers. Written statements are given more credence than any oral ones – both by author and reader. There is a higher tendency to trust your guarantees when you write them down. People intuitively understand that public commitments are more often kept than private ones. Increase trust by clearly articulating your policies for added persuasion and influence.
4) Compete on performance and not pricing. In retail you do not often hear the advice “raise the price”, but you might want to try it. Research shows that raising the price on many items can actually increases their sales. For many consumers, “if it costs more, it must be worth more.”
In a Forbes magazine interview with the author of the book “Influence”, Robert Cialdini said “in markets which people are not completely sure of how to assess quality, they use price as a stand-in for quality.” Why? Because buyers are looking for high quality and associate it with price. People will probably not pay you $30 for toilet paper because they can easily compare its market price elsewhere to establish value. However, some items that are not readily available become more complex to evaluate in comparison so we often defer to price and associate it with quality.
Can you actually raise your prices and sell more? Your customers are looking for solutions to their problems. If your product is the one that delivers the best solution, then they will be willing to pay a higher price for it. This is what is called “competing on performance”. Is the iPad really 2.5 times better than its competitors product? Probably not, but the consumer sure does think so.
5) Lastly we have a time-tested and mother-approved method…Scarcity or perceived scarcity. You can use scarcity with quantity of items available, or time that the discount or sale will commence. Scarcity is used in marketing to motivate consumers to buy when you tell them there is a limited supply or shortage of something. You can also imply scarcity if there is a limited time to act with messaging like “Act Now!” The goal is to create a sense of urgency with an aggressive call to action to make people afraid that they will miss out.
There are dozens of individual marketing techniques outlined in the Social API discovery and on June 26th at 10:15 am at the ConversionConference in Chicago JohnLawson of ColderICE will show you the social marketing techniques and best practices for use with social media.
About the Author
John Lawson is the CEO of ColderICEMedia and President of 3rdPowerOutlet a Top-Rated Amazon Merchant, Platinum eBay Powerseller, Social Media Personality and ecommerce analyst for Wall Street. ColderICE Media specializes in ecommerce, social rich-media marketing and MoSoCal (mobile, social, local) commerce. John is a dynamic and entertaining speaker whose presentations are packed with usable, actionable information.
See John Live!
John will be sharing more techniques for social persuasion at Conversion Conference 2012 on June 25th and 26th in Chicago. Join him in his session on “Social Persuasion: Selling More Through Influence & Authority.” See the full agenda and read more about this session. You can also follow John on Twitter for some pre-conference networking.
Save $100 when you register with John’s discount code CH12313. Take advantage of regular prices before they go up on June 22 – Register now!