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The Psychology of More in Content Marketing and Social Media [UML]

The Psychology of More in Content and Social Media

There’s a new gimmick in the effort to gain Twitter followers that goes like this: perform searches for keywords and hashtags on topics of interest and then go about “liking” as many of these posts as possible in the hopes that some people will follow you back.

In fact, you don’t have to do it at all as there are some emerging tools that will automate part of this process for you.  There are people that swear this is a sound way to grow a Twitter audience and gain online influence.

Followers and fans do not equate to influence folks. More is easy to tabulate, which is largely the appeal, but it should not be confused with the capacity to inspire action.

To me, this liking phenomenon is a gimmick and gimmicks on Twitter are about as old as Twitter itself (Google faces a similar challenge in SEO).  The classic ploy is to follow a bunch of people knowing most will follow you back – and then secretly unfollow them a few days later.

With a little effort, you’ll be able to grow a sizable following on Twitter and the ratio of people who follow you outsizes those you follow.   This only serves to feed egos, presents the illusion of influence and advances the covet of a following. Again, there are tools that will automate some aspects of this game, which enable anyone to completely remove the “social” from social media.

If we continue along this path, we might soon remove all aspects of humanity from social media.  We will have a Twittersphere of bots talking to bots and thanking each other for being top engaged members of the community this week.

The Psychology of More in Content Marketing and Social Media-600x

More, More and Still More

At first glance, such words might sound technophobic, but they are not.  I believe technology gives us leverage, but like Peter Thiel says in his book Zero to One, it works best when it complements or augments humanity rather than replaces it.

The gaming to gain more Twitter followers by liking a bunch of posts is just one symptom of a vastly larger problem. And that gets to the core of the point here – this is about the psychology of more in marketing: more content, more followers, and more leads.

As a result, marketing finds itself on the hamster wheel of more, without ever slowing to consider or stopping to analyze the impact.

  • Relevance. Sure we can produce more content, but is it resonating?  Perhaps time-on-page is a better digital analytical measure than the volume of sessions or visitors.
  • Engagement. Sure we might cultivate more followers, but is that the same thing as influence?  Perhaps engagement is better metric than volume.
  • Sales interest. Sure we can get more leads but of what quality? Perhaps there’s a better way to nurture or otherwise engage the chap who registered to downloaded a white paper than to pound him with three or more sales touches within 24 hours.

And maybe there isn’t.  Maybe that person just wanted the content and there’s no chance he or she will ever make a purchase.

Why then, does marketing need more white papers, landing pages and registrations?   Like gaming follower counts on Twitter, it’s a bit of a gimmick, isn’t it?  The right answers will vary by organization, but the questions are worth examining.

That’s why the psychology of more is the theme for this week’s Unscripted Marketing links (UML).  As always here are three thought-provoking articles or blog posts we’ll worth carving out some time to read carefully.

1) 60% of People Share Links without Reading

Are people sharing links on social media they haven’t read? Of course, and while we’ve suspected this for a long time, research proves it according to Washington Post reporter Caitlin Dewey. She cites Arnaud Legout, who co-authored the research in her piece about the study:

“People are more willing to share an article than read it. This is typical of modern information consumption. People form an opinion based on a summary, or a summary of summaries, without making the effort to go deeper.”

Also see: Social Sharing Study:  Likes, Beget More Likes

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2) Why We Should Focus on Attention Not Clicks

If people are sharing links blindly on social media, as the study above suggests, then Ash Read of Buffer argues traffic is a weak marketing metric.

“Even if someone clicks on your article, the likelihood of them taking it all in is very slim. The internet has changed many of our habits. But one thing that hasn’t changed in nearly 20 years is the way we consume content online. Most of us still skim and rarely read a full post.

Many publishers have now started to focus on “attention metrics” alongside more traditional measurements like pageviews.”

Also see: The Shocking Beef about Feeding the Content Monster 

3) Why I’m Killing the Marketing Qualified Lead

There’s an evolution of the freemium model that’s gaining traction and deserves thoughtful consideration for marketers promoting Software as a Service (SaaS).  It’s called the PQL, or product qualified lead, and strives to qualify prospects based on their usage of a free product as a candidate for paid aspects.

There are adaptations of this in a number of business models – the five free articles per month on Harvard Business Review, or the limitation PayPal places on users until they verify certain types of information. Tom Wentworth sums it up:

“The MQL + marketing automation playbook simply can’t produce the kind of high velocity leads and conversion rates we’ll get from creating happy, engaged users. If users need additional help or have questions, they can still “raise their hand” to talk to our inside sales team.”

Also see: Marketing: Investment, Cost or Profit Center?  

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Is your PR firm bringing ideas to the table? If they aren’t, contact us today to learn how the Atlanta-based PR agency, Sword and the Script Media, LLC can bring big thinking along with seven possible services including PR and content marketing that deliver results.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
Is Content Marketing Better than Advertising?

Photo credit: Flickr, Daniel Sjöström, ENDLESS (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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