Herd Mentality and The Best Results Thus Far

My most recent Facebook marketing strategy has been successful in getting the most likes for the page and views for the movie thus far. To help illustrate this strategy I’m going to reference this episode from the Freakonomics podcast. The episode talks about ‘the herd mentality’. In one of the earlier segments, they speak with Robert Cialdini, author of Influence. In one of his studies on social norms, he wanted to see what would influence people to reduce home-energy consumption. So he went around and posted one of these 4 signs on various houses to see which would be the most effective.

Here’s what the signs said:

  • Sign 1: Please reduce energy in your home in order to reduce the expenditure of resources on the planet.
  • Sign 2: Please reduce energy consumption in the home in order to save money at the end of the month on your own bill.
  • Sign 3: Please do this for future generations so that your children will have access to these resources.
  • Sign 4: The majority of your neighbors are regularly undertaking efforts to reduce energy in their homes, please follow.

When Cialdini measured the results at the end of the month, sign #4 was the only message that significantly reduced energy consumption in the home.

“Birds flock together in very neat patterns, fish school, cattle herd, social insects swarm together. So this is something that doesn’t require a lot of cognitive capacity in order to trigger the conformity. All you need to do is to see what those around you, like you, are doing. And it’s a good shortcut to deciding what you should do in a situation.” - Robert Cialdini

The episode goes in more detail, but I’ve paraphrased enough. Whenever a person is asked why they do certain things, they have a long list of reasons, but they rarely cite 'because everyone else is doing it' as a reason. People get insulted by the notion that they might be following a crowd. People see themselves as individuals. But the truth is we do follow groups and often look to people we identify with to inform our decisions.

If you see your friends doing something you're more likely to check it out. Social media and viral marketing is based on this. So while experimenting with this round of ads, the biggest breakthrough I've had is through a very simple strategy: market the Master of Inventions page to people with friends who've already liked the page.

Facebook makes this very easy to do. Here's a screen grab of the details of the current campaign:

ZOOM IN:
So the only people who’ve seen this round of ads are those with mutual friends who like Master of Inventions. It plays towards the social proof / herd mentality Robert Cialdini and the Freakonomics podcast were talking about.

What’s great is this ad campaign has the possibility of perpetuating itself. When someone likes the page, any mutual friends they share with other likers are now being marketed to, and so on and so on.

Obviously likes are not the goal. A majority of people have been clicking through to see what the page is about. Using some design ideas I lifted from get 10,000 Fans, I made the layout very easy to navigate, allowing visitors to find the movie or the bonus features.

These two adjustments have showed a boost likes and view counts for the film. It’s exciting for sure, but my goal has been to get catch email subscribers and build up my email list, which it has not affected. There’s still more to experiment with. But for now, this has been the most successful campaign to date.

What do you think? Am I on the right track? Please comment below. 

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