The online popularity trigger

Want me to make your business look popular bro? All you gotta do is ask!

Happy thought of the day: Most of us aren’t that popular and we’ll probably never be universally beloved.

That’s the truth we learned to lazily accept and live with. Most of us really do suck at socializing with people outside our little groups. We mostly build networks through convenient introductions and we find new connections out of sheer strokes of luck.

Sadly for us, being social means that your word has a better chance of being heard. It means you have a better chance of being sponsored by your peers. Shying away from social encouters will make people less likely to gravitate towards you and by the same logic they probably won’t, out of the kindness of their hearts, champion your product.

Unless you ask them to.

Marketing is all about creating the illusion of popularity. And it can get quite tricky because most people need a push to publicise the fact that they are fans of your product or service. You can’t force them to do it, can you? Nope, probably not.
So how do you ask someone to promote your work without feeling like a complete idiot?

I believe, and i’m speaking from the customer’s perspective here, that the only way you can make yourself look less desperate for the market’s attention is in fact by desperately asking your friends and family to endorse your product. At least in the early stages of its life. What I mean by this is you have to ask them to digitally proclaim their approval of your work through likes, follows and shares. Consequently, despite not being the most popular person ever, you’re giving the impression that your word is valued thus inviting more and more people to listen to it.

The tricky part here is this: You’re trying to create something of your own and honestly most people won’t actively be rooting for you. And that’s the reason why they need the push.

Yes we’re diving into psychology now (I promise I’m not that pretentious in real life!)

This does not mean your friends won’t be happy for you, or encourage you, or check out the product or service you’re offering. It only means they’ll probably shy away from taking the initiative to endorse your business publicly all on their own. And I get that!

Why would any of your acquaintances willingly and without being asked help you? They have ambitions just like you so why would they help you win if they’re getting nothing out of it? And yes we all associate tiny Facebook likes with winning, let’s not lie.

Think of it this way, how many times have you checked out someone else’s shared article on twitter, enjoyed it, closed it and kept scrolling without so much as a retweet? How many times have you liked someone’s Instagram picture without actually pressing the like button? A retweet and a ‘like’ cost us nothing but it would give the other person the illusion of a following, and why would I contribute to the rise of your popularity?
That’s really how most of us think and there’s no changing it, we’re looking out for number one and it’s our right.

So how would you work around this hurdle of selfishness to promote your product in its early stages?

Here’s where personalised requests swoop in and save the day. Basic psychology says: You ask people for their help, they feel needed, they help you. Simple. But that feeling of being needed has to be triggered by a personalized touch. That means you don’t send mass messages starting with ‘Hey guys’ or ‘Dear all’, you definitely don’t spam your friends with a million request and you most definitely don’t have Facebook send them notifications to like your page. You send a personal message, using wit and charm. And If you’re not naturally adorable you learn how to be. You just keep practicing charm until you’ve got the world hanging by your little finger. Because guess what? Everybody liking your product in silence has zero value. You kind of need to get off your butt and ask people to get off theirs and endorse your work by tailoring witty endorsement requests based on your usual relationship with the person.

I’m a customer and I’m telling you if ask me to be part of your audience I will be. Just do it in a charming way. Trust me I’ve succumbed to this technique countless times even if I’m very aware of what’s going on.

So yeah, you need to feel the embarrassment of asking friends to digitally speak up about your product. You need to feel like an idiot by asking them to help you create the illusion of a following in order to attract more people.

You need to ask for attention in order to get it.

We can’t all be popular, some of us need to work at it, and that goes for businesses too.

You need to start somewhere. So start, by asking.

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3 comments

  1. Cameron Chardukian · August 10, 2013

    You’ve made some good points here, but here’s another strategy to think about. People naturally reciprocate favors as nobody likes leeching off others. If you promote others they’ll naturally take in you and likely reciprocate the favor. Of course, people can tell when you’re just trying to get something from them so sincerity’s important… Just something to think about though!

    • yaraklaimi · August 11, 2013

      I personally always thought that people need a little push when it comes to returning favors. This is based on personal experiences which is why our points of view might differ a little. More often than not, after doing them favor their satisfaction would make them forget (or pretend to forget) to reciprocate, especially if they’ve been burnt in the past. Sure they might appreciate it in silence but they wouldn’t publicly declare their gratitude, they wouldn’t act on it. So for me it’s always safer to ask and laugh at yourself while doing it.

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