Social Media Scarcity

Your tweets and social updates are at risk. Here’s why.

The scarcity principle is as simple as principles come:

We place a higher value on things that are scarce, and a lower value on things that are abundant. That’s it.

If we were to walk into a shop to find two seemingly identical stocks of items, both costing the same, but with one running low, we’d pick that one over the other.

It’s in our nature to do so.

There are lots of examples out there to portray scarcity. Time-sensitive offers are something you’ll come across on e-commerce websites every day.

“Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

But I chose this example – that of limited stock or a perception of limited stock – because it bears another psychological principle that motivates action. One closely related to scarcity.

That’s social proof.

If there’s a situation when an item is limited in stock because others have flocked to it means that it must be something worth checking out. Something worth buying.

This is a principle that we need to take into our marketing activities. That goes for sales as well (because that’s where it has historically been used the most).

So, on to social media scarcity.

Nearly 30% of consumers in the UK feel that brands share too many social media updates. That marketers like you and I tweet too many times or post too many photos.

What happens when something like this happens? You lose that follower. Then that follower stops seeing your updates which means he or she won’t see your messages. So you can’t engage with that person, and then you can sell to that person.

All because of the scarcity principle.

Too much of something is the killer of all things: say too much of something, then that something becomes irrelevant to its audience.

Go to a restaurant and eat yourself silly. Take a starter, main course, and a desert. Plenty of drinks with that, as well as a coffee to finish it off.

Would you enjoy the food so much to say you’d go back there right away? Not really.

You may have had a good time with friends, but you won’t go back for the food you went there for in the first place. Simply because you’ve eaten too much of it. You don’t know what it even tasted like to remember whether it was good or bad.

Why do you think high-end restaurants make their portions small?

As consumers, the more we consume the less value that is placed on that consumption. As marketing men, that’s bad.

The key, then, is to make everything precious – or at least seem it.

We generally want the things we think we can’t have. Keeping this in mind, it makes sense to limit what we say to our prospects or customers, be it on social or not.

Just as social media updates and messages are best kept scarce, so should the content that you’re talking about during.

If more people see you, more people will share you. And that’s how you get your social proof. To get more is to say less.

Keep trying to push out content and special offers and time-sensitive deals without consideration of the principle for which you are loading this content with is defeating the whole object.

So don’t put your social updates at risk.

Push your scarcity out scarcely.

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