This article was frst published in ILTA’s January 2010 white paper titled
“Social Networking: Learn the Rules of Engagement”
and is reprinted here withpermission. For more inormation about ILTA, visit their website at www.iltanet.org.
In order to infuence a customer, it is prudent to rst becomeamiliar with the components o customer behavior. There areboth emotional and logical elements to client decisions –– andthe impact o these elements changes over time.Figure 1 illustrates a predictable fow to customerdecisions that ollows this general sequence:
Iitially a potetial customer is stimulated throughemotio to cosider a chage i ehavior.
This emotion, resulting rom a high motivation to considerchange, progresses toward the need to justiy the consideredchange with logic over time.
Example o Need or Emotional Stimulus: I am usinglegacy sotware or CRM, and my frm wishes to improveits client relationship processes. A new product lookspromising, and i I can implement a product that saves thefrm money, my employer will be impressed.
At some poit durig the cosideratio o chage, thecustomer egis to have to justiy the emotioal desire orchage with a logical reaso or cosiderig the chage.
Example o Need or Logical Stimulus: I want to impressmy employer by providing cost savings, thereore Ineed to recognize and work through specifc return oninvestment examples.
Oce oth the emotioal ad logical stimuli or chagehave ee preseted, the idividual eig ifueced(audiece) typically makes a decisio to chage ormaitai his or her ehavior.
Example o Behavioral Change: It seems I can help thefrm save money. The new product is compelling, and thereturn on investment numbers support its adoption, so Iam going to purchase the new product.
I, at this point, there is not a decision to change behavior,then the communicator
s message (both emotional and logicalstimulus components) may need to be rened.
Oce ehavior has ee chaged, the ext majorchallege is maitaiig the desired customer ehavior.
This can be accomplished by continuing to send messagesto the customer with logical reasons or maintaining his/her behavior along with ensuring that emotion-targetedmessaging is not neglected. This combination serves toprevent competitive emotional and logical messaging romgrabbing the attention o the customer and resulting in a non-desired change o behavior.
Example o Maintaining Behavioral Change: Thechange appears to be saving the frm money, and the return-on-investment case studies shared by thevendor seem to show that this is the best product touse to continue saving money.
In addition to ocusing one
s message tothe appropriate marketing category and reningcommunications according to the emotional and logicalcomponents o infuence, the eectiveness o socialmedia tools may also be increased by understandinghow many contacts it takes to get that message throughto the client.
In his widely read book,
, JayConrad Levinson shares that, rom a contactperspective, there is signiicant beneit in multiplecontacts with potential customers and a signiicantincrease in probability o a client being inluencedwhen contacted ive or more times.In applying this sales-centric call success probabilitymetric to the use o communications in general, andsocial media communications specically, it seemsreasonable to assert that one could maximize the use o social media tools by providing a ocused message withemotional and logical elements, and then deliveringthat message ve or more times to a customer in anunobtrusive manner. This non-intrusiveness is a key pointgiven the rapid dissemination and response capability o most social media tools.Once one understands the Change/MaintainBehavior Continuum (Figure 1) and the numbero contacts that may be required to infuencecustomers (Figure 2), consideration can be given tohow this knowledge can be applied with a variety o communications techniques.
Traditionally, organizations have sought to infuenceusers through a combination o print and onlinematerials shared directly by sales team members inace-to-ace encounters. However, with the advent andacceptance o social media, organizations can nowmove a signicant portion o conventional ace-to-aceencounters to an online environment –– a movementthat can speed the sharing and collaboration betweeninfuencers and those being infuenced.In communicating with others, one
s interactionsmay be classied as reaching, inorming, engaging,or encouraging (infuencing) others. Whether these