Flickr / Photo by Jurgen Appelo.

Persuasion and Facebook Live: Scarcity to increase awareness

“Are you going to the rally?" This was the email/text/Facebook message I received from a plethora of sources. This was a rally to support Immigration Rights instead of hosting an Oscar party, by the United Talent Agency in West LA. Seeing that California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Jodie Foster, Michael J. Fox, Reza Aslan, and Keegan-Michael Key would be speaking it seemed like a no-brainer event. The problem was I had business meetings during the time. Fortunately, the event was being hosted on Facebook Live as well. This meant I would still get to see some of the speeches, even if I could not attend the event. In fact, isn’t that one of the purposes of Facebook Live?

Unfortunately, like most meetings, it went over and I missed the Facebook Live event. Given the enthusiastic reviews of speeches from people I knew attending the event (going well beyond the conventional cap on exclamations points for text messages) I believed that since the event was done through digital media it would be easy to find a copy to watch later. Nope. Could not find anything beyond a shaky camera of 2 minutes of a section of speech on YouTube. In my frustration, I knew I could not miss another event. I signed up for alerts on UTA Facebook page, began to follow the social media of speakers I missed, and created google news alerts for key words based on future events. While the recorded video was posted to the site later, I still became an active  participant in learning more about the brand.

While this might seem a bit excessive, what I realized was that I had been persuaded using a classic expression of persuasion, scarcity. Robert Cialdini wrote about scarcity in his seminal book Persuasion. His argument is that when some individual feels that their freedom, through choice, is being limited, they are more likely to act to preserve that freedom. This meant that my fear of missing out on the next event caused me to become actively involved in a talent agency, even for a reason that is not directly related to the brand of the business. I am not implying that UTA did this event to get more brand awareness, nor the speakers. I believe this is a fundamental feature of Facebook Live, the idea of missing out in a digital landscape where it is increasingly becoming difficult to miss out on anything.

In fact, part of the stated appeal of Facebook Live is the creation of authentic experiences and the scarcity of the live video. This is becoming an increasing trend in thought leaders. Using live webinars to both connect with audiences, but also offer a one-time product that causes both increased attention, but importantly, consistent attention. Of course, for a successful use of scarcity it must be in conjunction of existing content that can be consumed. The power of using thought leaders and influencers for Facebook Live is that it will be discussed on other channels, like retweets and user-generated content, so it heightens awareness, while at the same time not forcing a company to do all the content marketing. It will be interesting to see if UTA has other events that use Facebook Live in order to continue this strategy, or if this was a happy accident. 

Flickr / Photo by Jurgen Appelo.