“Because I said so” worked with your mom and it works in marketing. “Because” is a magical word because when people hear it, they start to buy in.
Taking its roots from the phrase bi cause during the 13th Century, “because” introduces a direct reason for any occurrence or action in a statement. Last month, Ian touched on the power of because during his Social Media Means Business presentation and I thought it was too juicy to pass up a post on the PI blog.
Because, Because, Because, Because, Because…
Because of the wonderful things it does… Da Duh… Da Dun Dun Dun Dun Dun. Ask Google about the “Power of Because” and you’ll go down a yellow brick road of hundreds of psychological studies of people getting what they want with that one word. The most famous experiment was conducted by behavioral scientist Ellen Langer, where she set up three scenarios to see if a complete stranger could use persuasion tactics to cut in line at the photocopier.
The Because Experiment
As the control, the “stranger” simply asks the person standing in line, “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?” Roughly 60% of participants allowed the copier cutter to move ahead of them in line.
However, when the “stranger” used a reason in his request, “May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?” participant compliance soared to 94%. What ever happened to “no cuts, no butts, no coconuts?”
Here’s the part that will really knock your socks off. When the “stranger” used “because,” but followed it with an asinine reason, “May I use the Xerox machine because I need to make copies?” 93% of participants continued to comply.
The “Because Experiment” shows that it’s always important to give someone a reason, even if your reason isn’t very compelling.
Because Social Media is Important
Now that you know how to save time on your next Kinko’s trip, you should also consider using because to persuade your readers. Before you start inserting the big B in all of your tweets, remember that one of the most under-utilized tactics in social media is to simply ask people to make an action.
Dan Zarrella is one of my favorite social scientists (quick plug that I’m not being paid for, Dan’s book Hierarchy of Consciousness is a highly recommended read) and he wrote about the 20 phrases that will get you the most retweets. The words please, retweet and “please retweet” all drive an incredibly high amount of interactions. Try to capitalize on the power of because with one of these highly retweeted phrases.
|Word/Phrase (out of 158,000 Tweets)
|new blog post
Even my boss will tell you, asking people to like or retweet something is the easiest way to get people’s attention.
The next time you need to persuade your audience to take action, ask them to help out and give them a reason to care about it.
— Doug Antkowiak (@SocialDoug) June 12, 2012