Can you change someone’s opinion online?

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 Using social media to change people's ideas and perceptions is becoming a norm in marketing today. But as consumers get overwhelmed by content – how do you break through and make yourself heard?

It is an established fact that social media is the best platform to get people to change their mindset – whether we’re talking about changing people’s opinon about your brand or more political issues. 

But how do you influence people into changing their way of thinking (without being an evil manipulating troll)?

Here are three things to keep in mind! 

1. Use a simple rhetoric

The most efficient way to reach out and change people’s opinion on a matter is to make your message as simple and straightforward as possible. 

– If you want to make people change their opinion on a subject, you use the type of rhetoric that people can share easily, says Emma Blom, founder of Social Industries.

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This is not unproblematic. Emma Blom has studied people’s behavioural pattern on social media for several years and has seen an increase in the use of an aggressive and sensational rhetoric. 

– The players that get the most reach do not always play fair. This often goes for topics that are easy to distort, such as immigration or environmental issues. Nowadays we have little time or interest to check what we read, so we regard opinions we agree with, as the truth. This, in turn, contributes to a more polarized society.

Now,  communicating in a simple and clear way doesn’t have to imply being alarmist nor manipulative. But as a marketer you need to ask yourself: Are you willing to jump on the bandwagon and use a sensational rethoric just because “everyone else” does? If so, will that effect the credibility of your company?

2. Build a large volume around your material

A proven way to reach through the noise, is to build a volume of material and direct it towards the right people.

– Social media marketing works in the same way as advertising has done since the beginning. If you are exposed to a certain kind of product every day for six months, you will be more inclined to use it.

– The same goes for opinions. If you are interested in a certain topic, you will, through social media algorithms, be guided towards products and opinions that lie within your sphere of interest. This is the very essence of marketing on social media. One wants to be able to discern a behavioural pattern among the consumer.

In other words, frequency and a steady presence is key. Keep this in mind while planning your communication in social media. 

3. Break down your subject in pieces

Volume alone is not enough. As a marketer, you don’t have to cover all aspects of a subject, it’s neither time- nor cost effective.

– As an audience, we rarely engage fully, but rather cherry-pick from a larger issue. If you find the right angle for the right person, chances are they will change their mind, says Emma Blom.

For example it’s much more efficient to distribute several shorter videos, lifting one angle at a time, instead of creating one longer video aiming to explain a whole topic. Influencers and untraditional media has already got the hang of this. This is a development that traditional media and companies, but also politicians, must keep up with – and understand the implications of:

– A private person’s opinions can have as much impact as established media, if not more. In order for us to be able to keep a serious discourse, more serious players need to get into the same game. 

In other words, prepare to kill your darlings, make it short and explain one thing at a time. And as long as you get your facts straight, maybe you can learn something from that slightly annoying opinionated influencer, at least when it comes to storytelling. 

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