Why getting a tattoo made me a better social media marketer

Mother-sister tattoo

Last week I did something I never thought I’d do. I got a tattoo. A matching one, in fact, with my mom and my baby sister. Naturally, it was my sister’s idea (she’s a teenager). But we all went along with it. Why? Well, looking back, I realize that, though completely unintentional, my sister used the same persuasion tactics I use in social media marketing.

She got the end result she wanted – my mother and my sister converted, a 100% ROI. Here’s how she did it, and how you can apply her methods to your social media strategy.

She planted the idea before she asked me to take action

A few months back, my sister asked me nonchalantly if I’d ever want to get a sister tattoo. I was touched that she felt such an eternal bond with me, and also a little bit intrigued. I had nothing against tattoos, I just didn’t happen to have any. What a cute idea, I thought, and told her yeah, sure, why not?

She didn’t ask for a commitment or to set a date or design. There was nothing forceful or pushy about the conversation. It was a concept, not a reality, and therefore there was no danger. It’s not like I had to march down to the tattoo parlor tomorrow.

By the time plans began to solidify, I’d already had time to get comfortable with the idea in my head. If the first I’d ever heard of the mother-sister tattoo was that we were getting X design on X date, I probably would’ve run for the hills.

Of course there is something to be said for impulse purchasing, and effective marketing has been done around it, but the reality is people need to be emotionally ready when they’re asked to make a move.

What this means for business is that you should always focus on education first before asking someone to act. If you’re trying to convince your audience to purchase a new product or donate to a cause, you want to first exert your efforts into talking up the benefits of the product or how the cause is effective in making real change.

People need to form some sort of relationship or emotional attachment to a brand before they’re willing to act on its behalf. You can do that through storytelling and education, disguised as entertainment. They’ll quickly fall into the sales funnel without even realizing it (like I did).

She built credibility and trust

A former CARE colleague once said, “People don’t donate to organizations they’ve never heard of or causes they don’t understand.” I thought there was a lot of truth in that statement, and what that really comes down to is trust and credibility.

In Tennessee, where my sister lives with my parents, it’s illegal to get a tattoo if you’re under 18, even with parental consent. So, my 17-year-old sister called around to a bunch of tattoo parlors in rural Kentucky, just across the border, until she found one that would take her on as a client.

I should have been plagued by doubts. I didn’t personally vet this tattoo artist. What if he had a shaky hand? What if he didn’t properly sterilize his equipment? (He was actually very talented, hygienic and professionally)

The thing is, both of my parents had signed off on the plan. My mom, who was getting a tattoo herself, and my dad, who’s a doctor. I may not trust a tattoo artist I’ve never researched or met, but I trusted my parents. So I walked into that tattoo parlor without a doubt in my mind.

In business, you have to utilize every digital channel at your disposal to prove to your audience that you’re credible and trustworthy. This means showcasing media hits, positive reviews, testimonials (bonus points if they’re video testimonials), strategic partnerships and any other media or content you have that proves you’re legit.

Before people can even fathom the idea of trusting you with their money or information, they have to trust you.

She instilled camaraderie

I’ve always prided myself on my propensity for marching to my own drum and not following the crowd. Ironically, this was a notion instilled in me early on by my mother, constantly repeating the “If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?” analogy.

It’s ironic because the camaraderie my sister build between her, my mom and me around the tattoo vastly contributed to my willingness to participate. I wanted to be a part of the fun. I didn’t want to be left out.

But it wasn’t just FOMO that put me in that chair with a needle to my back. It was that this activity somehow brought us closer together. I craved the shared and exclusive experience. Don’t we all?

In other words, while I didn’t just do it because everyone else was doing it, it’s not something I would have ever done alone.

Social media is a network and a community, not a megaphone. The social media marketers who get the most results out of these channels are those that foster and encourage two-way conversations, not just between their brand and their consumer base, but also among community members.

A person’s bond with a brand can only be so strong – but the capacity for people to bond with other people over a shared experience is immeasurable. Focus not just on your messaging, but on how you can rile a community around a lifestyle, issue or cause. Focus not on your brand, but on the shared experience. We are all in this together. Show me how.

The plan was already in place by the time I got there

All I had to do to get the tattoo was show up. My sister had already picked out the design, found the tattoo artist, convinced my mom and made an appointment. Had I been forced to be involved or take ownership of any of these activities, well, the tattoo may not have happened.

Each step to tattoo-hood was an opportunity for me to back out, to entertain second thoughts or simply to just get too busy and say, “another time.” There was a comfort in the fact that I didn’t have to do anything. I didn’t have to think about it too much and I had absolutely no opportunity to procrastinate.

The path to conversion for your consumer base should be as simplistic as possible. The more steps the user has to take, the more likely they are to abandon either because they changed their minds (I didn’t really need that) or because they simply got distracted and moved onto something else.

I like to use a 140 character tweet as a rule of thumb. Can I tell the user exactly what I want them to do, why they should do it and how they need to do it within 140 characters (leaving room for a link, of course)? If not, think about revising your strategy.

Clearly, my baby sister has a brilliant future in marketing, should she so choose one. The power of persuasion holds steady across channels – whether they be in person or online. Those who don’t lose sight of the fact that social media marketing is really just talking to real people, just like you do in every other aspect of your life, are the ones who are going to win in the space. My lower back proves it.



One thought on “Why getting a tattoo made me a better social media marketer

  1. love this.
    My 14 year old daughter wants a white wolf tattoo.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *