Proponents of social media often stress the “social” component of these platforms.
However, social media can become transactional and mysterious, as well as a useful tool, where socializing is secondary to providing value. After all, when you order products on Amazon, the relationship is purely transactional.
And to be clear, transactions are relationships.
How many times have you completed a satisfaction survey after purchasing an item on Amazon?
If you’re like many people, you only respond to satisfaction surveys when something goes awry or you are overwhelmingly delighted. Otherwise, quietness is a sign of approval.
As long as Amazon remains consistent and reliable, a transactional relationship exists.
This reality paves the way for introverts to succeed by embracing less being more. By limiting public exposure, transacting value, and managing communication, introverts can rise above all the noise and become influential on their terms.
Eminent marketer Seth Godin opted years ago to disallow comments from readers on his blog.
Godin responded to the criticism of not allowing comments by saying: …I think comments are terrific, and they are the key attraction for some blogs and some bloggers. Not for me, though.
First, I feel compelled to clarify or to answer every objection or to point out every flaw in reasoning.
Second, it takes way too much of my time to even think about them, never mind curate them.
And finally, and most important for you, it permanently changes the way I write. Instead of writing for everyone, I find myself writing in anticipation of the commenters. I’m already itching to rewrite my traffic post below. So, given a choice between a blog with comments or no blog at all, I think I’d have to choose the latter….
Godin has since suggested that disallowing comments on blogs would not work today because of the need to connect at a deeper level than when he started blogging years ago.
However, research suggests that people will consume anything that resonates with a core need. Even poor customer service.
Dukes and Zhu (2019) postulated that, “Some of the most hated companies in the U.S. are also the most profitable… Many complaint processes are actually designed to help companies retain profits by limiting the number of customers who can successfully resolve their complaints…But our research suggests that in markets without much competition, companies are more likely to implement a tiered complaint process and profit from the reduced payouts to customers.” (p. 1).
Dukes and Zhu said thatinternet service providers, airlines, and cable companies are examples of businesses that provide poor customer service, but still reap profits.
These examples are proof-positive that sociability and friendliness are not always necessary when individuals are inclined to spend their hard-earned money.
And to stretch this notion a bit further, if you provide valuable content on social media platforms, it doesn’t matter if you are sociable and choose not to live out loud.
The Cult Branding Company (n.d.) suggested that, “Not everything needs to be directly presented to your customer. This is counter to many modern marketing practices where companies constantly try to expose different aspects of the brand in the hope that something might stick. Enticing customers to discover positive things about your brand on their own creates a deeper relationship and increases the chances that they will talk positively about you” (para. 5).
For introverts, becoming mysterious is not a gimmick. It’s a tool to leverage your hardwiring.
If you inherently prefer solitude and isolation, as well as a desire to create content, becoming mysterious by incrementally and organically distributing information is a great option.
It’s a trend that is seeing the light of day, but isn’t being discussed much.
Leberecht (2015) said, “NEI (Not Enough Information) is a trend that’s becoming popular with Bay Area tech startups, some of which have adopted secret rooms in their offices… Talented storytellers have known for ages that mystery beats a glut of information and details. This insight is now entering business mainstream. Transparency is taking a back seat, and it appears we’re currently witnessing a rise in opaque, mysterious workplace and customer experiences. That’s a good thing” (para. 2-3).
Introverts can become under the radar experts within their professions by developing authority articles, blogs, and websites that address and solve industry problems. And all this can be accomplished within the comfort of your home behind a computer.
Remaining a mystery merely means sharing only information that creates the image you want to portray, as well as satisfying the interest of your audience.
There is a lyric in a song by R&B singer Bobby Womack that states, “…They only want to see the side of me that they pay to see….”
Rest assure that people want the side of you that serves their best interest. Any other parts become fodder for potential criticism. The more you reveal, the more you’ll be taken for granted.
Familiarity does breed contempt. It always has and always will.
Here are a few suggestions for becoming more mysterious as opposed to social.
Create compelling value
As noted earlier, people will tolerate a great deal if they want something eagerly enough. While you may not be able to determine if you have a monopoly on a product or service, you can provide remarkable value.
If you are consistently taking an objective view of what’s undeveloped or underserved within the marketplace, a commitment to providing the best possible solution to a compelling problem puts you head and shoulders above your competitors.
Never stop asking the question, “What’s missing…and how can I do it better?”
Use a pseudonym or initials to experiment
If you want to merely experiment with a new thought or idea, but may be too sensitive about potential criticism, consider using a pseudonym or initials. By objectifying yourself, you depersonalize a concept and separate it emotionally from yourself.
Although you may still remain personally attached, you provide space for creativity without the self-consciousness of possible failure.
Use photos that capture the essence of your work
People who are personality driven want their faces everywhere for maximum exposure.
However, individuals who want their concepts and ideas to be the centerpiece, add visuals that highlight the content. In the end, you want your content to be the star of the show.
From YouTube to mass media, many people are vying for the spotlight. But few are producing scholarly intellectual property. This is a great opportunity for strategic thinking introverts to shine discreetly through their work.
Use video technology to influence
Video marketing is slated to remain on a steady growth incline. Pundits suggest that individuals who aren’t positioning and marketing themselves through videos are headed towards obscurity.
However, introverts can become more creative by doing voice-overs with stock photos.
Again, by spotlighting the idea or concept, you are cutting through the clutter of personality driven initiatives.
Moreover, introverts should not play the same game often exercised by extroverts.
In fact, another tactic for introverts is to hire on-air spokespersons, and write the scripts that on-air personalities read for videos and podcasts. You are literally “Putting words in their mouths.”
Additionally, using on-air personalities help showcase your value without being overly self-promotional. You are leveraging other people’s voice and image to further your objectives.
Finally, it is effective and beneficial for introverts to adopt the philosophy that transactional relationships and mystery can serve a greater good.
When the roar of the crowd is over, all that is left standing are ideas that have stood the test of time.
Dukes, A., and Zhu, Y. (2019, Dec.). Why bad customer service won’t improve anytime soon. The Conversation. Retrieved from: https://theconversation.com/why-bad-customer-service-wont-improve-anytime-soon-128671.
Godin, S. (2006, June 3). Why I don’t have comments. Seth’s Blog. Retrieved from: https://seths.blog/2006/06/why_i_dont_have.
Leberecht, T. (2015, June 24). Why building mystery can help your business. Fast Company. Retrieved from: https://www.fastcompany.com/3047364/how-companies-can-harness-the-power-of-the-unknown.
Womack, B. (n.d.). No matter how high I get, I’ll still be looking up. AZ Lyrics. Retrieved from: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/bobbywomack/nomatterhowhighigetillstillbelookinup.html.