I dated a girl once because her name was Jasmine. Something told me that any girl named Jasmine had to be beautiful and exotic. So I asked a friend if she knew one and the introduction was made.
It wasn’t the magic carpet ride I hoped it would be; we broke up after two comically awkward weeks. Since then I’ve noticed a trend: I tend to date girls whose first name starts with “J”. This isn’t a coincidence. In fact, I later learned that there’s an underlying reason rooted in psychology at play and it can be applied to give you an extra boost to your social media attempts.
Do you think the decision of who to marry is your own choice?
What about where you live or what you do for a living?
In 2004, John Jones and colleagues examined 15,000 public marriage records and discovered that there’s a tendency to marry somebody with the same first letter of a persons first name. 1
Pelham et. al. found that people born on Feb 2 (2/2) are more prone to live in cities with names with Twin Lakes, Wisconsin. Is your birthday on June 6 (6/6)? If so, there’s a good chance you’ll be visiting Six Mile, South Carolina.
Pelham et. al. also found that people whose names are Georgina or George are more like to be geologists. Heck, even people with roofing companies are more likely to have first names that start with “R”.2
You can’t make this shit up. While slight in some cases, the differences are statistically significant.
Let’s play around with this concept
Good information isn’t enough anymore. People’s purchasing habits are changing and they’re deciding on what to buy based on who they like, connect to, and feel comfortable with. Faceless companies are being forced to adapt and to succeed moving forward you’ll have to become comfortable with the concept that people buy based on the 1% that makes them different, not the 99% that makes them the same.
If you want your social media to make an impact, you’ve got to connect with your user on a deeper level. They need to feel like they know you and implicit egotism may be your answer.
What is it that makes you different or unique? Build it into your status updates or tweets.
Here’s an example:
I wanted to write a status update as a response to multiple emails I received in a short period of time. These were from people who had followed my work that had reached a tipping point. For as long as two years they studied social media, slowly built up their pages, offered extraordinary value, and, at times, had become frustrated in the return. Within two weeks, 3 different readers had a flood of new users to their page and their businesses began to flourish.
This is common pattern. No matter how good you are at it, social media takes time and is unpredictable. All it takes is one big success–a contest, a promotion, or a viral post–to take your page to the next level. It might happen after 3 months or a year or more. But if you keep hustling with integrity and implementing the right habits that moment will come.
I could have written about the pattern in a similar fashion on the Viralnomics Facebook Page to the above two paragraphs but instead decided to go back to my embarrassingly nerdy days of trying to catch em’ all with my Poké Balls. So I wrote a story about a Pokémon named Magikarp who went through a similar evolution. Below is the picture I used and the entire text from the status (typos included):
Magikarp was the most useless Pokemon. So useless, that, upon putting your old rod in the water and having one appear, you simply needed to throw a regular Pokéball to catch it.
Forever, or so it seemed, Magikarp just splashed around not making an impact. He was simply biding his time getting experience.
Then one day, after hours of mind-numbingly repetitive game play, Magikarp reaches level 20 and evolves into one of the most fierce Pokemon in the game–Gyarados.
Why do I tell this asinine story other than to admit that yes I played Pokemon, and yes I did, in fact, catch them all?
I tell this story because it closely mimics your social media evolution. There are no magic tricks, potions, or secretzzz you can buy for $27.
Building up a social media network takes time. It takes strategy. And it takes, what may seem like, mind-numbing repetitiveness.
Then, and you don’t know when it’s going to happen, a switch will get flicked, and your accounts will “tip”. Your reach will expand and you’ll start to be viewed as an expert.
Trolls come out from under their bridge and start to point their insecure jealousy at you and people will be asking you how you popped up overnight. “What’s your secret?” they’ll say. “Because I just heard of you and you’ve got such a great network.”
It’s at that point that you deserve you take a vacation, put your feet up, watch the ocean waves roll in and out, and reflect on all that time when you put Magikarp into battle just to get experience remembering the day you caught him with an old rod–no matter how mind-numbing it was.
For all of you working day and night, frustrated that, despite your best efforts, your networks don’t seem to grow, know that if you keep at it, no matter how frustrating, no matter how mind-numbing, no matter how much it breaks you down that if you keep at it you will reach level 20 and, when that happens, you’re going to use your Hyper Beam and dominate.
Implicit egotism is real and it’s powerful. People like people who are similar to themselves even down to the name they are given that they had no input into how it was given. Be personal and be yourself. Why fight with everybody else when you can break through the noise and appeal to those who are similar to you?
1Jones, J., Pelham, B.; Carvallo, M.; Mirenberg, M. How Do I Love T? Let Me Count the Js: Implicit Egotism and Interpersonal Attraction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 87(5), 665-683.
2Pelham, Brett W.; Mirenberg, Matthew C.; Jones, John T. Why Susie sells seashells by the seashore: Implicit egotism and major life decisions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 82(4), 469-487
Eagleman, D. (2012) Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain. New York: Penguin Publishing.