The Scarcity Effect

Some of you may already be familiar with this phenomenon, I wanted to share for those of you who aren’t. The Scarcity Effect [in social media] was only recently explained to me, and I wanted to pass this idea along to everybody else.

I first discovered the usefulness and value of the Scarcity Effect when I was working on the NCAA Social Currency research report. We were looking at the 68 March Madness schools, and their use of favorites/follows/lists and so forth. Inside of these categories, the schools’  statistics greatly varied, and with this you could see patterns of both success and failure. Without realizing it, universities are acting in detriment to their brand and social presence.  Some are hurting their social currencies by following too many people, giving too many RT’s/favorites, etc. However, other universities are benefiting from doing the exact same actions. You must formulate a strategy, and understand your following in order to best utilize the Scarcity Effect on social channels.

Here’s an example. Take a Twitter handle with 1 million followers that is following only, say, 350. That account reaching out and tweeting/following you will be much more valuable than a school following 175,000. The Scarcity Effect deals with the aftermath of this interaction, and the subsequent relationship or value created. This can create certain desperation in people. While studying Twitter, I see countless people begging verified athletes, schools, teams, and brands to follow them back or RT them. Scarcity Effect.

Humans will always place a higher value on a more scarce object, and the same goes in the social space. For companies and individuals, I urge you to keep this in mind. You do not have to follow back every account that follows you, I personally believe it’s good to maintain a 3-to-1 ratio… **Checks Twitter** 

Time to go make myself more scarce 🙂

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