in Social Media

How much privacy are consumers willing to give up? More than you think

Why are customers reluctant to complete long forms with their details despite offering them discounts, but don’t blink an eye about sharing their whole life on Facebook? What advantage does Facebook have over your company?

The answer is fairly simple: Facebook doesn’t ask for much. It never does. It does, however, ask little questions often. Small micro tasks: update your school, where do you live, when did you met so-and-so etc. Consumers don’t even think twice about whether they should give up this information or not. They just do, because the question is asked in context and is easy to answer. And sometimes even fun when it brings up some nostalgic feeling.

Even when Facebook is not asking explicitly, consumers continue to feed the Facebook beast with data by liking content on the web or logging into applications using Facebook connect.

Here’s what you can learn from Facebook on getting customer permission to share their data freely.

  • Firstly, ask questions appropriately in a timely manner and in good context.
  • Secondly, collect data over time since life doesn’t happen all once and your customer is more than just the single transaction.
  • Thirdly, make your customers be willing to share their data. What can you do to tease out that nostalgic or happy feeling?

Finally, and most importantly, don’t freak people out by predicting their behaviour too accurately. Humans like to think they are original with free will; even if research has shown most of us are immensely predictable. Facebook can predict cheating and suicide upfront, though never warns the individuals or its loved ones about it. It even detects it before the subject knows it. But they won’t tell you about it.

Collect and predict but don’t cross the creepy line.


This article originally appeared on Beyond the Buzz : the only place you need to stay connected with to prepare for tomorrow’s next innovation.