Social media activities are directed to encourage the audience to pull strings that would satisfy the content’s author. If the users do not accept the message and take the opposite side, we lose control. Merely providing information is no longer enough. Convincing the audience is essential. The golden rule is, “Wherever there is persuasion, there is rhetoric" (cited by Byman, 2015).
Rhetoric is the art of using language to convince and influence people. In social media, it is often overlooked. Unlike in real life, when it comes to rhetoric in social media, a person should create brief, to-the-point, and engaging statuses instead of long Facebook posts that try to cover everything at once.
In a movie by David Fincher, “The Social Network,” we can see the power of persuasion in social media marketing. The plot is focused on the most popular social network by today, Facebook, and the smart strategies used by its founder Mark Zuckerberg. After analyzing the film and a range of related articles like this one, we came up with the list of most effective approaches to persuading people through digital analysis and rhetoric. If you have ever written a rhetorical analysis, you should recognize its essential elements discussed below:
Three Major Components of the Rhetorical Analysis
As numerous studies show, social media is one of the main communication channels today as well as the source of news for many people. We enjoy communicating with open-minded, moral, and honest people, don’t we? A good writer should possess all of these qualities according to ethos (ethical appeal). When writing a rhetorical analysis essay for your college, students all face the need to develop an argument using methods, which means the subjective opinion of the author is not enough; they should use credible, up-to-date sources to prove their words.
Ethos in Social Media Content
When using ethos, a writer has no right to criticize other positions different from their own aggressively. It is critical to sound as objective and gentle as possible not to scare off the audience with other points of view. If you firmly believe in what you say, you should better recall examples from personal experience and explain the lessons learned. Thus, Facebook and Twitter posts with examples show better performance than those that include pure facts.
As a post that follows ethical strategy should be short, to-the-point, objective, and polite, the good examples could be:
- “Your contribution to our music foundation will prevent musical piracy from expanding with every new day. It will also guarantee decent income to all the hard-hard-working songwriters who lack money today.”
- “Please do not pull the spring dandelions as these flowers serve as the primary sources of nutrition for numerous insects.”
- “This week, ABC company plans to set up 5,000 new smoke alarms to prevent injuries caused by home fires.”
All of these posts stick to the principle of methods first introduced by Aristotle. Along with a related image, your post of this type would engage many users for sure.
- Logic - “Turning the beliefs of the readers to the author’s persuasive advantage.”
- Emotion - “Impacting the individual’s mood or making the audience want the specific object.”
- Character - “Making the target audience sympathize and trust the author based on the offered image.”
Logos in Social Media Content
Aristotle listed several good reasons which every potential speaker or writer should master the art of persuasion. Find the full list on this post.
Perhaps, one more reason is to find out how to collect relevant sources to support the central argument — digital analysis implies in-depth research to defend the position. Everything to do with the evidence is related to logos. The evidence consists of facts (objective truth) and authority (the quality of source).
Let’s say that you are a resident of Connecticut and you are about to vote for the President of the United States. Here is which post might look useful, up-to-date, and relevant:
“Only the following citizens have a right to take part in voting:
Signed up to the votin system
Citizens of the US
18+ years old
A resident of the particular precinct at least one month before the Elections
Possess 2 pieces of identification”
In most cases, as the example shows, logos is accompanied by ethos and pathos. It is rarely used alone.
Pathos in Social Media Content
Pathos is the element that stands for emotional appeal. Many underestimate its significance, but with pathos alone, the author may engage many users. Pathos is a useful tool to include on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posts. From heart-tugging quotes to infuriating images, you can use multiple ways to earn the sympathy of the target audience.
Pathos is usually expressed through “friends,” “likes,” “shares,” “comments,” “congratulations,” “hearts,” “smiley faces.”
It is also useful to use figurative language. Those are various literary tools such as jokes, metaphors, similes, etc. The excellent example of the post with the stress on pathos could be: “Immigrants from Mexico are stuck on the board having no shelter and almost no food under the heating sun.”
After that, one can add how the readers may help. The reasons were already listed, so there is no need to repeat them.
Practice Writing a Rhetorical Analysis to Succeed with SMM
We can say that today, social media is the new source of rhetoric and vice versa. Those who succeeded in writing various types of analysis essays in college will find it much easier to deal with social media marketing. To recall the basic rules of successful digital analysis, have a look at the main tips below:
- Always have an outline in front of your eyes to serve as an action plan if you write a long post;
- Do not focus on arguing - the overriding priority of the social media content is to analyze instead of espousing personal opinion;
- Avoid lead-in words and wateriness in general;
- Search for the keywords that might work for your post;
- Never forget to add an original visual content such as images, infographics, and videos (if available);
- Always check the final draft of a paper or post - while you may think that most of the online users today do not pay attention to grammar and spelling, you are wrong;
- Consult experts by reading their blogs or review the top posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (usually, they appear in your newsfeed no matter whether you follow the author(s) or no).
The final tip is to play with the emotions and feelings of your readers. Just do not overdo it - do not touch sensitive topics. So, is your content that you post in the social media profiles all rhetoric? Keep on analyzing how different audiences react to various posts to study their behavior. Master persuasion skills by reading useful articles, and you will achieve success very soon.