What is a Commitment Curve?
I first heard of the concept of a “commitment curve” in a talk by Airbnb‘s Global Head of Community Douglas Atkin. Atkin referenced this theory of community involvement, explaining that people scale up a commitment curve by starting with small actions and moving up to larger commitment.
For instance, if you asked someone to coordinate a meet-up in your very first interaction with them, the answer would almost certainly be no. But if your only ask was a social media “like,” you’d almost certainly do better. As a relationship deepens, people commit to larger and larger actions.
Why It Works
I’m no psychologist, but a possible explanation for this theory lies in the Ben Franklin effect. This phenomenon posits that once someone has done a very small favor, they are far more likely to agree to a larger favor in the future. The idea is that your mind believes that if you’ve done someone a kindness, you must like them—so you’re more inclined to do them a subsequent kindness, too. It’s a bit cyclical in nature, I know, but it seems to hold true in varied fields of sales.
Sell Books with Social Media—A Specialized Commitment Curve
Below, I’ve applied the theory of commitment curve psychology to author book sales. You’ll learn how to sell books with social media by scaling potential readers up a commitment curve.
1. Social Media “Like”
Someone favorites, likes, or hearts one of your social media posts
2. Click through to a Website
The person clicks through to your website to read a blog post or a story excerpt
3. Social Media Follow
They liked your writing enough to follow you on social media—they want more!
4. Blog Comment
You’ve piqued their interest and they want to engage directly with you and start a conversation.
5. Newsletter Signup/Blog Subscription
They never want to miss an update from you.
6. Buy Your Book
They put their money where their interest is!
7. Buy More than One Book/Subscription
Your first book was fantastic, so they pick up more.
8. Market Your Book for You
They love your writing so much that they recommend it to all their friends, and spread the word for you online. Word of mouth is the highest influencer on purchasing decisions, so reaching this step is especially valuable.