Rhetoric is the act of using language to convince and influence people. Social media is dependent on someone’s skill with not only media but language to very efficiently influence large groups of people.
The Relationship Between Social Media and Rhetoric
But the access to information and that same media has changed the playing field. The game is no longer as one-sided as it has been in the past. Those being marketed to can take power into their own hands.
Social media marketing strategies have to be reworked and remade for a new generation and new technology.
Elements of Rhetoric
There are distinct elements to take into consideration when designing new social media marketing and they are :
- Ethos – Appealing to the ethics of the viewer
- Pathos – Appealing to the emotions of the viewer
- Logos – Appealing to the logic of the viewer
These three elements can direct all of the content that is created and posted on social media at this point. By doing such social media can become more than just a tool for media consumption and can be used as a teaching mechanism.
By directing both what content is posted, the language surrounding it, and the context it is posted in the curators or influencers can create a lesson dependent on their goal.
A very common practice on social media and the internet in general at this point is the utilization of “clickbait.” This is essentially the digital form of false advertisement, encouraging viewers to click on a link, written to entice as many viewers as possible.
However, the content that the link leads to is rarely legitimate or accurate. It is a method of earning revenue and generating traffic.
Media built appealing to the concept of ethos never utilizes clickbait, it builds trust, and it works with credible information and sources. The desire to establish a reliable foundation is at its core.
Working with reputable companies in collaborations in networking efforts or Lead generation projects is a perfect example of promoting ethos.
While ethos is working with the establishment of credible sources and a reliable foundation, pathos is the presentation of this material. This is the design of the site itself.
Someone can the most valuable message to deliver but if they can not engage the reader it will very likely be lost. The information needs to stimulate the viewers visiting the site or social media.
This will be done by the images chosen and the language selected.
The concept of pathos will present itself when an individual or organization is working on branding as well. They want to present the core ideals in a way that is recognizable but not clumsy. It needs to be memorable but simple.
There will always be viewers that criticize your views or question your presentation, the internet has created an environment that is ripe with that. This ideal is the strategic phase to get ready for that interaction.
Preparing and understanding what logos represents will allow you to diffuse conflict and deal with even the harshest comments as you continue to post on social media.
You can discuss concepts with those playing “devil’s advocate” as well as those simply being the worst of critics.
To know your audience you have to know those that will dislike you as well.
Rhetoric leads to Quality Over Quantity for Social Media
The values of rhetoric are huge contributors to a positive presence on social media and the internet. But there are even more elements that can contribute as well after these are taken care of.
To learn more about establishing a positive web presence with marketing and design stop by the Infinite Design blog for further content!