Three benefits of using scarcity marketing in social media

Deciding when to use scarcity tactics in your marketing efforts takes careful strategic planning to be effective. Furthermore, you should be extra careful when considering using scarcity marketing in your social media platforms as there is an added component of engagement and instant feedback that may impact the performance of your content. According to Dr. Cialdini’s principles of persuasion, scarcity is the concept of people want[ing] more of those things they can have less of. In an age where FOMO (fear of missing out) has become more prevalent, some psychologists suggest that it has actually contributed to the success of social media. As a result, marketers have capitalized on this, which has revealed a few benefits of using this strategy. 


You know that feeling you get when you’ve been told or offered something that only a few people know? You feel privileged and special knowing that you’re getting an exclusive first look or experience that others won’t have. That’s exactly what Pinterest did when they first launched. They sent out exclusive invitations to help introduce their product. They instantly saw tremendous traction and due to the success of their campaign, their brand awareness saw a significant increase and usage of their product on a global scale. That is the impact you can make when using scarcity tactics in your social media marketing. Your content is already being shown to a captive audience so adding an extra layer of exclusivity helps to generate excitement, curiosity, and encourages engagement.

Sense of Urgency

Another benefit of using scarcity as a tool of persuasion is that it helps to create a sense of urgency. Sometimes consumers can get caught up in exploring different options and feel uncertain about committing to a purchase decision. By doing so, they are delaying their purchase waiting for a better deal or alternative to appear. To assist with moving customers further down the purchase funnel quicker, companies appeal to scarcity by highlighting that the offer will only be available for a limited time. Groupon does a great job with this as shown below. They include a running timer, an icon showing that the offer is selling fast, and often include the number of people who have viewed the same offer that day. The same strategy can be used in your social media posts to increase awareness, engagement, and interest in your brand or new product launch.

Generates Buzz

Lastly, generating buzz is another positive result of effectively using scarcity marketing. Starbucks was very successful with this when they introduced their #UnicornFrappuccino. The introduction of such a unique product caught the attention of their followers that resulted in increased levels of engagement including a record number of comments and shares.

In addition to generating buzz, they also benefited by creating a sense of urgency by offering this item for only a limited time. Needless to say, this was a highly sought out product that quickly sold out within the first day and was an immediate hit on Instagram. When you can get your audience excited or intrigued about your product you can get them talking about it and sharing it with their social network. 


Social media has begun and will continue to shape the way we interact with each other and with different brands. As a marketer, it’s important to truly understand your audience and what will pique their interest. When you have the opportunity to launch something new, funky, or unique, consider using scarcity as a way to introduce your new idea or product on social media. Just be sure to provide quality content to your audience so they trust your intentions and feel they are getting the best value for their time and money. By doing so, you may be pleasantly surprised by the outcome!