Pascal’s Wager and Social Media

Pascal's Wager, ParkerMather, Mikhail Bell,

What Is Pascal’s Wager?

“Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation, that He exists.” – Blaise Pascal, Pensees (1660)

Philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal wrote Pascal’s wager in 1660. The wager, appearing in his book Pensees (Thoughts), explains why belief in God’s existence makes sense.

If God exists, then following his recommended way of living results in a happy eternity known as heaven. If God exists, one tends to treat others with dignity instead of spite, kindness instead of greed, and extends love instead of distance.

If God does not exist, Pascal argues, it still makes more sense to live as though he does because living in this more compassionate manner is still better than the alternative.

How Does Pascal’s Wager Apply to Social Media?

Pascal’s wager underscores importance of belief. Like the wager posits, it makes sense to assume using social media will benefit your business.

With monthly active users of 1.35 billion on Facebook, 300 million on Twitter, over 400 million on Instagram, and an effective monopoly on LinkedIn, the data supports this position.

However you are probably wondering about applications for your brand. It two buckets: investment and optimization.

Invest in Social Media

Imagine running with holes in the soles. This is what it feels like to have insufficient resources to implement your social media strategy. That is why it is important to allocate funding, staff and time to support social media goals.


Strategies require iteration. After you determine your deliverables and approach to the problem, continue honing, or “optimizing,“ implementation.

Checking Belief in Social

Verification reinforces even the strongest reflection of faith. Here are two questions to ask about social media performance.

Is it delivering value in the way we expected? Follower growth, increased mentions, and sales can inform this analysis as data points.

How can ROI improve? Continue to iterate on approaches until you find the right fit. Spend $100 to test engagement on your ad and scale if it shows encouraging results. Also, look at your Google Analytics dashboard’s Behavior Flow to see where visitors are losing interest.

There is often shame associated with not executing a social media campaign perfectly. However learning happens through change. Even the best social media campaigns require some iteration.

How Do I Lead Social Media Change in My Organization?

Simply put organizations should believe in the effectiveness of social media. There are now innumerable case studies from across industries, using one or multiple platforms.

Yet social media marketers, managers, and directors constantly face this challenge. Here are a few tips for guiding change:

Find champions. These are decision makers who will advocate your proposal.

Share examples. Look within your industry for case studies to capture success.

Connect with supporters. As J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler says, “Surround yourself with people that get it.” Connect with industry friends and co-workers who understand your goal.

Hold onto your vision loosely. By the time your proposal is approved, it may have noticeably changed. Focus on getting wins because they build confidence, your reputation and network of supporters.

Further reading:

Pascal’s Wager

Deloitte Digital’s Digital Maturity Quiz

How Companies Become Digital Leaders

Why Social Media ROI Is Like Playing the Piano

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