Social Media and Psychology“Social media is just a buzzword until you come up with a plan”. It’s pretty evident that social media is a hit, more because of the “social ” factor and less because of the “media” factor. This means providing effective social media marketing services requires you to understand how and why people interact with content. This means understanding the psychology behind why some content go viral and some never see more than a “random like” here and there. In this article, we will look at some psychology-based pointers on how to effectively market through social channels.

In this piece, you will learn the psychology behind:

   – What makes people trust a brand on Social?

   – How do colours and visuals affect audience behaviour?

   – The power of emotions and personal experiences for making sales

   – Value of reciprocity for building brand trust

   – Why people share content and the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)!

1. Why do people trust Social Media Accounts?

Let’s just lead with this- people don’t trust marketing/advertising from brands. Surveys reveal that 76% of consumers hold the belief that content shared by “regular” people is more honest than content shared by brands. See, the bottom line is people aren’t buying from you unless they trust you. The trust in social media is only established when you make people feel part of a “gang” or “squad” or “tribe” as someone who is part of a larger group. Whenever typical digital marketing companies market for their clients, rather than pointing out to customers that they are missing out;  they make them feel that “their people” are already enjoying xyz product/service. User-Generated Content (UGC) and positive customer reviews also go a long way in ensuring higher trust and engagement.

2. How colours and visuals affect audience behaviour

Studies from the Current Health Sciences Journal reveal that close to 65% of people are visual learners. Visual aids like videos, photos or illustrations are one of the key communication tools for effective marketing via social channels. It’s been established that customers make up their mind to buy or not to buy a particular product within 90 seconds of the first interaction. Up to 62%  to 90 % of the assessment is based on colours.  Colours convey a message, so whenever you put out certain colours on your social posts, think about the message you want to convey and the brand voice you want to put out.

3. Emotions and Personal Experiences

Evoking emotions has proven to get the message shared across faster and by larger audiences. When people are psychologically aroused due to emotional stimuli or otherwise, social transmission is at its peak. However, it can’t be just any emotion that gets “viral” responses. The more positive the content, the better the chances of it being shared. Emotional contagion using emoticons and the human tendency to mimic emotions will help garner more engagement. Personal experiences of the customer will assign greater value to your products. The endowment effect is an effect where the mind is biased against products which you have owned. You can apply the endowment effect in social media by giving out free trials of products.

4. Reciprocity

It’s the age-old concept of scratching each other’s back. Take the initiative to be nice and caring for your customers and they will be nice to you in return. In the case of brands, it could range from freebies and giveaways to resource hubs and much more. In return, you can ask them to perform any desirable favour for you, such as purchasing a product or liking your social channels, etc. It has to be mentioned though, that you should do good without any expectations. You have to rely on the goodwill of a few good people.

5. Why do people share?

People share stories which relate to them or to other people. Here are 5 reasons why people post.

  1. Improve the lives of others- 94% of people shared to ‘improve the lives of their audience’
  2. Define Themselves- 68% of people shared content to create an idealized persona of themselves.
  3. To foster relationships- 80% of people share to make meaningful relationships.
  4. Self-fulfilment- In order to feel valuable while sharing.
  5. Share beliefs- To share causes, along with brands they care about.

In addition to this, there is a FOMO(Fear Of Missing Out ) in people. Nobody wants to be excluded. Even though it’s morally dubious to play on people’s insecurities, you can use a mild form of FOMO like “Offer expires at midnight ” to drive more actions from the audience.

All in all, in order to ensure a higher social media reach, it is pivotal to understand the psychology behind the social elements of social media. It will help boost brands to new heights of engagement and interaction.

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