5 Ways to Use Psychology to Boost Your Social Media Strategy
Social media is one of the main channels for customer engagement. However, just because a post or a picture is published on social media, doesn’t mean it will engage your audience, boost conversions and increase sales. In order to succeed, you have to capture your audience’s attention and create a positive reaction in the community.
Incorporating relevant psychology lessons to your social media strategy is a great way to do it. Here are 5 psychology principles that explain the ways people’s perceptions, thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and behaviors are shaped. Apply these concepts in your social media initiatives to boost their effectiveness.
1. Social Proof
Social proof or social influence is a psychological phenomenon that refers to the tendency of looking at others, especially peers, in cases of uncertainty. Communities on social media likely to jump on this bandwagon. For instance, if a post has a large number of likes and reshares, people perceive it as more trustworthy and are more likely to reshare it themselves.
There are many types of social proof digital marketers can implement in their strategies:
- Celebrity social proof – a proof from celebrities such as actors, musicians, models and social media celebrities that endorse your service or product.
- Expert Social Proof – a recommendation from an expert or other authorities in your industry.
- User social proof – positive recommendations or testimonies from current or past users of your products or services.
- The Wisdom of Friends – product approval from friends, family and other trusted peers.
- The Wisdom of the Crowds – the proof of a large group of people who are endorsing your brands with, e.g. likes, comments, shares, and tweets.
- Certification – a stamp of approval by an authority of your industry or e.g. badges or signs of trust from a website.
Whichever strategy you choose to implement, remember that while many likes, shares, and comments can build trust, having zero engagement can lead to the opposite and discourage people from consuming your content.
For inspiration, check out how Smashbox partnered with celebrities in the beauty industry to promote their products. This campaign engaged a niche audience on social media. For instance, the beauty vlogger Casey Holmes posted an image of herself using their product and received more than 29,000 likes and more than 500 comments.
2. The Halo Effect
The halo effect was discovered by Edward Thorndike back in 1915. The halo effect is the “widespread human tendency in impression formation to assume that once a person possesses some positive or negative characteristic, other as yet unknown qualities will also be positive or negative, in other words, consistent with the existing impression.” In short, it means that if an evaluator trusts that a person has one positive trait, they automatically believe the person also has other positive qualities.
Many large companies, like Apple, use the halo effect to boost sales. For instance, Apple’s personal computers are technically adequate, but they aren’t exceptional performers. However, they still sell since users associate Apple with glossy and beautiful iPods and iPads. In this case, the quality of some products rubs off on all the other products too.
Essentially, in social media marketing, the halo effect means you have to create as many positive traits for your brand as you can. If you post high-quality content on Facebook, it will benefit the perception of other areas of your branding too.
3. Visual Psychology
It’s no secret that colors have an impact on how we feel. Numerous studies show the link between particular visual content and the effect on website’s conversion rates. In fact, The Pantone Color Institute explores how color influences human thought processes, emotions, and physical reactions, offering professionals a deeper understanding of how to use colors more effectively.
You can use visual psychology in many ways to improve your social media game. One way to do this is by determining the needs of your business and adjusting your color scheme accordingly. For instance, blue, purple, and green can better attract the attention of a female audience.
Additionally, blue also stands for trustworthiness, responsibility and security. This is the reason why many big brands, including Facebook, have chosen this color for their visual identity. In fact, many industries like tech, finance, and lifestyle spaces are dominated by this color. As an example, check out how telecommunications company AT&T has implemented visual psychology in their Facebook branding.
FOMO (the fear of missing out) is “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent.” This means that we tend to experience a feeling of anxiety and regret when we see other people having more novel experiences and satisfying events. This social anxiety means that we continually desire to stay connected to what others are doing. Additionally, it’s connected to the self-determination theory, which explains that the feeling of connectedness with others is a legitimate psychological need.
FOMO is one of the reasons we use social media. Your brand can benefit from it as well. For instance, if you have an upcoming event, you can promote it by creating FOMO and showing what people would be missing out on if they don’t follow your call to action. The Houston Rockets used this tactic with a compelling Twitter post:
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) January 29, 2018
5. The Propinquity Effect
The propinquity effect was introduced in the 1950s by psychologists Leon Festinger, Stanley Schachter, and Kurt Back. They researched student apartments on the MIT campus to see how friendships and romantic relationships are formed. The conclusion of the study was simple — the more frequently we interact with someone, the more likely we are to become friends with them.
You can simply implement this psychology lesson in your social media strategy by facilitating chats and being involved in conversations. Customers are more likely to become invested in your brand’s image if you interact with them and provide a user-friendly experience. A great example is Zappos.com, that has a reputation for excellent customer service which is achieved by actively responding to customer comments on social media.
Where to Start?
Are you ready to start using psychology lessons to your advantage? Start by getting to know your audience to find the best way to approach them. If you know what makes your audience “tick,” it’s more likely that your social media strategies will be effective. An easy and fast way to explore your customers online is by using some of the well-known analytics tools like:
- Google Analytics and Google Trends for detailed web analytics
- Buffer for researching engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn
- Capsulink to shorten your links and analyze your audience
- Talkwalker for analyzing hashtags and keywords.
Ultimately, by knowing your audience and implementing psychological lessons accordingly will improve the chances of your brand to be liked, followed and appreciated on social media.
You might also be interested in our video on Digital Transformation