This article by Shane Barker is part of our Blogtober event, which features blog posts written by industry influencers in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Do you want the posts from your social media campaigns shared by everyone? Do you strive to increase your social media ROI from all resources, but end up doing the opposite? If the answer is “yes,” then you need to make a serious attempt at getting deep into the psychology of your audience. You'll need to identify the psychological trigger points that set off the sharing spree. It's only then that you’ll be able to create epic social media campaigns that spread like wildfire.
You might not realize this, but what you really need is good insight into neuromarketing to build thriving social media campaigns. Neuromarketing is the art of persuading a person's subconscious mind to act. Once you understand the concepts of neuromarketing, you’ll find that it’s the best way to capitalize on your social media audience. It’s not as complex as it sounds. Let’s first take a general example to understand how neuromarketing works.
In the book Brainfluence, author and marketing expert Roger Dooley cites the example of how olfactory senses of smell can change perception about a product. He demonstrates through an experiment that a shampoo that smells better is perceived to foam better than one that lacks a great fragrance. This is despite the fact that both have identical ingredients. So what matters here is the creation of a perception that entices people to act, which is what neuromarketing is all about. Perception plays a vital role in the success of social media campaigns. That's what we will break down further here.
First and foremost, you need to know what your audience loves to tailor your social media campaigns accordingly. Figure out their interests and what they expect from you. Do you know when they're most socially active online? What content do they want? Which influencers do they like the most? All of these questions must be answered.
You should know your targeted social audience enough to trigger the sharing action. Use helpful social media tools like Followerwonk to get information about your Twitter audience with a bio word-cloud. When you have access to data about your audience, you can easily make positive changes to your posts that pique interest and increase shares.
Social liking is one of the persuasion principles described by Robert Cialdini. The likes on social media sites like Facebook are not mere numbers; they're social validation that your brand is a preferred one. It's no secret that people are more trusting of a brand when they know their friends and relatives also have placed their faith in the brand.
Here’s an example of how social liking it can work for your business's social media campaigns. The South American flower delivery company daFlores saw a whopping 44% increase in sales when they made it evident on their advertisements that they're privileged to have over 600,000 likes on Facebook. The company intelligently leveraged the psychology of social validation to see higher sales.
It's natural for you to feel that in-depth content that analyzes all aspects on a given topic will command greater readership. The reality is far from it though. The attention span of Internet readers is quickly dwindling. Therefore, it's necessary that you cater to these audiences through skimmable content. Content that gives the gist of the story with a minimum amount of writing is always a winner and more likely to go viral.
Your skimmable content should be embellished with catchy titles and subtitles that hold readers' attention. Of course, you must also maintain some deep content for those who really want to read all about your products and services. That doesn’t take away from the fact that there's a sizeable population that's perpetually hard-pressed for time and in need of skimmable content.
In her book The 10 Biggest Mistakes Case Study Writers Make, Casey Hibbard says that there are two types of audiences: “readers” and “skimmers.” You need to cater to the skimmers who usually read only:
Making these post features attractive is essential for the resounding success of your social media campaigns.
Joy and excitement are positive feelings that people often feel compelled to share. Even if it's unrelated to your business, write a post about something that's positive and generating huge interest. For instance, if you own a restaurant and a local chef is being featured in the nation’s most popular cooking reality show, you might want to follow the story and keep your audience abreast of new developments at every step.
Food lovers are naturally going to comment and share your news story updates. In the mean time, they'll also develop an affinity for your business. A global study conducted by Ipsos revealed that sharers on social media campaigns prefer “interesting” topics the most at 61%, “important” topics at 43%, and “funny” topics at 43%.
People are more likely to share content that gives rise to emotions like sympathy, awe, and happiness. It's vital that you trigger these emotions if you want your posts to go viral. Before you post your content, run it through an emotional check. See if it makes you laugh, feel vulnerable, or brings you to tears. If it creates an emotional connection in you, it’ll work for your social media audiences. Emotion binds people to brands even when they have the option of purchasing an unbranded item for a much cheaper price.
Now, the challenge lies in mixing your brand with an emotion that compels people to share. The theory was put to test by Jonah Berger in his publication on Psychological Science. He subjected a set of 93 students to two different videos. One of the videos aroused strong emotions while the other was designed to generate no such emotion. The results found that the group viewing videos that rendered stronger emotions were more inclined to share the video.
For your brand to make an emotional connect with the audience, it needs to be representative of something too. As a business owner, you must know that your brand must stand for something or else you'll be branding for nothing. The whole point of branding in social media campaigns is to portray your company in the right light to the right people.
The recent online campaign by Dove is the perfect example of this. Dove has always projected itself as a supporter of natural beauty. Continuing with its stand, the company created a video titled “You’re More Beautiful Than You Think," which garnered more than 66 million views. It went beyond YouTube and received thousands of shares on Facebook. It was also tweeted thousands of times with the trending hashtag #WeAreBeautiful.
“Timing is everything” is a popular phrase that holds a lot of water when it comes to engaging with your audience during social media campaigns. You don’t want your well-written posts to be lost in the oblivion of cyberspace because other messages are constantly bombarding your followers' profiles. So, the big question is when should you post and how often?
According to a study published by Fast Company, photos generate 53% more likes and 104% more comments. Wednesday at 3pm is the peak time for getting maximum engagement on Facebook. However, the peak time is Monday to Thursday, 9am to 3pm, on Twitter. Do your own experiment to find the right time for when your targeted audience is most active on your platforms.
Sharing intriguing stories is probably the best way to engage your audience. Encourage your social media followers to share stories and publish them on your Facebook wall. They could also publish them on your website or link them to Twitter. Getting your followers involved will bring in an element of personalization and belonging to your social media campaigns.
Remember that a great story doesn't need to be a lengthy one. You can creatively convey a story through images, videos, or even a Vine. Keep in mind that you should be adding credibility and emotional appeal to your social media campaigns while ensuring you embed a need to associate with your brand. According to Marketing Sherpa, the fashion brand Lilly Pulitzer was able to engage an audience of over 4.4 million through storytelling on Instagram.
Humans are visual beings, so it's no surprise that videos and images are favored over giant walls of text. When it comes to social media campaigns, images are truly worth a thousand words. They convey the message more effectively in a much shorter time. On the other hand, videos are more engaging and demand lesser effort from the audience to understand the message. People won't have to wade through the tedious texts to recognize what your brand is conveying. Here are a few tools that can be quite effective in this realm:
Based on Twitter official data, photos provide a 35% hike in retweets to verified users. Also, posts on Facebook with photos see 53% more likes.
Endorsements have been a part of marketing for decades. The onset of social media campaigns has given a whole new platform for endorsements, especially by celebrities. Take for instance footballer Chad Ochocinco who famously said, “Why do I need a podium? I’ve got three million followers on Twitter. That’s my podium.”
There's great truth in what Johnson said. What better way to endorse your product than simply asking for an endorsement from a celebrity? Any post endorsed by a celebrity, industry giant, or other influencer can get you lots of exposure. Endorsements inspire confidence in your brand to maximize effort in your social media campaigns.
Hashtags are extremely important when you're creating a marketing campaign on social media, especially Twitter. Find trending hashtags on Twitter rather than trying to create your own. By going along with the flow of trends, you stand a better chance in gaining visibility and generating more shares in the form of re-tweets and favorites.
Let’s understand this with an example. When we discussed the case study involving Dove, we mentioned the trending hastag #WeAreBeautiful. What would've happened if the company had chosen #AreYouBeautiful? Compare the two and you’ll see the difference. Whereas #WeAreBeautiful is a continuously high-trending hashtag, #AreYouBeautiful is used sparingly on Twitter.
Asking questions is perhaps the best form of engagement with your audience in social media campaigns. Bring an element of personalization by posting lifestyle questions to your audience or simply inquiring how their weekend went. People love sharing information about themselves and reading answers posted by others in their circle.
Then, you must make a point to publish questions specifically about your brand. Ask for feedback about your product. Post questions that lead to potential sales or at least lead generation. You’ll need a dedicated social media team for this because you’d be spreading yourself too thin handling all questions by yourself. Remember that answering your audience when they pose a question to you is equally important.
Social media is a digital space where people primarily want to simply “chill” and spend some relaxing time. So, never be uptight when communicating with your audience. Use the “social media lingo” and a conversational tone. Make use of contractions without overdoing it. It's important that you remain professional, but also get down to the same level as your audience to feel authentic. Don't forget that this is one chance for you to get up-close with your audience.
People scour social media to find special deals. Therefore, offering free downloadable guides, freebies, and discounts will allow for a high level of engagement in your social media campaigns. For example, 1-800-Flowers.com saw 4,000 transactions and a doubling of their Facebook fan count when they announced a 15% discount on social media for Valentine’s Eve.
Businesses today should be using social media as a means to form stronger customer relationship bonds. Being a click away to respond to and resolve problems fast is key. This ultimately translates into better ROI. The communications giant AT&T formed a customer care branch specifically to interact with their Facebook audience. As a result, AT&T saw positive ROI and added over two million more Facebook fans. This could help your company boost social media ROI and obtain users' long-term trust.
Following the 15 tactics mentioned above will surely increase your follower base on social media and create great ROI. Remember that it's the consumer psychology you need to be on top of when planning social media campaigns. You might have to go through some trial and error initially, but you’ll ultimately find the path that works for you.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant, named the #1 social media consultant in the nation by PROskore Power Rankings. He has expertise in business development, online marketing and is an SEO specialist who has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and a number of A-list celebrities. You can follow him on Twitter for more great advice and articles.
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