A lot can be learned about the human mind by looking at social media.
The way that social media has taken off in the last few years is a tribute to just how it relates and connects with the average human psyche.
Being relatable on social media and having your audience engage with the content that you share is invaluable when it comes to growing your business.
Neuromarketing has been around for a while, but with social media on the rise, there has never been a better time to use the principles of neuromarketing to your advantage.
The best definition of neuromarketing by far comes from dictionary.com which states:
“Neuromarketing is the process of researching the brain patterns of consumers to reveal their responses to particular advertisements and products before developing new advertising campaigns and branding techniques.”
How your audience interacts with your brand on social media can be a great start when it comes to determining how your audience thinks.
Your social media channels are also a great way to get to know your audience on a deeper level, which then allows you to market to them more efficiently and effectively.
In fact, just by understanding a few cognitive processes and observing a few key things about your audience, you can even work out a method to increase your social media engagement.
Increasing social media engagement is not only a great way to get to know your audience but it is also a great way to build up a solid relationship with them.
When you have a solid relationship with your audience they are more likely to trust you, more likely to buy from you and more likely to stay loyal to your brand.
Building engagement can take a lot of work, as well as trial and error but with a few psychological tips and tricks, you can double or even triple your social media engagement very quickly.
If you are looking to build your social engagement, here are some of our favourite tips that are all back by psychological research-
1. The Halo Effect
The halo effect is a cognitive bias that someone has towards another person or even another brand.
According to wikipedia-
“The halo effect or halo error is a cognitive bias in which one’s judgements of a person’s character can be influenced by one’s overall impression of him or her.”
People naturally judge and categorise others based on their looks, demeanour and personality. Even if our judgements are not necessarily accurate, they form a bias towards that person.
For example, lets say that you are at a business meeting with a new client that is wearing an expensive suit and a very expensive watch. Even with having no other information on this person, you may start to automatically assume that this is a person of power or authority. You may even start to notice the authority of this person even more.
Basically, the Halo Effect results in us using our judgements to form a personal bias, whether it is true or untrue. As we form this bias, we tend to notice it more and more, which then ultimately creates the “halo effect”.
The Halo Effect was first developed by researcher, Edward Thorndike, who observed that when someone was found to have one positive trait, the perception of that person changed to be more positive.
Just the same, when someone was found to have a negative trait, the perception of that person changed to be more negative.
So, how can this help you with social media marketing?
You need to create your own halo effect by presenting as many positive traits as you can. By doing this, your audience are more likely to perceive the value of your brand as being higher.
There are so many ways you can use this to your advantage, but for social media here is what you can do-
If you really want to make an impact on social media, you need to be active on at least three different accounts. This can be very time consuming and challenging, especially if you don’t have your own social media team.
A way around this however, would be to use the Halo Effect to increase the perceived value of your social media.
To do this, focus on really building up one social media account and having it as your main go-to place. Work on sharing valuable content, offering lots of information and always reply back to commenters and sharers.
By doing so, it can help to increase the perceived value of all your other social media accounts, with no extra effort at all.
If your audience can see that you are really crushing it in one area, they are not only going to increase the perceived value of your brand, but your overall public image will also be enhanced.
This is a simple, yet psychologically proven technique that can really help you to boost your perceived value and engagement rates all at the same time.
2. Post What is Most Shared
If you really want your social media efforts to pay off big time, then you have to be picky in what you choose to share.
For the best results and especially if you are just starting to get you social media page off the ground, you need to post content that is likely to get shared and that your audience finds valuable.
Most social media sites like Facebook, also give more visibility to pages that have higher engagement rates.
But how can you ensure that the content you post is going to get shared?
There are a few fail proof ways that you can ensure your content on social media is going to go viral.
#1 Sharing Viral Videos
Find videos in your niche that have already gone viral. YouTube, Vine and Vimeo are all great places to start with this. Repost these videos with a catchy tagline and some hashtags, and you are bound to get some shares.
#2 Finding Inspiration from Competitors
Chances are you are going to have competitors in your industry that already have well-established social media pages. Take a look at the type of content they are sharing and use it for your own inspiration. You can also experiment with posting similar or even the same content that has gone viral on their feed.
#3 Stick to interesting, important and funny content
It seems generic, but one study found that people who share content on social media generally do so because it is interesting, funny or important.
“Global citizens who indicate they have shared some type of content online on social media sites in the past month seek primarily to ‘share interesting things’ (61 percent), ‘to share important things’ (43 percent), and to ‘share funny things’ (43 percent).”- Ipos market research company
To determine what is funny, interesting or important, you first have to really know and understand your audience. It may take some trial and error, but this should give you some idea of where to begin.
3. Give Away Freebies to Your Audience
“Free” is definitely a psychological trigger for most people. When you give away something for free that your audience deems valuable, it helps to spark engagement and curiosity into your brand.
When you offer something for free, your audience will also feel indebted to your brand and is more likely to do business with you.
This is backed by research that proves humans often feel obliged to repay someone when someone does them a favour or offers them something for free.
Even if this free item is small, if it holds value for your audience, it is going to get them engaging with your brand.
A good example of this comes from a fitness brand that gave their social media followers a free downloadable calendar that allowed them to track their fitness goals and workout schedule.
This calendar went on to to be downloaded thousands of times and helped the brand to increase their social media following and engagement.
Other good ideas to give away to your audience include-
- one month subscription
- coupon codes
This simple technique will help to boost the engagement of your audience in no time, and will help to boost your brand’s overall image.
4. Maximise Social Proof
Social proof is another great psychologically proven way to get people interested and engaged with your brand.
When people see that others have used or purchased your brand’s products or services, they are more likely to be interested themselves.
This is very similar to the theory of peer pressure. When we see others doing something, chances are we want to do it also.
Social proof can help to create the essence of peer pressure and can persuade your audience to do business with your brand.
Social proof is defined as-
“The concept that people will conform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are reflective of the correct behaviour.”
Social media is a great place to showcase social proof. Here are a few ways you can use social proof –
- Share user generated content
- Share images of people using your products or services
- Share testimonials or reviews
- Share images of celebrities or authority figures using your product
- Encourage users to share images of your product
- Encourage users to use promotional hashtags
- Have an industry expert share your content on their social media page
As you can see there are many ways to leverage social proof on social media and the results are well worth it.
Social proof is a great way to get your customers and audience confident in your brand and trusting enough to carry through with that purchase.
5. Take a Trip Down Memory Lane
Another psychological trick that neuromarketers use all the time is nostalgia.
As we get older, most of us tend to look back on our childhood with fond memories. We feel a warm attachment when we think of things that we had or did during our childhood.
Tapping into this feeling of nostalgia can be powerful and can help to significantly increase social media engagement.
In fact, Dr Robert M. Brecht did a lot of research into the effectiveness of nostalgia and marketing. Brecht claims-
“Marketing research clearly shows a positive resonance with both nostalgic ads and the products advertised. It even shows more persuasive influence on customers….When consumers experience nostalgia in a consumption context, they have a higher purchase likelihood with regard to the advertised product.”
When you incorporate nostalgia into your social media marketing strategy, it can help to trigger this powerful psychological response, which can help to boost engagement levels.
A great way to take advantage of posting nostalgic content on social media is to utilise the popular hashtags- #throwbackthursday and #flashbackfriday.
There are many approaches you can take when it comes to creating nostalgia, but the first step is to work out which time period is going to be most nostalgic for your audience.
If your main demographic are millennials, you are going to be dealing with an audience that grew up in the late nighties and early two-thousands.
This should give you some idea as to what is going to create fond memories for them.
You can then share images, popular products, fashion trends or fads from this time period. This is likely to boost engagement rates and get your audience talking for days to come.
6. Create A Feeling of Scarcity
Creating scarcity is about creating fear- the fear of missing out. No one wants to miss out, which is why it is considered a powerful psychological trigger.
Many brands already use the fear of missing out to help drive sales and advertising campaigns. Whenever you hear- “limited time only” or “while supplies last” or “hurry only a few left”, you are witnessing “fear of missing out marketing”.
When it comes to your social media page, there are a few ways you can use scarcity to gain more followers and higher engagement rates. This includes, running a limited time competition, offering a free gift for a limited time period or launching promotional coupon codes.
The aim with this is that you want social media followers to feel as if they need to take action immediately, otherwise they are going to miss out on the opportunity.
7. Don’t Forget that Social Media is Social
The human mind is a fragile thing. When one of your followers takes the time and effort to write a comment or share their experience on one of your social media pages, not replying can be like a slap in the face.
If you want to boost the engagement rates of your audience, you first have to set the example by being active yourself. This means that you need to reply to comments, answer questions and be genuinely interested in what your audience has to say.
This is also going to help you to build up a stronger rapport with your audience and it is also going to help you to get to know your audience better. Really, this is win-win for everyone involved.
8. Know Why Your Audience Engages
Knowledge is power. Have you ever stopped to consider why your audience engages on social media in the first place?
When you can have an understanding of the psychology of your audience, it can also help you to use neuromarketing to your advantage.
To get you started, here is statistically what research has found when it comes to why people engage on Facebook-
- 84 percent of users engage to support the brand
- 83 percent of users engage to receive regular updates from the brand
- 66 percent of users engage to get a coupon code or discount
- 40 percent of users engage to research brands for specific products and services
- 36 percent of users engage when they see that their friends are a fan
- 40 percent of users engage to share their interests with others
- 37 percent of users engage to participate in contests
- 28 percent of users engage because they saw an ad that led them to the page
- 31 percent of users engage because they were recommended to like the brand
- 26 percent of users engage to share their positive experience with the brand
By looking at the results of this study, you can see that one of the main reasons people engage with brands on social media is to support and receive regular updates from the brand.
This is very valuable information as it allows you to tailor your social feed to deliver what your audience really wants.
If your users want regular updates, use your social feed to go above and beyond. Give them behind the scenes access, give them special information and make them feel good about supporting your brand.
9. Make Your Audience Feel Included
Everyone wants to feel included. In fact, psychology tells us that when you include someone in the decision making process, they are going to feel more loyal and more committed to that decision.
Food companies do this all the time when they ask their audience to design new chip or ice-cream flavours.
By getting your audience involved in the decision making process, it can help your audience to feel included and part of something bigger.
There are so many ways you can do this on social media such as running a poll, asking for your audience’s opinion, sharing your thought processes and asking for feedback.
When you involve your audience, it allows them to feel more connected to your brand and more likely to choose your brand over your competitor.
A good example of this in action comes from the brand, Golden Tote which is a monthly subscription service that allows users to pick a tote. The subscriber gets to pick two items and the rest of the items are surprises.
In order to encourage more subscribers, the brand regularly asks their social media followers to rate and select which totes they should offer next.
These posts end up scoring hundreds of thousands of engagements and help their audience to feel valued and important.
10. Reward Your Audience
Humans are simple creatures. If you want to encourage a behaviour, you need to reward it.
The same goes for engagement on social media. If your fans engage, share, like and comment, you need to reward this “good behaviour” accordingly.
There are other ways that you can do this besides offering freebies or creating extra work for yourself.
Here are a few suggestions-
- Simply thank your follower for sharing, liking or commenting
- Offer your social followers special promotions they can’t get anywhere else
- Give your social following first access to new products or information
- Give away surprise bonuses or special rewards for social media followers
When you genuinely care and reward your audience in this way, it helps to improve engagement rates and it also helps your brand to establish a positive image.
Boosting engagement on social media is easy when you follow these psychological tips and tricks.
Here is a summary of all the things you need to do to maximise social media engagement-
- Focus on one social media platform and do it well, this will help to enhance the perceived value of your other social media sites
- Post viral content or content that is most shared, this will help to boost engagement rates and will increase the visibility of your feed
- Giveaway freebies to your audience to entice them and keep them actively interested in following you
- Use social proof to help boost the reputation of your brand and increase consumer confidence
- Create a feeling of nostalgia as this makes your brand relatable and stirs up emotion which then gets people engaging in your content
- Tap into the fear of missing out by creating exclusivity and limited time offers
- Be social on social media and don’t forget to reply to comments and questions
- Know why your audience engages on social media and give them more of what they want
- Make your audience feel included by asking for their opinion or allowing them to be part of your decision making process
- Reward good behaviour and thank your audience for engaging and being part of your brand’s community.