Marketing has evolved and reinvented itself over and over. This is largely because people become desensitized and unresponsive to tired, played-out advertising strategies. For this reason, marketers are constantly finding new ways to engage their audience. When it comes to social media marketing, this is especially true. Currently, for example, the marketing world is being totally taken over by the all-powerful influencer.

Brands, influencers, and marketers have all learned important lessons in the past decade when it comes to social media marketing. One of the most important revelations is that marketing is most effective when it taps into their audience’s emotions. Whether it’s inciting joy, sadness, nostalgia, surprise, or curiosity, studies have found that affecting these emotions will drive certain behaviors. Knowing this, there have been many psychological studies done to help marketers understand and guide their strategies more effectively. The following are 4 psychological tactics that will boost your social media marketing efforts.

  1. The IKEA Effect

For anyone who’s built their own piece of furniture from IKEA, you know that once it’s complete, you feel a sense of accomplishment. Like, ya, I did that. Sure, the process is incredibly frustrating and requires alcohol to be enjoyable, but seeing the final product and being apart of turning it from a million little pieces into a solid unit is so gratifying.

Researchers studied the connection between self-made products and the valuation we place on them and found that they were definitely correlated. If we build something ourselves (like an IKEA unit), we tend to hold that item in higher value than if we bought the same thing already put together.

So how does this apply to social media marketing?  This “IKEA Effect” explains how including your social media audience in the development and production of a product will lead to them being more willing to pay more for the item. Letting them in on the creative process and, more importantly, including them in key decisions by asking for their feedback will make them set a higher valuation on the product and your brand altogether.

  1. Social Proof

“Social proof” is a concept that refers to the psychological and social phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect what they think is the correct behavior. It’s a type of conformity and can also be known as “information social influence”.
Influencer marketing is basically proof of this concept and a great way to leverage this for your marketing efforts. Influencers are so successful in selling products because of just that; people are more likely to purchase something if someone they identify with is using it too. Customer reviews and testimonials is another example of this. I hate to say it, but in many ways (at least when it comes to marketing), consumers are sheep (in the cutest, nicest way possible). Brands who utilize social proof by partnering with influencers and requesting reviews will be much more successful than brands who don’t.

  1. Self-Categorization

People like to self-categorize themselves into groups. They may say they don’t like being put into a box but we often do it to ourselves naturally. This “self-categorization” concept is very useful when it comes to marketing for consumer-driven categories.

When marketing, you should already be segmenting your audience into target segments. By considering which categories you’re placing your audience in, you’re able to better understand what type of content they’ll self-identify with. By putting out the right content, you’ll be helping your customer subconsciously draw connections between the categories they’ve identified with and your product.

  1. The Halo Effect

The “Halo Effect” refers to a type of cognitive bias in which our impressions of one quality impacts the perceptions of other qualities. For example, if your overall impression of someone is that they’re nice, you’ll automatically be biased into thinking that their other traits are positive as well. When people have a good impression of one characteristic, those good feelings will often affect perceptions of other qualities positively too. Basically, your feelings are rubbing off on each other.

When it comes to social media marketing (or any marketing, really), it’s useful to tap into this Halo Effect. If your audience is especially fond of one of your products or services, capitalize on that by spotlighting it more often. By doing this, you’re generating more positive perceptions of your other products. In short, when you’re promoting something new or unknown, try to lean it on products or services that you know your audience already loves.

Do be careful though, the Halo Effect swings both ways. If you place new products next to disliked or unattractive ones, the negative perception and bias will spread too.

 

These 4 psychological effects are just some of the many that can benefit your social media marketing game. While entire campaigns can be built around these effects, don’t lose your focus and marketing objectives.