8 Ways to Use Psychology in Your Social Media Marketing



Give your audience only the best of the options – don’t give them all the options. This will not only bring up the quality level of what you’re offering by removing the crap, but fewer choices will allow them to actually choose what to absorb.


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Social media is just one massive social gathering of regular people. Even though our activity is online, the same psychological traits that humans exhibit offline are just as true in the realm of digital communications.

In fact, you could even say that social media magnifies these psychological traits. It cuts out the mundane moments, and only allows the higher highs, and the lower lows to appear.

Marketing and psychology have gone hand in hand since the early days of the Madison Men working in the agencies of New York. It’s no-brainer that many social media marketing techniques can be enhanced by using some well-known psychology techniques.

If you’re looking to give your social media a little bump, these techniques could help you out.

1. Emotions Are Contagious

Going viral is a great example of how emotions can get the best of us. When there’s a video of a puppy that pulls our heartstrings, we share it. When there’s an emotional disaster of large magnitude, we share it. The more extreme the emotion, the more likely it is to be shared.

One of the largest studies on the emotions expressed on social media showed that having emotion in your post was more likely to make an impact. You can use this to your advantage by ensuring your content has emotional narratives. Don’t just post the facts, post your feelings about them.

2. Gifts Encourage Responses

There’s a common psychological sales tactic called “reciprocity” that works well offline and online. The theory is if you give someone something, anything, they’ll feel the need to reciprocate. Online platforms take full advantage of this feeling with contests and gifts. If you ask them to share a post for a chance to win, they will. If you offer them a free course in exchange for an email address, they’ll give it to you.

3. Familiarity Fosters Likeability

This one is a pretty simple concept that’s been well tested. It basically follows the principal the more you’re exposed to someone, the more likely you are to actually like them – especially when they’re offering you something of value. Put this to work for you by simply being in front of people as much as possible, and delivering great content.

The more you do this, the more they’ll like you. It’s actually the whole theory behind branding. Branding works by exposing people to brands over and over again, and that will lead to the same familiarity that they’ll feel when they’re in front of the product on store shelves. Even if they’ve never used any of the products, they’ll choose the one they’ve seen more.

4. Profile Photos Matter

Many psychological tests have been done on photos to determine which one people are more predisposed to liking. Usually, a smile is preferred over a static face. A dark background is preferred over a light one. And now, something animated is preferred over something static. Take advantage of the new rules for profile pics to boost the chances people will check you out.

5. Social Feedback Leads to a Feeling of Belonging

This is going to sound pretty obvious, but connecting with people on social media will leave them feeling more connected. I know – it’s not exactly rocket science, but if you’re not replying and engaging with the people that are talking to you, you’re turning you back on the members of your audience that are the most loyal.

You also don’t have to wait for these people to reach out to you – reach out to them first. Cycle through your feed and pick people out. Tweet at them and share their stories. This will engage them and bring them in to your community. It’s also an excellent way to find great content to share.

6. Offer Few Choices

This one may be mind-blowing, but the paradox of choice is the psychological theory that the more choices you have, the less likely you are to choose one. Seems counterintuitive. Usually companies prefer the “more is better” approach, but brands like Apple have found that less is more. That’s why there’s only so many MacBook’s to choose from.

Give your audience only the best of the options – don’t give them all the options. This will not only bring up the quality level of what you’re offering by removing the crap, but fewer choices will allow them to actually choose what to absorb.

7. Oversharing

People are self-centered. It’s probably something you knew, but social media showcases this in a big way. Brands often spend a lot of time talking about themselves. However, people spend 80% of their time talking about themselves. That means only 20% of the time they’re going to talk about your brand.

Take advantage of this needy nature by talking less about yourself, and more about your audience. You can use this social media cheat sheet to figure out who your audience is, then make sure your posts are about them. Make sure you’re talking about things that relate to them, if not about them directly. You’ll find that your posts are shared much easier when they can relate to them.

8. People Take Advice from People They Don’t Even Know

Most people have a hard time making decisions. Word of mouth advertising is one of the most effective ways to advertise. When you combine these two, you have a perfect storm for online experts. Most people will do their research before buying something, and approximately 50% of them turn to blogs of people they’ve never met to help them guide their decision.

You can tap into this by making yourself the expert. Have your content marketing strategy position your website or blog with the knowledge people need to make a decision, and you’ll be on your way to taking advantage of this. When people go to search for advice, your website or blog is likely to come up more often. It’s win-win.

Psychology has been around for hundreds of years, and marketers are now seeing all the various ways that it applies to social media. It turns out, people aren’t that much different when interacting online.

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