Leveraging Psychology to Improve Your Social Media Marketing

Human beings are made up of both a body and a mind. The mind of a human being informs the body to take action such as to make a purchase. Because the mind informs the body, it is of paramount importance to leverage the psychology of the human mind to gain the largest possible returns on social media marketing.

Social Media and Communication

Many people use social media to wind down after a long stressful day at work. Studies show that using a computer takes less power from your brain’s “communication center” than relating to an actual person. When a person communicates with another, he or she is constantly processing all the wordless elements of a conversation: hand gestures, tone and pitch of voice and facial expressions. Without these elements, a conversation would be a dull and drab activity carried out in a monotone and devoid of character and color.

The use of social media permits a form of virtual communication. Virtual experiences are defined as those that take on the qualities of real experiences without actually existing. The creators of virtual games involving danger argue that, because all risk is removed, a virtual experience is better that the real one. Because interaction with a computer requires less emotional involvement than that with another human being, it is understandable that those who are emotionally drained after a day at work would seek to “connect” using social media. As a marketer, you can leverage this tendency and use it to your advantage.

In order to reel in potential customers to consider your products, you need to place yourself inside their minds for a moment and ask yourself: “What is my target customer looking for in my product?”

The Halo

One of the most effective marketing tactics makes use of what is called the “halo effect.” The psychological phenomenon of the halo effect was discovered in 1915. The halo effect is caused when a person notices at least one positive trait about another such as courage, kindness or consideration. This observation will make the person believe that all other qualities of the person under discussion are also positive. The halo effect in social media marketing involves the use of high-quality, authoritative content and interesting posts. If you can get your target audience interested in your social media profile, the audience is more likely to trust the quality of the services or products you are trying to sell.

Online Emotions

Did you know that emotions shared online are contagious? In a study performed to evaluate the effect of rainy weather on people across the nation, researchers discovered that rainy-day gloom was transmitted through the Facebook platform to friends who lived in places where it wasn’t raining. Positive emotions are stronger than negative emotions. While negative posts garnered approximately 1.29 responses from friends, positive posts prompted approximately 1.75 more positive posts. To leverage the emotional side of social media marketing, keep your posts cheerful and positive. Positive posts and comments equal happy customers. If you receive any negative feedback, deal with it promptly to prevent a ripple effect from occurring.


The decoy effect is used to get customers to make a decision fast. Here’s an example of how the decoy effect works. Pretend that you’re a restaurant operator. You want to sell large numbers of a relatively small cheeseburger. In order to make the cheeseburger look especially appealing, you would display two other food choices along with it: a healthy but not-so-tasty salad and huge double-decker cheeseburger dripping with grease. By making the choice you want your customers to choose appear disproportionately better than the other ones, you stand a very high chance of success. Who wants a yucky-tasting salad, even if it is healthy? Providing an excuse for your customers to choose the middle ground between something that is less-than-palatable and something considered too unhealthy. Rest assured, your customers will appreciate it.

Picture Perfect

Photographs play a huge role in the perceptions a person has of your social media profile. If your photograph gives the impression of shadiness, untrustworthiness or laziness, your potential customers are less likely to select your product. If you intend to make a good impression, take the time to get a good photo with good lighting by a professional.

Color Me Beautiful

While there have been multiple attempts to pin down the effects that color has on advertising, it all comes down to how you use color. No matter the goal of your business, it’s important to ensure that your color combinations are coordinated. CTA buttons should be a color different from the overall theme color of the website to prevent it from blending in. When using colors, keep in mind the gender of your target audience. Men tend to prefer certain colors over women and vice versa. Catering to your audience will help ensure the success of your social media marketing campaign.

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