You can make people click, but you can’t make them share.
Those were the wise words spoken to me by Mark Schaefer a few months ago as I listened intently to what he had to say.
If there is anyone that knows social, Mark does.
As I left for my hotel room that night, one thought kept irritating me. What if you could make people share? If not make them, then definitely encourage them to do so in a psychological manner.
Thus, this article.
After several months of research, I have learned a lot about how people share on social media. While you can’t make people do things, you can encourage them to make decisions based on what you say, how you say it, and how much what you have said has affected them.
The one avenue that brings all of this into light is through the human psyche and the use of emotional triggers constructed in a strategic manner.
Before we get into that, let’s get you up to speed on the emotions from a psychological standpoint.
The Main Emotions
First of all, it’s important to understand what you will be affecting. Robert Plutchik developed the Theory of Emotions that classified 8 different types of emotional responses as primary instinct in living things.
The main emotions that I would like to expose for your social strategy today are:
Let’s discuss each of these in sequence and talk about how you can use emotional triggers to create the desired response you want in social media.
This goes without saying.
A study conducted at Stanford University shares some insights as to why people are happy. One of these reasons they described is that a happy person has a choice.
They’re not constricted to one avenue of decision. People share because they are happy.
There is a psychological aspect of why you should want to make people smile; when they smile they feel better about themselves, and for one brief moment, you made that happen for them. It is natural to want to spread this to their friends and family.
As I’m writing this, I’m listening to Aerosmith’s Dream On. I love that song.
It makes me want to stop, listen, and look back on some things in my life. It sort of hits me at a soft spot in my heart.
That’s what sadness does. It links us emotionally to the presenter. Tragedies that have happened around the world have brought America closer because we relate to sadness.
A recent study at Berkeley suggests that sadness often works in the brain and influences our thoughts and behavior.
Anger, as revealed by the APA, can lead to a person holding firmly in their beliefs. Being stubborn in a way that creates a right brained response from a left brained trigger.
Anger also leads to negative emotions that cause people to build up emotional walls around themselves, therefore leaving us a lot of work to do in order to get to them. Anger can also be substituted for other emotions like pain, says Harry Mills.
Anger is a distraction from the primary emotion and we are born to train our brain to resort to this type of emotion when we feel discomfort emotionally or physically.
Trust is what drives us.
Trust is the common denominator to almost everything good in your world. According to Hans-Werner/Bernd Vornefeld, people find excuses to trust others.
We have an underlying hope that what people tell us is true. We WANT to believe the person that has just sold us the plans to a successful career, because we have that hope of success sometime later down the road. In fact, a classic psychological study says we can’t help but believe what we read the first time.
Trust is a powerful motivator and people have lots of it to give.
How Emotional Psychology Can Help Your Marketing
Given all of these facts, you can start to understand how emotional psychology plays a role in sharing.
Can you make people share? No, because that brings up the anger and agitation, emotions that causes them to be stubborn and do the exact opposite of what you want.
Emotional marketing is derived by using more right-brained strategies than left-brained (logical) ones.
Have you ever heard of an emotional sale?
Someone that bought a timeshare because they remembered how their parents never took them on vacation, and how they’re going to be a better parent to their kids? That’s an emotional sale.
The same thing can happen in your marketing.
Understanding the trigger points in your audience is a prime way to get to know which emotional trigger to pull in order to create the response you desire.
That said, this is not some pull out your magic wand and wave it trick. This still means that you have to get to know your target market. You have to put in the time to build relationships with these people and understand what their wants and needs are so you can give it to them.
Think about your niche.
What do they need right now, and how can you fill that need?
You find this out through conversation and engagement with your audience. Get to know them. You cannot create an effective emotional marketing campaign on a guess.
Emotional responses have tied us to evolutionary involvement and has kept our race secure and safe over the years.
The Application of Emotional Response
Find your sweet spot in showing people that they can evolve with whatever your product is and you will start to see your social shares skyrocket. The main point to remember in all of this is to know and understand your audience and then you can build on the emotional triggers.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) March 3, 2014
The classic photo at the Oscars from Ellen DeGeneres is one of the top 3 most retweeted social posts on Twitter.
It’s because there are two things applicable in this update.
The Power of The Face
When you put a human face in an update, psychologically, people are drawn to that. It is the classic facial expression of emotion that people are catching.
Notice one thing everyone is doing. They are smiling.
What does this photo say to you personally? For me, it lets me know that everyone in this photo is having a great time. I see their smiles and therefore I can relate to their happiness.
Remember happiness? This photo tells the tale and allows us to bridge the gap between us regular people and those people we think are unreachable.
With one tweet, Ellen has created humanism and relativity. She has bridged the gap between the popular people and the regular one’s. Having a face in your social update is a powerful motivator to share.
It is important to understand that while you may not be able to make people share, you can prod them along in the right direction using these emotional triggers.
Now that you understand a little bit about the psyche of a consumer, make your next social media update relevant. Some people fall into the trap of trying to relate the image directly to what the article is about.
With faithful readers that’s ok, but if you’re trying to promote to a new audience, you must use some type of familiarity with the new customer that links to the article or product you are talking about.
Don’t underestimate the muscle of emotional pull in your social media updates. Almost every action we create in our bodies has been triggered by some type of reactional emotion.