More and more people are connecting on social media and blogs. This means there are larger opportunities to promote your business. It also means that there’s more competition to stand out amongst a sea of information.
The good news -- you can use proven methods to connect with people. Crafting content that people care about begins with understanding what motivates people. Let’s take a look at five psychology-based principles you can start using.
1. Use stories to connect emotionally.
In the New York Times bestseller Made To Stick, authors Chip and Dan Heath share research that reveals we’re more likely to donate when we hear the story of an individual in need rather than data about an entire impoverished area.
Even though an entire area’s suffering impacts more people than the suffering of one person, the individual’s story is appealing because we feel emotions from hearing someone’s experiences, rather than learning about raw data. People connect through hearing stories, not statistics and abstract information.
To apply this principle, you should tell a story to reach your audience’s emotions. Your content can impact audiences and remain memorable if you share a personal experience, whether it’s your own or someone else’s. By creating a personal journey that people can follow, your brand can create a greater emotional impact on your viewers.
2. Answer the question, “What’s in it for me?”
Showing people how they benefit from following your brand will get you increased engagement from your audiences. For example, Taco Bell’s Twitter feed is known for its witty and interactive tweets. Most importantly, the people behind Taco Bell’s Twitter account know how to make their content shareable.
The brand’s tongue-in-cheek humor inspires brand loyalty and helps make the franchise relatable. Taco Bell’s promotional strategy shows that captivating the audience starts with thinking about what the audience wants, first and foremost.
So the next time you promote your business, think about and listen to how people react to your message. Are you catering to their needs and their emotions? Their feedback can be used to create targeted messages.
3. Provide social proof.
These days, reviews and testimonials on products and services are available at the click of a button. People rely heavily on the opinions of others when they make decisions.
Peer pressure can be incredibly powerful in shaping people’s perceptions and decisions. There are a number of ways you can use this concept in your business -- showing Facebook likes, posting testimonials and providing your audience with data that shows how popular your content is.
The most effective social proof is positive reviews on unmoderated sites. Your followers will know that your product or service is strong enough for happy customers to vouch for you on their own account. You can encourage people to leave positive reviews on sites such as Yelp and Amazon customer reviews.
4. Associate your brand with authority figures.
Using an authority figure improves the perception of your brand, whether it’s someone people trust, respect or like. If the person is recognized and successful in her own career, it rubs off positively on the brand. This applies even if the person is not an expert or authority in the field that she is promoting.
Professional tennis player Maria Sharapova is highly sought after for endorsements due to her rise in tennis and impressive social media following. On her Instagram account, Maria uploads pictures of sponsored company products, which generates more shares and likes.
For your business, you can ask a respected person in your industry to publicly endorse your brand for added credibility. Can’t find an authority figure? You can build your own authority by using credibility markers, such as sharing your previous experiences, educational background or recognition that you’ve received for your work.
5. Build scarcity.
In 1985, Coca-Cola performed an experiment on whether people preferred the traditional Coke or their newer formula. Fifty-five percent of participants in blind taste tests preferred the new Coke, with preferences for the new Coke going up by six percent after the identities of the formulas were revealed. However, when the traditional formula was replaced, people preferred the old Coke.
One of the most effective ways to grab people’s attention and make them take action is to make something scarce. People fear the chance of missing out on something, compelling them to act. You can create the feeling of scarcity by offering to give away or sell something in limited quantities or for a brief period of time.
Scarcity doesn’t have to only refer to quantity, though. You can also create the impression of scarcity by selling your brand on its uniqueness, whether through your brand’s personality, emphasizing services that aren’t offered elsewhere or highlighting advantages in the way your brand operates.
Understanding psychology and applying it to your business is a powerful way to shape the perceptions of your brand. Try using the above principles in your business strategy, and see how you can create a powerful presence.
Melissa Chu, Contributor
Writer, Entrepreneur, Owner of JumpstartYourDreamLife.com