social media how toAre your social media posts getting enough engagement?

Do you want tips for connecting with your audience?

Social media engagement is largely determined by how well your social posts trigger action from your target audience.

In this article you’ll discover how to boost social media engagement by incorporating psychological triggers in your posts.

psychology principles that improve social media engagement

Discover three psychological principles that improve social media engagement.

Listen to this article:

#1: Focus on a Desire

In Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman’s book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, he shared this idea:

“A general ‘law of least effort’ applies to cognitive as well as physical exertion. The law asserts that if there are several ways of achieving the same goal, people will eventually gravitate to the least demanding course of action.”

To apply this principle to your social content, you should keep it simple.

In the GetResponse post below, they show that they recognize social media marketers want their email subscribers to feel as if they’re having a real conversation with the brand. To do that, GetResponse suggests that marketers need to “use these strategies.”

The post also incorporates the word “want” (“if you want your subscribers to feel as if they’re talking to a real person”). This word triggers a desire in readers’ brains that convinces them that, yes, they can do this.

getresponse facebook ad

You can get more engagement from your social media posts if you make your target audience believe that they can easily implement a solution or change to a problem they are experiencing.

Additionally, GetResponse captured the idea of simplicity in the article linked to in the post: 7 Strategies to Give Your Email Campaign a Human Touch. By presenting content in a simple, straightforward way, readers begin to believe that it’s not as hard to connect with their audience through email as they might think and that they’ve found a solution to their problem.

Key takeaway: You’ll get more engagement with your content if you make your audience believe that they can do something. Walk readers through the hard stuff and break it down in easy-to-digest chunks of information so they can take action quickly and easily.

#2: Appeal to Knowledge Seekers

There is nothing people love more than an explanation. In fact, in the well-known Xerox study, Ellen Langer and her colleagues conducted a simple experiment to see how people reacted when someone tried to cut in line at the Xerox machine. Ellen discovered that she was allowed to cut the line more frequently when she explained to people why she needed to.

The word “why” is one of the trigger words you can use in your own social media marketing. Use why to ignite readers’ brains to want to search for the answer to a question.

Eric Enge from Stone Temple Consulting used this strategy to create the Here’s Why video series for his target audience. In the Here’s Why post below, Eric poses a question to reader: Why Is SEO So Hard?

stone temple consulting facebook ad

In your social media posts, explain to your target audience why they need something and how they’ll get it by reading your content or using your product.

If you weren’t thinking about that question before, you likely are now. Why is SEO so hard, anyway? Eric provides just enough information to grab the audience’s attention. He tells them what they can expect and how they will benefit from watching the 5-minute video.

Key takeaway: Communicate to your audience why they need something and how they’re going to get it by reading your content, watching your video or using your product.

#3: Tap Into the Fear of Missing Out

It’s human nature to be apprehensive about being left out. We want to be in the know and be where the action is happening. We want to be included. If we say no to an opportunity, we fear we’ll miss out on something that could be of great benefit to us.

For example, if there’s an important conference in your industry, you may be compelled to attend because you fear you’ll miss out on great opportunities that other people in your industry will be afforded.

With a good industry conference, you can build your brand and business by networking with new and long-time colleagues. You can also attend sessions that help you improve your craft. The opportunity is so compelling that you’re afraid if you don’t attend, you’ll read lots of enthusiastic posts about it in your news feed and kick yourself for missing out on something that could help you.

Your draw doesn’t have be as large-scale as a conference. Maybe, for your business, you should offer a book your community is reading, a piece of content you offer (like an industry report) or access to extended features of your tool or service. Whatever it is, invite your audience to become part of the experience.

office 365 facebook ad

Offer something to your audience that they’ll have a hard time saying no to. This could be a resource, an experience or a conference

When you start including your audience in what you’re doing, you’ll see an improvement in your social media engagement. Don’t allow audience members to fear missing out with your business. Give them every opportunity to participate with you.

It’s all about the inclusion. You should start implementing this into your social strategy, because involving your audience in what you’re doing will make it more personal to them as well. It will create a sense of ownership with your brand.

Key takeaway: Identify valuable content that you can provide to people in your industry that they’ll say yes to without even thinking about saying no.

Over to You

Do you ever wonder how successful brands get so much attention and engagement with their social posts? A great way to connect with your audience is to incorporate psychological principles when creating your content.

What do you think? Have you tried using some of these psychological principles in your social posts? Are you seeing an uptick in engagement and conversions? What psychological tactics are creating the most engagement for your brand’s content? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

three psychology principles to improve social media engagement

Tips for improving social media engagement with psychology principles.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Get Social Media Examiner’s Future Articles in Your Inbox!

Join 465,000+ of your peers! Get our latest articles delivered to your email inbox and get the FREE Social Media Marketing Industry Report (56 pages, 90 charts)!

More info...
  • I think psychology is massively overlooked when promoting social media accounts. FOMO is a huge focus at the moment and there are many more psychological factors that influence people’s behaviour too. Paying a little more attention to these, rather than just publishing content for the sake of publishing content is sure to increase engagement. Fantastic wrap up of key areas to focus on 🙂

  • Thank you Krystal, FOMO is one thing I have been researching in marketing and I’ve got more on that topic over on the blog. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, thanks for reading!

  • I think that “successful brands get so much attention and engagement with their social posts” because they have so many followers. Many of these followers will see a neat-o picture and share the heck out of it. That successful brand has tapped into the lizard brain of that consumer and made them jump.

    It’s good marketing, I suppose. Still, many times ‘lesser’ brands are putting out even better lizard-brain images but not getting as much of a reaction.


    I think it’s because most of us don’t have the follower count as the successful brands. We’re not seen as valuable and resharing our content doesn’t impart as much of a benefit to the mind of that lizard brain.

    Sharing the content of a successful brand feeds into that area of our brain that thrives on rewards, particularly those that come from brown-nosing. If we share what’s ‘most popular’ maybe people will like us more.

  • I hear what you’re saying Greg. And its true, a lot of successful brands have already built their following. This isn’t really about follower count but how well these strategies work on individuals due to trigger marketing.

    Sure, it helps to have more people watching you when you do it, but that’s just something that comes with time I believe. Create content that is worthy of sharing, and do that consistently, you will start to see people being more attracted to your content.

    And you made another correct assumption, people share popular things because they want to feel accepted. But if we can share because we know it helps people, that will start to build our social following as well.

  • Mohammed Ali

    I totally agree with @disqus_S93q6voTm3:disqus .
    As they are exposed to a huge number of contents “that are increasingly becoming of good quality” people tend to add this factor: “who is the author” in order to engage with that post.
    Comments, I think, the most affected engagement, people won’t involve with words unless they intentionally want to be “seen” in a popular property.
    That’s very clear when you are managing 2 different pages.. the same post got different level of engagement.

  • It all has to do with the consistency that is put into building that large audience. This works to scale. Someone with a smaller social following isn’t going to see the results of a large brand that has millions following it, but the results in percentages will be the same…I’ve tested it.

  • Mohammed Ali

    Are you sure they get the same percentage? I am convinced by the article but I want to emphasize on the effect a brand reputation and popularity can add on how people will feel about the published content.

  • This is an amazing post Wade. Thank you for these explanations. I agree on the first tip: Focus on a desire. Try to do some research on what your target prospects wants. And put a post that will gain their interest. Develop a content that’s relatable to your targeted audiences. Try engaging on your prospects. Comment on their blogs or posts. Thank you for this very useful article Wade.

  • Thank you for the kind words Barbara. I have found that keeping these tips in the back of my mind always helps me get more activity on what I’m doing.

  • Yeah they get the same percentage Mohammed. I did a small sample testing before I wrote the post, and while someone like Guy Kawasaki, with millions of followers, has a larger audience than myself, the percentage of people that respond are the same.

    While 10% of a million people is a heck of a lot more than 10% of a thousand, it’s the ten percent that I’m focusing on.

  • Velislav Chorbadjiev

    I love it….every Marketer should always think of the customer’s perspective and what he/she may be interested in…Every human being is curious and want to receive personal attention as well…

  • I agree, and that is why it is important to get in there where the audience is and learn what their hot buttons are, their selling points, and what interests them. Big time gold mining there.