To be a successful marketer, you have to understand how people think. Today, people ignore advertisements without even trying; our brains just filter them out automatically. Since social media marketing is all about getting your audience’s attention, you should know what causes the brain to pay attention. One thing the brain responds to is cognitive bias.
Have you ever met someone who refuses to switch brands of shampoo or update to a new phone, even when you can provide evidence that doing so would be a good idea? This is just one example of cognitive bias. In general, a cognitive bias is the thinking pattern that occurs because of the way we process information and this thinking pattern develops accordingly due to our own preferences and experiences. They can cause us to behave irrationally without noticing it.
By understanding cognitive bias and the role the play in our decision making, then when we are marketing, we can integrate the biases into our social media marketing efforts in order to increase engagement and conversions.
If you were to go through all of your favorite possessions, you could probably find something that you only love because you already own it. For example, maybe you favor your iPhone over your friend’s Android even though you know nothing about Android phones. This is choice-supportive bias, and your audience is prone to it too.
Depending on the type of business, social media content will often be your first step in making a sale, therefore make sure your content supports anyone who may be on their way to converting into a customer. Provide them with testimonials that let them know they’re smart to consider your brand. Make it easy for customers to move from the social media platform where they engage with your content forward into your website, ecommerce or sales page. Tell them why it’s great to be one of your customers. If your message supports their choice to convert, they’re more likely to become a loyal customer.
We’ve all heard of the glass half empty vs the glass half full. This is a classic example of framing. The way you present a phrase will affect how people react to it. Other examples include “You won” vs “He lost” and “50% off” vs “Save 50%”.
You should always be honest about your product, but the way you present facts has significance beyond honesty. Be sure to frame statistics in a way that makes your product look the best. Phrase your content in a way that gives your audience a positive perception of your brand.
We are afraid of loss: Losing possessions, losing respect, fear of mission out, losing opportunities. You can use loss aversion to create offers that trigger action from your audience. You've probably also heard of the scarcity strategy which involves making your products and or services scarce in one way or another in order to motivate demand. Many premium brands do this. This all falls into the loss aversion category.
When you’re ready to sell to your audience, experiment with social media content that has a time limit attached to it. Maybe your product is in limited supply. Maybe you have a holiday offer available; it doesn’t even have to be a popular holiday. The point is that there is an opportunity that can be lost, and we as people naturally react to that.
This method plays on the fact that as people we tend to not pay attention. As a result, we often rely on the first piece of information we receive about something in order to form our opinions. This is the anchoring bias.
One great way to use anchoring is to set a bar with a competitor’s price, then beat it with your price. When you’re selling your product, create content that highlights that your brand is even better than what your audience should expect.
These are just some of the ways that integrating cognitive bias into your social media marketing can improve how you do business. There are more cognitive biases that we can acquaint ourself with and a lot more ways they can used. Get creative, and create content that makes people react.