Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Emotions To Exploit (And 2 To Avoid) For Contagious Social Media Marketing

Emotions To Exploit (And 2 To Avoid) For Contagious Social Media Marketing 

Colorful woman showing emotions for contagious social media marketing

No matter if you’re trying to inspire empathy in your readers or just trying to make them laugh,harnessing emotions with your social media marketing is a vital skill to have.
In no field of marketing is an effective use of emotional direction more important than social media. With such limited and congested real estate, every nuance of your headline, copy and post topic must work in tandem in order to rise above the rest of the pack.
Studies have found that content that elicits an emotional response typically gets shared twice as much as that which contains little emotional value.
However, playing with emotions can be a dangerous game. Not only can it lead to accusations of being manipulative, but picking the wrong emotions to target can have a dampening effect on the potentialvirality of your content.
With the help of several psychological studies, this post will detail exactly which emotions you should try to elicit in your readers – and which you should avoid – in order to give your social media marketing a contagious edge.

Emotions to avoid

1. Joy

Joy and happiness may seem like an obvious target when pursuing social media virality, particularly as countless heart-warming stories invariably clog up our newsfeeds on a daily basis.
However, while aiming to achieve happiness through your post is not necessarily a bad goal (any emotion is better than none), it isn’t always the home run that you’d expect it to be.
Although happiness can be a fantastic driver of sharing behaviour, it has the dual problems of being difficult to achieve and without doubt the most sought-after emotion in marketing. This  market saturation of people trying to make readers smile makes it extremely difficult to stand out from the crowd.
The content that does rise to the top is almost always human stories, due to the extra gravitas that comes with the reality of the subject matter. It often takes a mammoth marketing budget and a huge established presence for a branded happiness campaign to take off, as was the case with Coca Cola’s “Share a Coke” series.
At the very least, humour or inspiration (both of which directly lead to happiness and exhilaration) should be considered as the primary aim of your post:
Emotional trigger table for contagious social media marketing

2. Sadness

At the other end of the emotional spectrum, sadness-based content is another almost ever-present feature of our newsfeeds.
However, like happiness, sadness is another emotion which is too frequently chased in marketing. Whether genuine sorrow or an offshoot emotion such as nostalgia, the power of such a palpable emotion has long been clear to marketers, who have exploited it to the extent that audiences are now highly desensitized to it.
With such levels of desensitization comes increased scrutiny. If something is designed to make someone feel sadness and misses its target, it risks incurring cynicism instead.
Without paying due care and attention to your copy or overusing sadness as an emotion, it’s also possible to create an unwanted association between your brand and sorrow.
What’s more, a study conducted by Johan Berger concluded that sadness-evoking content fared much worse when compared to other emotions due to being characterised by inaction and low levels of emotional arousal, thus considerably weakening the potential for content to be shared.

Emotions to use

1. Anger

While it’s once again important to stress that playing with emotional appeals does come with risks, anger and frustration are two emotional sensations that offer huge social amplification potential.
Clearly, having people associate you or your brand with feelings of anger or frustration is not a good thing. However, by acting as a conduit for news that causes feelings of consternation, you can tap into huge viral possibilities.
Framing your content or product with anger is a delicate business. Whether achieved by sharing a genuine grievance that you have personally suffered or otherwise, it’s important that, once your content has the reader emotionally hooked, you offer a resolution. Avoid inciting righteous indignation, as it’s extremely difficult to backtrack from.
Leaving the anger lingering risks the association between it and your brand sticking. If you’re able to turn that anger into a positive emotion then the journey you take the reader on can be truly invaluable in terms of brand building.
Brian Acton Tweet example of contagious social media marketing
The example of WhatsApp founder Brian Acton is a fantastic one. Although not framed in an overly angry fashion, every reader can relate to the frustration Acton must have felt upon being rejected by Facebook for a job opportunity.
The resolution is that he went on to found WhatsApp, eventually selling up to the very company that rejected him back in 2009 for a mind-blowing sum. It’s little surprise that the Business Insider article covering the story received much more attention than almost all of their other stories about the app and Acton, despite its comparatively short length.
Another way of closing the loop opened by utilising anger and frustration is by highlighting a common pain point in your initial social post and then demonstrating how your business or product solves the problem.

2. Surprise

Just as it’s not always in your best interests to chase joy or sadness due to their saturation, surprising readers and subverting their expectations is a sure-fire way of stoking the social flames.
Surprise may not be one of the first emotions that springs to mind when it comes to social media, but a study conducted by professors at Emory University found that people are “designed to crave the unexpected.”
Examples such as the Oreo Super Bowl blackout Tweet, which surprised through the speed with which it responded to a real life event, are proof of how well surprise can work on social media:
Oreo Super Bowl Tweet example of contagious social media marketing

Surprise also has an amplifying effect on the emotion it leads towards, offering further sharing potential.
If the audience know your social channels consistently deliver content designed to make them smile, they’ll enjoy it. However, if you place a post designed to elicit happiness or laughter in amongst more serious content then it will receive much more attention.
Surprise is also perhaps the best emotion to use in order to create a memorable, lasting relationship with readers. We consume heart-warming and sad content every day, but outside of our favourite news outlets, we’re unlikely to remember where we saw that content.
By surprising people, you connect in a more memorable fashion.

Key Steps for Creating an Effective Content Marketing Strategy

Key Steps for Creating an Effective Content Marketing Strategy

Many online businesses employ content marketing as the most efficient way to attract new customers, improve sales and drive traffic to their site. However, in order to make your content more persuasive, you need to establish a solid content marketing strategy.
An effective content marketing strategy has become a key factor in terms of the production, planning, promoting and measuring content. According to the latest Content Marketing Research, 83% of the B2B marketers interviewed employ a particular content marketing strategy, but only 35% of them have documented it. In order to develop a strategy that will boost your search engine, email marketing and social media results, you need to think through all the objectives. Three basic steps for creating a specific, measurable, attainable and reliable marketing strategy are:
  • Research
  • Creation
  • Distribution and Promotion
  1. Research
The crucial part of creating an effective content marketing strategy requires getting to know your competition and audience. Only this way will you be able to understand and address the demands of your target audience. In order to make the research factual, you need to include some basic questions like:
  • What kind of content does my target audience like and share?
  • Where online does my target audience spend most of time?
  • How can I best reach my target audience?
Since most traditional market research methods lack efficacy and reliability, the experienced marketers are increasingly turning to online communities to improve their research outcomes. Unlike other survey techniques, social media, for example, analyzes target users by the sets of their traits and interests. Additionally, it was noted that social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing, which is one of the key indicators of their efficiency.
The first step in creating firm content is to choose its type in accordance with your demands. For instance, if you strive to increase signups, the effective content will include product demos, video tutorials, targeted social media campaigns and publications such as ebooks and white papers. On the other hand, for the companies whose goal is to drive people to lead generation forms, webinars, live product demos, contests and gated content would be most effective.
Once you have determined the type of content that addresses your needs best, you need to make it as persuasive as possible. There are several aspects you need to keep in mind at all times:
  • The schedule
  • The idea
  • The brief
  • The creation
Furthermore, creating content is a complex project that entails various different elements, such as setting deadlines, hiring writers, copy editors and videographers. Above all, it is of vital importance that each member of the team knows where they fit into the project and what their responsibilities are.
Distribution and promotion
Once the specific piece of content is completed, it needs to be distributed and promoted. The Social Media Marketing Industry report shows that B2B marketers use approximately 13 content marketing tactics, most popular of which is social media content that is used by 92% of companies. Considering the findings of the recent surveys, marketers are ready to explore the potential of different distribution channels.
Now, there are three distinct ways for you to promote your content via social media:
  • Paid social media, which requires employing ads in order to attract attention to your content.
  • Earned social media, which refers to organic shares and mentions that your content receives from other users on social networks.
  • Owned social media, which includes using channels like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook to attract traffic to your content.
Apart from social media, there are other highly efficient ways of promoting content, including eNewsletters, articles on a website, case studies, research reports and many more.
Although a sturdy content marketing strategy may be a time-consuming and complex process, it is often more than necessary. You owe it to both yourself and your business to do everything in your power to gain a competitive edge. By following these three simple steps, you will manage to create original and persuasive content that will differentiate you from your competitors. What more can you ask for in this unforgiving dog-eat-dog world of modern business?

Power Words to Drive More Engagement With Your Social Campaigns

Power Words to Drive More Engagement With Your Social Campaigns

Some 2.1 billion people have social media accounts, and as many as half of those people are checking out social content more than once a day. With that kind of social activity it begs the question…
“Why isn’t my engagement higher?”
Poor engagement is a problem marketers have been wrestling with long before we started reaching out to audiences on social media. The way we try to engage people now on social media, sales and content marketing isn’t much different from the way common people attempted to capture the attention of a passersby in open air markets.
open air markets for 25 Power words
It was a mix of visual stimulation and the use of compelling, stimulating, attention-grabbing words and phrases.

The right words can make a difference

Words strike us for various reasons, and they play on our most primitive instincts and hard-wired responses seated around emotion. To that end, words that are the most direct, simple and arresting can have the most profound impact.
Though it’s common sense as well, this idea was proven through extensive study of the human mind byRenvoise and Morin in their book Neuromarketing. What they found is that we, as civilized people, try to engage one another by talking to our “new brains”, or the more sophisticated part of our minds.
But it’s our “old brains”, where our most primitive instincts live, that make the bulk of our decisions. We can trigger that old brain response by using the right “power words”.
David Ogilvy for 25 Power words
In 1963 David Ogilvy, a mastermind in the early days of consumer advertising, published a list of what he believed were the most persuasive words in advertising. These individual words, when utilized within copy, headlines and calls to action, were most likely to capture the reader and score business.
  • Suddenly
  • Now
  • Announcing
  • Introducing
  • Improvement
  • Amazing
  • Sensational
  • Remarkable
  • Revolutionary
  • Startling
  • Miracle
  • Magic
  • Offer
  • Quick
  • Easy
  • Wanted
  • Challenge
  • Compare
  • Bargain
  • Hurry
Many marketers still rely on those power words when creating copy for advertisements. But power words don’t need to be limited to direct response copy…

25 Power Words for Boosting Social Media Engagement

Think about what an advertisement is: at its core, it’s a grouping of copy – perhaps with images – meant to engage a specific audience to illicit a response.
That’s exactly what you’re trying to do with every social post you make… but without the hard sell. Boosting engagement within your social posts can still benefit from the right words and more persuasive copy, but it takes a more nuanced approach that doesn’t make it feel like you’re trying to force a purchase.
When writing a call to action, one of the most important words to remember is “relevance”. The words you use should be as relevant to the content as they are to the medium in which you post.
Anytime I produce or schedule a post with an aim to maximize engagement, I pay close attention to the context in which power words will be used as well as the audience that I’m addressing.
audience for 25 Power words
For Facebook, the words that often grab attention and garner the most engagement are:
  • Post
  • Comment
  • Take
  • Submit
  • Would
  • When
  • Where
  • Tell us
  • Should
  • Discount
  • Only
  • Because
  • Now
For Twitter users, the power words you can use to boost engagement are:
  • ReTweet
  • Check out
  • Blog
  • Post
  • How to
  • Top
  • Social
  • Follow
  • You
  • Help
  • Great
  • Share
These were compiled not only from an infographic created by Neil Patel and Quick Sprout, but also from research done by others.
You can see how some of the most effective words vary greatly from platform to platform. That’s why it’s important to understand how to craft content not only specific to your audience but also around the context of the post and the social channel you’re using.

Sourcing the most influential words for your social audience

According to Oxford Dictionaries, there are at least a quarter of a million distinct words in the English language including words that are actively used, obsolete words and derivative words. If we count tenses and the variations in the meaning and inflection, that number would likely close in on a million – perhaps more.
Sourcing the most influential words fro 25 Power words
To that end, it’s safe to assume that there are more than 25 powerful, persuasive words you could use to turn the head of your audience.
Gregory Ciotti wrote a piece for Copyblogger in which he researched the top 5 words in English. That list included the words:
  • You
  • Because
  • Free
  • Instantly
  • New
The research behind the effectiveness of these words can’t be ignored. When used together they have the ability to put the emphasis on the individual and are critical for great communication. Words like “because” are incredibly persuasive because they create a casual relationship.
When you leverage words like “new” and “free” it plays on the concept of loss aversion. Even if you’re not selling something and merely posting about an idea, concept or a new blog post, you’re still targeting the drive in people who want something new, and want it for little or nothing.
The most influential words for your audience may not necessarily be the full list of 25 that I shared above. In truth, the words you use to boost social engagement may come from several examples of power words… or it could be none of the ones I’ve shared.
Because it’s not just about the individual words; it’s about the people you’re targeting.

It starts with your audience

Remember that power words by themselves are meaningless. The way you use them, or the context in which they are used, will play on the mind of your audience in order to achieve a desired result. I’ll use an incident from the life of French Poet Jacques Prevert, as shared by AWAI.
it start with your audience fro 25 Power words
Jacques Prevert saw a beggar with a sign that said “Blind man without a pension”. Prevert asked him how it was going to which the better replied “Oh, very badly. People pass by and drop nothing in my hat, the swine.”
Prevert took the sign from him and altered it. A few days later, he approached the beggar and again asked him how things were going.
The beggar said, “Fantastic! My hat fills up three times a day.”
Prevert had changed the beggar’s sign to read: “Spring is coming, but I won’t see it.”
Prevert had used the right words to trigger the imagination of others, playing on their deeper emotions to inspire action.
We can see a similar example in a speech from Winston Churchill, dissected in a post from Jon Morrow.
Winston Churchill for 25 Power words
While being assaulted by German forces, Churchill needed to find a way to inspire his countrymen. Morrow underlined the power words that Churchill used when addressing the people.
We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months ofstruggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the darklamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victoryvictory at all costs, victory in spite of allterrorvictory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.
According to Morrow, “Each underlined word makes the audience feel something. In this case, Churchill intermixes words that cause fear, such as “struggle,” “tyranny,” and “terror,” with words that cause hope, such as “strength,” “God,” and “victory.” The last, in particular, is repeated over and over, practically drilling the emotion into the minds of the audience.”
This is the approach you need to take with your audience on social media.
You’re not necessarily trying to inspire morale in the midst of war, but you are trying to inspire them to interact and take action. Start with the research of others, building on what we’ve established to be the most influential power words that spur an audience to action.
Once you’ve identified the words that work best in context, consider your audience1. What will resonate most with them based on their psychographics and demographics – information that’s readily available in your social insights.
consider your audience for 25 Power words
Experiment with different language as you post. Mix in words that make people feel safe with those that imply scarcity, exclusivity, and cause-and-effect. Mingle those with words that encourage community engagement – specifically, the 25 that I’ve shared above. With that approach, you’ll immediately begin to see lifts in your engagement, comments, shares and post reactions.
Have you experimented with power words in your social media marketing? What words do you think bring the most engagement from your audience?
Share your thoughts and tips with me in the comments below.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons, CopyBlogger, Quicksprout, Oxford Dictionaries