Use Psychology To Increase Social Media Engagement

8 minute read

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Psychology and Social Media Engagement

Social media is undoubtedly one of the premier channels for customer engagement. According to reports, social media engagement takes up about 28% of the total time spent on the internet.

However, just because your content is published on social networks, doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to get enough engagement. In fact, having a substantial amount of followers will not guarantee a boost in conversions or sales.

Unfortunately, social media networks are full of distractions that can prevent your target audience from hearing your message. There are cute kitten videos, memes, private messages from relatives, and a lot of socialization going around.  Of course, there are also competitors who are out to steal your target audience’s attention.

In time, businesses had to be creative with their social media campaigns. Whether it’s about using emojis to order pizza or hosting social media contests, brands needed a way to create a positive reaction in the social community.

In this article, you will learn some of the best psychological hacks that will increase social media engagement.

1. Show Them Proof

Social communities are highly susceptible to the bandwagon. If a particular post, for example, has thousands of likes and reshares, then people are more likely to trust the information as well as its source. Realizing this trend, companies seized the opportunity to build social proof that establishes their credibility as information providers.

Digital marketing experts identify five types of social proof:

  1. Celebrity Social Proof – Advocacy of famous people such as actors and social media celebrities.
  2. User Social Proof – Positive reviews or testimonies from past customers.
  3. Expert Social Proof – Endorsement of subject matter experts and other authorities in a niche.
  4. Wisdom of Friends – Recommendations of friends, family, and trusted people.
  5. The Wisdom of the Crowds – Proof in numbers (likes, comments, re-shares, re-tweets, etc.).

Out of all these types of social proof, the wisdom of the crowd is one of the simplest to obtain. All you need is a social media tool or plugin that allows you to display the number of shares or likes your content gets.

Just remember that this strategy can be a double-edged sword. If a reasonable number of likes can build trust, having zero can discourage the audience from even reading your content.

As for the other types of social proof, each strategy requires a lot of research, planning, and outreach. Guest posting in established blogs, in particular, is a popular course of action. By leveraging the credibility of influencers, you can instantly gain social media engagement, exposure, and a way to win part of the audience’s trust.

2. Imply Urgency

Fear can be a very powerful and convincing emotion. Apart from losing something, most people are afraid of missing out on significant opportunities. They don’t want to be left out; especially when it comes to something that they truly value.

You can tap into this fear by inspiring the sense of urgency. A time-tested strategy is to create limited time offers that give the audience two options – to take action or miss out.

Another strategy is to focus on the negative. For example, if your company sells online security solutions to businesses, then you can emphasize the dangers of being vulnerable to security threats such as data loss and a ruined reputation.

3. Use Visual Psychology

Numerous studies have shown the link between particular visual content and their effect in a website’s conversion rate. These studies look at different visual elements such as colors, typography, and photographs. For example, Signal v. Noise managed to increase conversions by up to 102.5% by adding an image of a person.

Keep in mind that visual psychology has numerous applications. By determining the specific needs of your business, you should be able to come up with a strategy will work for you. In color psychology, for example, using the colors blue, purple, and green can help catch the attention of the female audience. The color blue also generally denotes “authority,” and can be used to cultivate the users’ trust.

Another strategy is to use human images to get the attention of your audience. Remember that humans are innately drawn to the gaze of other people. Therefore, you can use human photos to highlight individual elements such as a CTA or special offers.

When it comes to social media posts, feel free to combine different colors and visual elements to achieve the effect you want. Apart from image sharing websites like Pinterest and Instagram, you can also apply visual psychology on featured images that are shared in networks like Facebook and Google+.

4. Give Away Gifts

Lastly, nothing motivates action more than the promise of rewards. Take note that, before every conversion, users need to know what’s in it for them. Giving them a straight answer in the form of discounts, freebies, promos, and free resources is an excellent way to boost engagement in social media.

A rule of thumb when trying to increase social media engagement is to offer something that is highly appealing to your target audience. Remember that even overused tactics like free eBooks and coupon codes are still very useful in generating engagement. While there’s no need to resort to unique antics to get your audience’s attention, you should be willing to explore out-of-the-box ideas such as letting them decide where to donate for charity or featuring them on your corporate blog.


Take note that social media engagement is all about inspiring action, not just impressions. By tapping into psychological triggers, you can help your brand stand out from all the noise and be visible in the social space.

Looking for more social media tips? Learn how to get all employees to actively engage in social media marketing on your company’s behalf to boost brand visibility, increase leads, and improve pipeline.

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