Psychology is at the core of marketing. Whether it’s online or direct, businesses have used marketing techniques for ages to persuade people to take action. So much so, that good marketing has been able to shape the way we view situations and things, changing the status quo. This is what happened with the “Think Small” campaign from Volkswagen and advertising firm DDB. They were trying to advertise the Beetle in a market that favored big, strong-looking cars.
Even without the internet or social media, they managed to shape the perception and desire for cars. Similarly, De Beers was able to reshape the engagement jewelry industry with its famous campaigns. These successes and many others haven’t happened by accident. They require careful thinking, planning, and use of psychological techniques to be successful.
If those revolutionary stories happened before social media and the internet in general, imagine what you can be capable of doing today. Use these 10 psychological tips to enhance your eCommerce social media and overall presence online
- Show How Easy It Is—We Gravitate Toward Easy
It’s in our nature to gravitate towards the easiest solution available. It’s not that we are particularly lazy; it’s just that our brain is trying to come up with the fastest possible solution. Thus, we try to avoid things that seem complicated. Also, with such limited time in a day, users don’t want their time trying to figure out something that looks complicated.
Although the idea of shopping is easy, you can create the perception of being complicated by showing too many options or showing that your product is hard to use. Ease the minds of your followers by showing them how simple it can be to do both.
- Fear of Missing Out
Our human nature always draws us to be part of a community or share something. Nobody wants to be the one left out of the group, whether that means in conversation, trips, or, in this case, deals. This is part of the reason why people are so plugged into social media. They fear missing out on the latest news. Thus, by tapping into people’s fear of missing out, you’ll increase your chance of getting higher engagement on social media.
This can be done by pointing out how many people are taking advantage of your offer or using your products. For instance, you can say something like “ X is already the top-rated product in America—have you tried it yet?” This tells the user that your product has good reviews and that many people are already using it. In the fear of missing out, users are going to want to know more.
People are more likely to give when they receive because they feel indebted. This is what reciprocity is all about: give to receive. Show real interest in your followers by offering them something without asking for anything in return. This act of kindness will urge them to reciprocate the act with something in return.
The offering can be a free surprise gift with a purchase, a special offer on social media, or maybe access to a special event. Anything that your target customers may find valuable will be useful.
- Be More Human
Social media users expect brands to be more human on social media platforms. It’s their chance to get a refreshing change from the corporate-like image they may see on other platforms. Psychologically, it also helps users relate to the brand at a more personal level—which is more appealing to users—in turn, creating a bond between the brand and the user.
Humanize your brand by writing copy that is personable, colloquial, and friendly. Think of it as sharing something with a friend. Creating relatable content also helps. Do this by showing “behind the scenes” content. For example, a walk to the office or a candid video sharing your day. Anything that is not directly selling your product and is more about making a connection with your followers.
Provide your followers as much information as you can about your products and your expertise about the industry. This will help create a sense of authority that will allow foster trustworthiness and confidence in your brand.
For instance, if you have a designer fashion line, your followers will be more prone to buy from you if you show them you know what you’re talking about. Maybe you went to school for design or worked several years as a celebrity stylist, or maybe you’re just a fan of fashion.
- People Like Others That Resemble Them
We tend to like people that resemble ourselves or are like the people we aspire to be. Thus, by showing your social media followers you’re just like them, it will increase that affection for your eCommerce store. This can be accomplished with the use of images that show people similar to your target market. For example, if your target market is comprised of young moms, you can show a happy young woman carrying a child. To get your followers’ admiration, you can showcase social media influencers using your product. Either way, you will produce a similar liking effect.
- Use Colors to Convey Emotions
Colors can not only help you set a mood but, also, help establish your brand’s look and feel. Is your brand happy and cheerful? Use happy, vibrant colors. Is your brand masculine and elegant? Darker, more neutral colors may be best. Thanks to social media’s emphasis on images, your look and feel will be easily perceived by your followers. For example, compare Kate Spade’s cheerful look with Rag & Bones’ more neutral look:
According to Psychology Today, priming is a nonconscious form of human memory concerned with perceptual identification of words and objects. It is related to how an initial stimulus can influence a second one. For instance, if I show you an apple right now and ask you later to tell me the first word that comes to your mind starting with the letter A, you’ll probably say apple.
Similarly, priming can be used on social media to link your brand to a particular stimulus. It works best where there is some correlation between the stimuli, to make it easier for users to connect the two. Start by thinking about your brand and the stimulus or stimuli that will be “connected” with it. Although you may choose slightly different stimuli, they should be somewhat related.
For instance, if you’re selling bikinis, you may want to connect your brand with beaches, hot weather, water, or pools. Thus, you can schedule a series of social media posts that showcase those scenarios. They don’t have to promote your bikinis yet; you’re just exposing your followers to those type of images. Then, the next post can show a model on a similar beach, wearing one of your bikinis and the caption: “The beach is not the same without X bikini.” In this way, your followers will be able to consider your bikinis as a must-have for beaches and hot weather.
- Decoy Effect
The decoy effect is a phenomenon that describes a shift in preference caused by the addition of a third option. Such option serves to push people to another preferred, dominant option. You can use this logic to frame the way you present special promotions on social media to push your followers to choose the option of your preference. Start by selecting a group of three similar products with varying features—for instance, sneakers with different performance features. Then, choose which product will have the highest price (dominant), and price the decoy option close to the highest priced product. For example, $50 (dominant), $45 (decoy), and $20. Then, make the decoy product have similar features to the lowest-priced product. On the other hand, the highest-priced product (dominant) should offer the most benefits and features.
People like to procrastinate over everything, from shopping decisions to everyday tasks. However, this is only done when there is the option to do it later at another time. By giving a sense of product scarcity, you can encourage potential customers to take action today instead of tomorrow, in fear of missing out on an opportunity. You can do this by creating a sense of urgency and giving away low inventory stock numbers. For example, “Hurry! This offer ends in 2 hours” or “Hurry! There are only 2 pieces left!”