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Social Media Psychology for Marketing: Know it All

Social Media Psychology for Marketing: Know it All

by Meghashree Das August 31, 2020
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Marketing and science have a thing common between them: the human brain. There are some interesting but psychological reasons as to why people like, share, comment, click, and even purchase products online.

So, understanding the psyche behind the way audiences act on social media is the first step in creating better experiences, stronger relationships, and even more loyal customers in the long run.

Successful marketers always keep in mind to use psychology for their marketing tactics to work. They use psychology ethically and respectfully to attract and engage an audience. And understanding how the target audience behaves is the key to taking marketing efforts to the next level.

Research tells us that studying consumers has helped firms and organizations to improve their social media strategies. One can safely assume that psychology plays an important role in the success of social media and influences how business owners use different social media channels to promote their services and products.

Any guesses on which field are we talking about, specifically?

Yes, we are talking about Social Media Psychology for Marketing.

Tapping into the potential of social media psychology of the consumers can help in increasing sales, create a better brand image and also establish brand loyalty among consumers. This is because people are influenced by their emotions and cognitive biases while making a purchase.

These cognitive biases have been studied and theorized by marketers for writing scores of examples on Social Media Psychology for Marketing.

So let’s dive into it.

Why Should You Target Social Media for Marketing?

Social Media is the one thing that most people on the planet love spending time on. When we are not working or sleeping, we are interacting with our social media. And hence, it becomes a hot spot for marketers to craft curated content.

But how to decide what type of content your audience likes?  To understand the appropriate social media psychology for marketing, you need to create a buyer persona.

Identify your customer base.

  • Who are your customers?
  • What is their age? What do they like?
  • What is their income range?

These questions are some examples to guide you to create a buyer persona for your brand. Once you understand as to who your audience is, you can try to understand their social media psychology and create marketing strategies accordingly.

social media psychology for marketing

Image source – Builderentrepreneur

And while you can always learn from scratch and create your ideas on social media psychology for marketing, here are a few things you can try without having second thoughts.

How Social Media Psychology for Marketing works?

Engaging Content

Most marketers are not psychologists but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it to your advantage. It’s all about creative ways to apply a concept to your content.  This makes it one of the important aspects of social media psychology for marketing. People share content which they find engaging and hopes for it to improve the lives of its audience in some way. Sharing content can define their online persona and they can use it to create and nourish relationships further.

They need to voice out on the issues they believe in.

social media psychology for marketing

Image source – Framethreesixteen

Engaging content can make people tap on the purchase button. More so if you tap onto an emotional trigger. Viral content often has something that causes intense feelings to arise in us, and there is a high chance of it being shared. Social media research has shown that happiness has the most potential to go viral than other emotions. People love stories because we have been listening to them forever. They present a context and we can relate to them.

Social Proofs 

The existence of testimonials and reviews guide a majority of the consumer psyche when in social media. Research tells us that consumers believe the content that average people share is more honest than advertising from brands. Consumers like to value the opinions of those who resemble them in some way.

social media psychology for marketing

Image source – Devrix


Fear of missing out on what’s going on social media has proven to be one of the top tools in social media psychology for marketing. We all have a friend who takes his social media consumption a bit too far for fear of being left outside the loop.  The reason for such behaviour is that consumers tend to experience anxiety and unease when they think about how other people are up to trying new things without them.

So, they try to constantly be up-to-date with what is going on, ensuring that they won’t miss out on a funny new meme or a video that went viral.

social media psychology for marketing

Image source – Clevertap

Believe in Influencers

People in social media tend to follow the people they admire, more than brands and services. The halo effect of influencers seems to work here.

It means that since the influencers have already established their reputation, their association with any other brand or services will also be good.

social media psychology for marketing

Image source – Neil Patel

Attention Bias

One of the key aspects of social media psychology for marketing is that consumers have a low attention span. If they see something and save it for later, they probably will forget about it the next minute. Unless the ad or the post is so good that they might act instantly.

Consumers are more likely to act on something if they see it repetitively.  Here is where the Baader Meinhof phenomena or the frequency illusion comes in place. Consumers might want to buy something and then suddenly that thing is present everywhere.

For example, if you want to buy an Audi, you’ll start seeing them everywhere.

social media psychology for marketing

Image source – Coschedule

Curious Consumers

Consumers are curious. They want to know more and fill in their curiosity gap. If we find some topic or product interesting, we go on clicking for the next information, until we have had our fill of it.

Curiosity becomes another important cognitive bias which is used extensively to understand social media psychology for marketing.

Reciprocity Factor

It is probably one of the oldest recipe used in social media psychology for marketing. People respond kindly to nice behaviour.

When someone does something for us, we automatically have this urge to do the same for them.

social media psychology

Image source – Upland Software

Sense of Belonging

Consumers are humans after all and they want to be a part of a group, big or small.  Studies on social media psychology for marketing tells us that, people actively participate in social media for having a greater sense of connectedness.

Colour Psychology

Social media content is highly visual and hence colour psychology becomes important. It is one of the important biases on which consumer purchase products. Different colours have different meanings. Bright colours are attention-grabbing. While dark colours incite thinking.

social media psychology for marketing

Image source – SMperth

Post Purchase Buyers Guilt

Consumers tend to feel guilt after purchasing something expensive or something which they bought just to shop. They tend to use their rationale in reducing the buyer’s guilt. Many marketers who specialize in social media psychology for marketing tend to leave out this aspect.

Cognitive biases can be exhaustive in their numbers.

social media psychology for marketing

Image source – Medium

How Can Social Media Psychology for Marketing Be Applied?

As mentioned earlier, you have to use the consumer psychology ethically and honestly to come off as a brand that doesn’t make a fool of its consumers. Here are some tactics you can use to tap into social media psychology for marketing.

Curate Creative Content

As simple as the heading tells you. Make such content which people can’t refuse to let go without clicking on it. And while you’re at it, remember:

  • To have a handy supply of the happy/humorous content for your social media page.
  • Use emoticons extensively.
  • Posts that have a high emotional value gets shared and liked more.
  • Craft listicles and infographic. People love that!
  • Give them a story
  • Shareable posts

Social Proof

You can establish social proof by displaying testimonials from customers, or reviews from celebrities. Quoting media outlets can be used as an effective strategy for increasing engagement.  Having any other content delivery platform like a website or a blog can be made useful by adding a social media share button next to it. Positive social proof can be more persuasive than saving money. Make sure that social proofs are displayed on important sales and landing pages.

social media psychology for marketing

Image source – Referral candy

Bring in Influencers

One way you can bring in influencers is sharing their content and let them know what you are trying to do. Offer them benefits such as freebies, additional followers, media coverage, or inclusion on your payroll, for promoting your products. Influencers have a Midas Touch.

And so a lot of big brands are hiring them to spread their word out. You can use their influence over people to apply their social media psychology for marketing.

social media psychology for marketing influencers 2

Image source – Neil Patel

Use FOMO to Your Leverage

FOMO can be used as a powerful marketing tool, to tip the scales towards you. Try showing your customers what would happen if they decide to not respond to your sales pitch. For FOMO to work, you can use clickbait titles.

You can also ask people who regularly visit your YouTube channel to subscribe to it or turn on notifications for Facebook posts. This way, they won’t miss out on any new stuff.

social media psychology for marketing influencers 2

Image source – Resultfirst

Frequency Illusion

You can put to use the attention bias social media psychology for marketing, by remarketing and retargeting. Show your brand’s message repetitively. Start blogging regularly and place CTA buttons all over. Use Google ads extensively. Remember that the longer you have someone’s attention, the more likely you are to build trust.

Increase the Curiosity

Give out less information by showing that more is on the other side – cliffhangers. Make sure that you address those question, that a majority of your audience on social networking sites might have. Try building curiosity with a ‘coming soon’ page or product to increase engagements.

Use phrases like ’10 tips for straight hair’ or ‘100 books to read before you die’ to pique interest.

Take the consumers on a journey for them to find out what happens at the end. Try not to too sales-y.

social media psychology for marketing

Images source – Wordstream

Reciprocate Periodically

You could try product giveaways, some type of free content, or even something like a resource hub that your audience can regularly return to. Freebies ensure in building trust among your consumers and it helps in making them do something for you in return.

It may be in the form of purchasing your product, signing up for your newsletter, following you on social media, or just sharing your message with their network. To put it in simple words, give your users something before you ask for anything from them.

Hang Out with Your Consumers

One can take the example of One Plus. It has its forum where the one plus community regularly ‘hangs out’ together to discuss the issues faced by consumers. They also try to address problems faced by the consumers. In this way, your customers know that you have got their back.

You can also conduct polls or run live sessions on social media.

The Color Impact

It is important to use colours that express your brand’s personality, rather than trying to take advantage of stereotypical colour associations. The impact colours can have on consumers is often underestimated in social media psychology for marketing. Simply putting visuals won’t work. Choose colours strategically, that shout the message you want to give, like green is for go and yellow is for light and carefree content.

Turn to the colour psychology guide to give you better insights on using them.

social media psychology for marketing colour 2

Image source – Adeomarketing

Polarizing Effect

It means drawing a line between “us” and “them.” Just like a magnet does, you are declaring who is your polar opposite, and who you want to attract. Studies on social media psychology for marketing have revealed that brands that don’t try to appeal to everyone succeed in the long run. Hers, ‘us’ would be your potential customer and ‘them’ would be all others you don’t care about.

Establish yourself as an early adopter or a trendsetter.

Focus and Amplify

Consumers are bombarded with heavy visuals and information all the time. Try to simplify the process. Make your customers focus on a particular post or product. Or if you are sure about something, then bold and increase the text size.

It’s one of the tried and tested tactics used in social media psychology for marketing.

Reduce Buyer’s Guilt

You can reduce this by using Phrases like, “You made a good choice,” and “Highly perceptive people like you”. Try sending a thank you note. You can also introduce them to user groups.

Focus on how the product can and will improve their lives. Use this tactic for social media psychology for marketing and come out better than your competitors.


Psychology as a subject was made to help a human understand other humans better, craft out rules by which humans become more humans. In doing so, we have learned what biases we use to form an impression of others or how we act the way we do.

And since we live in a growing materialistic world, social media psychology for marketing becomes more valuable. Consumers are dynamic and predictable. Predictable because the above methods have been tried and tested for marketing strategies and have worked.

The dynamic aspect is that you can never exactly predict what goes on inside a consumer’s mind. This is because apart from cognitive biases, the economic situation, the urgency of need, lifestyle choices etc., too, influence them. So you can also come up with your social media psychology for marketing and lead the way. In this respect, the vast genre of social media psychology will keep evolving because social media and people are here to stay.


What is the psychology behind social media?

One reason people post on social media, according to an article in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, is because social media sharing can link to positive social media feedback and self-esteem. More directly, the quest for likes or follows on social media heavily influences why people post.

Is Psychology a marketing?

And while marketers are definitely not psychologists, they do use several psychologically-based observations about human behavior to communicate effectively with potential customers and increase conversions on a daily basis.

What does a marketing psychologist do?

Marketing psychologists study consumers and how various factors such as age, education, and personal habits lead them to purchase certain items. ... A marketing psychologist is able to figure out all these factors when evaluating a product or service.

What is the importance of psychology in marketing?

The importance of understanding your customers Consumer psychology plays an important role in marketing and understanding the individual's needs and desires, and understanding what motivates certain consumers to purchase particular products.

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Meghashree Das

Digital Marketer, Writing about marketing is a passion of mine that I have been pursuing from a young age. I love to express my thoughts on paper, as well as a digital medium.

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