7 Psychological Insights That Will Help You Develop a Powerful Facebook Strategy for Business

brain

What is the most powerful tool in your marketing arsenal?

Is it keyword research? Copywriting? Beautifully designed ad campaigns? Maybe….

But the driving force behind all of these things?

Psychology.

You see, sales and marketing are really about understanding consumer psychology.

Why do people buy? What makes them click on your Facebook ad? What sort of stimuli do most people respond to?

I’ve been interested in consumer psychology for quite a while. It started innocently enough. I was curious. What makes customers interested in a product, service, person, or brand? Why do people click on headlines? What makes 100%-refund-guarantees so assuring? How will this influence conversion rates or customer loyalty?

Asking these kinds of questions helped me develop a deeper understanding of my customers.

And then I figured out something more. Consumer psychology applies to just about everything in business.

Even social media.

What did I do? I started using my knowledge of psychology to improve my Facebook strategy.

And guess what?

It worked.

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It wasn’t just my personal brand that started growing by leaps and bounds. My clients got the benefits too!

I’m not going to keep these techniques a secret.

I wanted to share with you the psychological insights I learned so you can dramatically improve your game by leveraging Facebook marketing more effectively.

Download a cheat sheet of 7 psychological insights to develop a powerful Facebook strategy for business.

So, what are the most important psychological “hacks” you can start using today to improve your social media marketing?

1. Kick rational advertising out the window

Most people are emotional creatures, not rational.

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Many of us analytical types tend to think that everyone else sees the world in terms of ones and zeros like we do. But this is simply not the case.

Most people act emotionally, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It just is.

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One of the most effective things you can do to improve your Facebook strategy is to quit relying on rational thinking as your main driver and start relying on customer’s emotions to take the wheel.

Great…But how do you do this?

One of the most effective methods is to convey emotion through facial expression. Try using ads that have someone’s face on them, whether it’s a real photograph or a drawing.

I do this often, simply by adding an image of a face to my posts. It’s simple. It’s quick. It’s effective.

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Seeing a face is way more appealing than seeing some inanimate object.

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It works not only on posts, like the ones above, but on sidebar ads too.

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People are already browsing through Facebook, looking at pictures of friends and family. Using headshots or other shots that include facial expression is a natural way to enter into your customer’s newsfeed unobtrusively.

Facial expression is the only universally understood language, and the human brain is wired to process facial cues far more easily than written word.

In fact, according to a study from Caltech, people may have specific neurons in their brains that respond to individual people!

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This means that when you see my face, Tony Robbin’s face, Donald Trump’s face, or Brad Pitt’s face, you have a neuron in your brain dedicated to only them!

Pretty cool, huh?

Take a look at some of the ads below.

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Notice how the headshot of Noah Kagan smiling instantly changes your mood and instills trust.

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This ad from AdEspresso offers almost no rational reason for clicking on it, but the positive emotion instilled by the cartoon and the eye-catching red (more on that later) makes me want to click on it.

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Notice how Tim’s confident (or smug?) facial expression communicates confidence about the method he is teaching without any extra information.

The face is enough to build my trust and encourage me to interact with the Facebook ad.

Do you see how powerful conveying emotion through facial expression is? Use it in all your Facebook ads, regardless of the topic.

2. Use color to catch attention and convey your message

Something that many marketers are aware of but rarely utilize is the power of color.

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The human brain evolved to see red colors more vividly. This was a huge advantage to hunter-gatherers who could now spot ripe red fruits out of green leafy trees as well as potential dangers like venomous snakes and fish.

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(That snake could kill you.)

This is a huge advantage to marketers.

Red in your ads will catch users’ attention much more effectively than any other color.

However, the combination of red and blue is even more powerful as blue is more calming and relaxing.

For example, let’s reexamine the AdEspresso ad.

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Notice how the ad uses red to grab your attention and direct you to the “Try it now” button but combines it with some blue text to give the ad a more calming and friendly tone.

This is an easy psychological trick you can use to your advantage in your next campaign.

Colors are powerful. They’re a language unto themselves.

It’s time to start speaking this language with your customers. Why? Because it’s a language that is neurologically innate. We’ve learned the language of color through nature and through the complex development of our species.

Color has a way of communicating that doesn’t depend on effective ad copy or even a smiling picture of a model. Choosing the right color can drive up your engagement and improve your Facebook marketing.

3. Slash the price (by just one cent!)

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to find something in a supermarket that costs exactly $1 or exactly $5?

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That’s because, once again, the human brain has evolved to discern the difference between prices based on the left-most digit.

That’s the power of pricing.

For example, the reduction of one cent—from $100.00 to $99.99—is perceived as more significant than the reduction of 40 cents—from $99.99 to $99.59.

While the brain may suck at math, this is an incredibly easy-to-implement tactic that can increase your Facebook ad conversions almost instantly.

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This doesn’t work every time or in every situation. However, I have learned that odd styles of pricing are far more effective at luring customers in than flat, round numbers.

Give it a try. Run a split test with differing price points, and see which one wins.

4. Use now as a trigger word

Our brains are not wired for our modern technological era.

It sounds odd, I know. After all, most of us run around virtually tethered to some electronic device—wearing it, talking to it, and interacting with it.

But the brain is still trying to adapt to these devices, no matter how marvelous they are.

Our brains are still way back in the day when we were living on plains, hunting and gathering for survival. This means our brains are still wired for one of two basic responses: fight or flight.

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You’ve heard of fight or flight, haven’t you? The idea is simple: fight or flight is “the instinctive physiological response to a threatening situation, which readies one either to resist forcibly or to run away.”

The fight or flight response takes its toll on the entire body in various ways. Some of these effects are obvious—like sweating. Other effects are subtle—like digestion slowing down.

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Either way, our bodies respond.

Here’s how one science website describes it:

In response to acute stress, the body’s sympathetic nervous system is activated due to the sudden release of hormones. The sympathetic nervous systems stimulate the adrenal glands triggering the release of catecholamines, which include adrenaline and noradrenaline. This results in an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. After the threat is gone, it takes between 20 to 60 minutes for the body to return to its pre-arousal levels….In the face of something frightening, your heart beat quickened, you begin breathing faster, and your entire body become tense and ready to take action. This response can happen in the face of an imminent physical danger (such as encountering a growling dog during your morning jog) or as a result of a more psychological threat (such as preparing to give a big presentation at school or work).

In other words, our brains are wired to make impulse decisions.

Using the word now is a great way to capitalize on the brain’s propensity for impulsivity and get your customers to click on your Facebook ad.

Here’s how one Inc. writer describes the word now:

Immediacy is what everyone wants: Get what you want now. Make a change now. You can start now. Tomorrow is too late, yesterday is over, and now is exactly the right moment to start.

Humans are wired to want now. It’s just the way we are.

Cater to that desire in your ads or social campaigns, and you’re sure to improve your scores, conversions, and engagement.

5. Focus on the images, not the words

According to most modern studies, the brain processes images much faster than text.

This means that when you are designing your Facebook or other social media campaigns, you should focus more of your time and energy on the images you are using than the text you include.

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Social media today is a visually driven world. The more visual content you have and the better it is, the more successful your social media campaigns will be.

6. Create scarcity

We’ve established that the brain is wired for impulse decisions and fight or flight. Thus, ads featuring products with (perceived) scarcity instill a sense of urgency, influencing a customer’s desire to purchase.

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Notice how the “Only 24 Hours Left” warning creates a sense of urgency to buy.

You want it more because it’s scarcer.

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It’s called the scarcity principle, and it will work wonders for your social media strategy!

7. Use odd numbers for opt-ins

I was just about to write the conclusion to this article when I realized…

I can’t end on an even number!

Why? Because odd numbers are, for whatever reason, more psychologically appealing. Odd numbers improve engagement, increase click-throughs, and attract more eyeballs.

The simple takeaway?

  • If you are running a Facebook ad with a giveaway to increase email opt-ins, use an odd number to help increase conversions.
  • If you are posting an update about a listicle, use an odd-numbered headline.
  • If you are using a number in any place in your Facebook updates, use an odd number.

For example, the giveaway “9 Powerful Hacks to Massively Increase Facebook Ad Conversions” would convert much better than “10 Amazing Ways to Improve Your Conversion Rate” (according to science).

Conductor’s research showed that odd-numbered headlines have 36% more clicks and a 20% higher CTR than non-numbered or even-numbered headlines.

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The same principle holds true for Facebook ads, Facebook articles, and Facebook opt-ins.

Odd numbers just work.

Researchers have discovered that the mind considers odd numbers to be more natural. A list-driven article like this one, therefore, has a more trustworthy neurological connection due to its odd-numbered status.

Conclusion

More often than not, I find that most Facebook ads fail to utilize any of the above tools, and that is a shame because using human psychology is one of the most proven and consistent ways to increase your sales and conversions.

And the thing is none of these psychological insights are hard to implement!

That’s the power of consumer psychology. Knowing a few insights can be powerful and can positively impact your marketing efforts!

If you want to see any of the above advice in action, simply run an A/B split test, utilizing the power of color, facial expression, and trigger words. You’ll be AMAZED at the results.

Like with everything, however, don’t take my word for it. Go out there, and do it for yourself: test, test, test, and see what gets you the results.

I’m still curious. What kinds of psychological hacks are you testing and trying in order to improve your Facebook strategy?

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Comments

  1. Lisa Taylor Powers :

    Your link on research on odd numbers points to a blog that isn’t related to the article. Can you update the link?

  2. Osazee Kelvin :

    Nice one, Neil there’s a psychology to everything in the universe.

    I love the one of using smiling faces.

  3. Himmat Chahal :

    Sweet article!

    The part on odd numbers was somewhat surprising to me — not the odd numbers part, but the fact that you said you would expect a 9-list to perform better than 10-list. I’m inclined to trust you on this 🙂 however it is extremely surprising to me! But, I know I personally like odd numbers more than even (and prime numbers the most of all!) …

    I may have to add another item to make a top 10 article I have ready, a top 11 article hahaha or take away one, hmm.

    Regarding the $99.99 phenomenon, the data on A/B tests of an item priced at $X.99¢ vs $Y.00 would be fascinating to me. Everyone knows this concept is very real, but I’ve never read the #s on just how much better it converts. A quick google has left me with no data… although this article (disclaimer- i use their A/B testing software) https://vwo.com/blog/ab-testing-price-testing/ has just informed that A/B testing prices for identical products may be illegal ._.

    Well anyway, thanks again for another valuable article.

    • Himmat Chahal :

      Quick update regarding A/B testing prices: might not be illegal, found conflicting articles. Some people such as Udemy’s CEO say that everyone should A/B test (https://www.quora.com/Does-anyone-A-B-test-pricing). Perhaps it varies by country, not sure.

    • Psychology is amazing and it’s interesting to note that the behaviors and action of people are constantly changing. I use the VWO as well, thanks for the heads up on that.

      • Anil Agarwal :

        Facebook ads are great especially when you are launching a new app, blog or book or a product online. You need to target the right people by using the RIGHT headlines while creating the ads.

        Make sure to also focus on working their social triggers to itch their scratches. Thanks so much for the great insights on using Facebook strategy Neil!

  4. uthman saheed :

    This is cool and its a complete guide to attract customers on facebook. Though, I think people respond more to that of price slicing than any other one on the list. They always want to know the price of what you bring on board in comparison with the price of your competitors.

    Thats why companies like Shoprite in Nigeria is doing so well in terms of sales…Just because of a reduction of N1 from their product’s price.

    Just as you’ve rightly said, I will try, test and test to know which one will work best at an appropriate time.

    Thanks for the great content.

    • It’s all part of the selling process Uthman, and the internet makes that easy for the consumer. Glad this was helpful, let me know how this works out for you

  5. Shubham Kumar :

    What i have noticed on facebook is that using facial images Increases Organic reach to a great factor and its true. What have you noticed Neil?

    • Hmm yah I can see that, mainly because it’s more personal. However I think it would work more effectively for celebrities than non celebs

  6. David Throop :

    The surprising twist to your post was that as I read it, I could feel myself responding to the stimulus as you claimed I would.
    For example, the part about adding a smiling face in part 1 – especially the AdEspresso ad that was sandwiched between pictures of Noah Kagan and Tim Ferris. I could feel a slight revulsion to the AdEspresso ad that was soothed by the faces of those two men.

    Psychosomatic perhaps, but it definitely added validation for me.

    Thanks for sharing, I plan on testing some in my own way.

    • It’s fascinating really. Sometimes all it takes are small changes that will lead you to dramatic results.

      Great to hear you enjoyed David, let me know if you have any questions

  7. Great post Neil and once again you’ve nailed it as everything you mention applies exactly to my reactions when I have my consumer/buyer’s hat on. Great to see all this put together in one easy to access reference page – thank you.

  8. Nice Post,
    Sir I learnt Many thing From It, Which was totally unknown to me. Many many thanks to You for sharing such Post.

  9. Great post, Neil!

    I felt like Cialdini was talking through you in this post, updating his Influence knowledge into the world of Facebook. 🙂

  10. Photos with children faces bring many likes. Anyway, Likes are just Likes and not sales. LOL

  11. Femi Louis Ogumah :

    Neil, thank you hitting the nail on the head. A visual displays that appeals to the eye, speaks to the brain and trigger emotion. And that ‘s where conversion start from. Thank you for giving out this tips for all to work with.

  12. I love your articles Neil. And this is no exception.
    The odd number thing is SO true. Weird.
    Cheers for the great content. It’s always so immediately actionable which is what I love.
    Sarah

  13. Sharing quality content on social networks is a great way to leverage free traffic, engage people meaningfully and in longevity, and a unique way of gaining earned media.

  14. I’ve used a lot of these tactics for landing page design. It’s amazing to see the results. For instance, simply changing the colour of your CTA button can make a big difference.
    I also always check my colour wheel for different industries, like blue works well when it comes to financial markets as it instills confidence. Green for health, etc.

    • There are a lot of treatments you can give to your pages that are simple and easy and make a HUGE difference. I would start with bigger changes like headlines then work your way down to smaller things

  15. Once I was perusing through a forum and there was this banner image advertising seo services and the ad had a picture of a woman in a bikini lying flat on her stomach. I thought to myself WTH, but now that you have explained it, I guess whoever designed that ad understood the psychology behind advertising.

    • Often times, there is a lot of stuff going on behind the surface of the ad. When you you can see, you’re whole world changes

  16. Rajveer Rawlin :

    Thank You. Never thought this was part of the equation

  17. Samantha Fox :

    Agree on the power of color. Every time I test a facebook ad I make several ads with same content but different backgrounds, the difference is significant.

    Also when using picctures, in most cases I get better results when the person is looking straight at you.

    • Look at companies like McDonalds, Disneyland, and others. So much resources are poured into finding out the colors that will produce the best results

  18. hiren shuklas :

    Nice Post,
    Sir I learnt Many thing From It, Which was totally unknown to me. everytime you come up with new topics..

    Thanks a lot…

  19. Nice Post Neil. But you are pointing on page likes which is not matter anymore. I think now a day we saw many Facebook brand page which have millions of like but when they post something they never get like or conversion. more than 60% Facebook users are fake and Teenagers. But we know the power of facebook marketing. you have outstanding research post here. thanks for sharing with us.

  20. I’m definitely going to be testing the red and blue theme. Makes perfect sense when you think about it. Will let you know how it goes.

  21. To good article, Neil you are simply great

  22. Amazing insights, great stuff Neil

  23. Mudit Saxena :

    Hi Neil,

    I have completed all the current modules in the Advanced marketing program at NeilPatel.com
    At this stage in my business , it would be really helpful if I could access the other modules ,not yet released (Looking forward to the Media buying modules 🙂 ).

    Is there a way to arrange for that ?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated 🙂

    Cheers,
    Mudit Saxena

  24. Great article Neil.

    Creating effective visuals for content and ads can be quite overwhelming and confusing if you don’t have a design background. A lot of visual choices in marketing seem to be made based on personal preference rather than whether or not the choice will make the campaign more or less effective.

    You’ve broken this down into simple practical tips that make a lot of sense!

    • Yup, that way it’s easier for you to put it into action! Keep me posted with your progress, I’m happy to help answer any question I can 🙂

  25. Sir, great article. I am a big fan of you, But I don’t know a little bit of marketing. I want to make money from my blog. I have no money for facebook advertising. But I am reading your article which are related to blog marketing and making connection with readers. I want to be a successful blog marketer. Your articles are helping me a lot. Thanks to God who send you in the world.

  26. I didn’t know that there so much to learn about, this article paints a greater perspective of things one has to know. Thanks.

  27. Maanikamili :

    Very nice post here thanks for it I always like and search such topics and everything connected to them.Excellent and very cool idea and the subject at the top of magnificence
    and I am happy to comment on this topic through which we address the idea of positive reaction. This sharing concept is a good way to enhance the knowledge.

  28. Jill Berroth :

    Great article Neil!

    The human factor in Facebook ads has been something we noticed with clients that use Facebook advertising!

    I like the odd versus even in the headline! I will put that to use!

    Thank you for all the great information you share!

  29. Thank you for posting this blog post. Its amazing. Getting excited about the subsequent piece of writing.

  30. RightJobs.pk :

    Hey, Neil,

    Thanks for the awesome post., very good methods and very good article.

  31. Rosie Niblock :

    Thank for another great article! Fascinating stuff on faces, price points and odd numbers.

  32. nice post. the colors taht ontimate diffrentmeaning and impressions are quite useful i think that I too must use them on my blog.

  33. Julia Garrison :

    Nice article. Now I learn that I need a psychological insight and need a photo that convinced people to read my article. Thank you much Sir Neil for sharing your knowledge with us.

  34. Isaac Thuku :

    Thanks Neil for a good read.

    I’m working ways to increase likes on my Facebook page. These are very good insights especially the facial images and odd numbers in my titles or lists. I’ve always defaulted to even numbers which may explain the low engagement results so far.

  35. Josh Manion :

    Great post! Facebook does seem like it’s so hard to crack…I’ve made a few sells from Facebook though. Great tips like always Neil! =)

  36. Great post. I appreciate your insight to all things Facebook. I have some great tips to implement to my strategy now.

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  38. Wow, what a great post. I learned a lot from reading this one. Thank you for mentioning Post Planner! That was so nice of you. We love your blog!! 🙂

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