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?
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Seeing a face is way more appealing than seeing some inanimate object.
It works not only on posts, like the ones above, but on sidebar ads too.
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.
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.
Notice how the headshot of Noah Kagan smiling instantly changes your mood and instills trust.
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.
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
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.
(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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Notice how the “Only 24 Hours Left” warning creates a sense of urgency to buy.
You want it more because it’s scarcer.
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.
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.
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?