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Using “emotions” in your social media strategy: Best practices

Psychology plays an important role in convincing the customer to complete a sale. A successful marketer is one who understands the tricks of applying the psychology of emotion into any marketing strategy.

When it comes to social media, marketers follow the trend of sharing content pieces without even tracking the level of engagement that each share receives.

Social Flow did a study to measure the engagement for each social post and the results are shocking. In terms of engagement, more than 99% of posts generate close to zero engagement.

(Source: Social Flow Study)

Now, what does that convey? Marketers are sharing posts only to satisfy their own emotions without caring a dime for consumers. This needs to be changed and marketers must start applying the science of psychology that cares for the emotions of the consumer.

Types of emotions

You might be surprised to know but there are 27 different types of human emotions as suggested by Alan S. Cowen and Dacher Keltner, PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. It’s no surprise that all our actions are a reaction of any one of these 27 emotions.

types of emotions

(Image courtesy: Tim David)

Here is the massive list of emotions that the human brain can convey:

  • Admiration
  • Adoration
  • Aesthetic Appreciation
  • Amusement
  • Anxiety
  • Awe
  • Awkwardness
  • Boredom
  • Calmness
  • Confusion
  • Craving
  • Disgust
  • Empathetic pain
  • Entrancement
  • Envy
  • Excitement
  • Fear
  • Horror
  • Interest
  • Joy
  • Nostalgia
  • Romance
  • Sadness
  • Satisfaction
  • Sexual desire
  • Sympathy
  • Triumph

As a marketer, you must understand your customer’s emotions at a particular micro-moment and then react accordingly.

For example, if someone is searching with the keyphrase “amusement parks in Atlanta” then the emotion of the searcher at that particular micro-moment is “joy”.

amusement parks in atlanta joy

Similarly, if someone is searching for a gift for his valentine then the emotion is “romance”.

valentines gift love

You need to identify the type of emotion your customers possess at the time of search and then create content pieces that provide a feeling of satisfaction to them after they complete a particular action. Like in the case of an amusement park, if the booking is done, the customer will feel satisfied or in the case of a Valentine gift, the searcher is satisfied after the gift has been ordered.

Leverage the power of emojis to convey emotions with a single character

Emoji are fantastic and can serve as a great weapon in every social media marketer’s arsenal. Emojis have the power to connect with the human mind within seconds which is not possible in the case of text-based marketing.

Have a look at the McDonald’s good times campaign that leverages the power of emoji to connect with the audiences.

McDonalds good times emoji campaign

McDonalds good times emoji campaign

McDonalds good times emoji campaign

McDonald’s is able to drive more followers, more engagement with narrative tweets like the ones provided above.

Make the customer understand the advantage of your product instead of selling your products directly

There are lesser chances of customers buying your products if you sell them directly. Instead, identify the USP of your product and relate it to a social cause. Thereafter, promote that social cause and people will gradually understand the effectiveness of your product. This is indirect selling but it leads to massive sales and branding.

Kitchen Cabinet Kings Plant a Tree Campaign was a huge success where the company promised to plant a tree for every sale made and also promoted the cause – build a greener planet. When people bought a new cabinet they supported the cause of making this world a greener place. This attracted the customer and invoked emotions in order to support the social cause. In the entire, process, the cabinet got sold!

plant a tree campaign

Fear is one of the strongest emotions that leads to direct action

Marketers must understand that fear is one of the strongest emotions that people can’t ignore and it often leads to a direct action.

Have a look at how BMW supports the cause of stopping drunk driving.

bmv stop drunk driving

Similarly, you can see the fear in commercials for smoking, global warming, drugs, medical equipment, green tea, hospitals, refined oils, insurance or even detergents.

drink green tea prevent alzheimers

The list can go on and on, and the idea is simple: think of a fear that people have and how your product or service provides a solution to it.

Fear is trending on social media and brands are making the full use of this powerful human emotion to drive actions.

Steps to create your emotion powered social strategy

  • Step 1: List down the micro-moments and prepare an audience persona.
  • Step 2: Figure out the emotion that will work best.
  • Step 3: Tie your brand philosophy, emotion, and social cause altogether.
  • Step 4: Create impressive visual content harnessing the power of storytelling based on the targeted social platforms.
  • Step 5: Take the help of emotional copywriting to produce content pieces that go viral in no time and leverage the power of Facebook ads for reaching new customers.
  • Step 6: Add a piece of “action” in your content that the potential customer needs to take in order to support the social cause and move towards the end of the purchase funnel.
  • Step 7: Start sharing the content pieces across the targeted social channels (Hint: Take the help of Artificial intelligence to boost social engagement levels in lesser time and use marketing automation to curate content or tweet multiple times).
  • Step 8: A/B test the success of content pieces and continue to revamp them to generate more traction.


There is no existence in this world without emotions! Similarly, your brand will die if your marketing campaigns don’t invoke emotions. Follow the steps mentioned above and intelligently power up your social media campaigns for greater ROI.

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