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Social Psychology and Marketing Tactics

While it can often be difficult to know exactly why one marketing campaign works and another doesn’t, there are plenty of psychological principles of human behavior which can be used to generate better, more effective marketing campaigns.  And don’t worry, you won’t need a degree in psychology to understand how these principles can help your business.

Leveraging Social Pressure

Humans by nature are social creatures.  We like to be included in the group, and we especially like to be considered “in the know” about the world and products around us.  By fostering good word of mouth for your business and your products, you can help create a situation where potential customers feel the pressure to become actual customers.  We see this best at work when an electronics company unveils a new product (when one friend gets a new iPad, everyone wants a new iPad).
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How Spotify and BranchOut Attracted Users
A common use of this marketing tactic is promoting services or social behavior through Facebook’s newsfeed.  Companies such as Spotify and BranchOut leveraged Facebook’s earlier policies which allowed them to push notification updates onto user’s Facebook feeds – which in turn notified those users’ Facebook friends about the service.  Remember when every song you listened to on Spotify would then be automatically posted to Facebook?  Yeah… not great when you let everyone know that you blast Demi Lovato before sales calls. The point is, these sites gained immense popularity and traction through this social marketing tactic (BranchOut with 25 million registered users and Spotify with 24 million users).

Social Media and Reciprocity

A lot of social interactions, especially among the younger consumer age brackets, come through social media.  The best part of Facebook and Twitter for your business is that you don’t have to be on the sideline of these social interactions.  By creating an account for your business, you’re able to be connect with customers and potential customers alike.
Social media forums are also a great place to use the psychological idea of reciprocity to benefit your marketing.  Perhaps you have a Facebook or Twitter giveaway, where fans or followers can potentially win something for sharing your content.  Even those that don’t win will be discussing your product, and your business’s name will be showing up in your customers news feeds as a company which cares about its customers.  This act makes your customers feel like you care. As it is human nature to want to help those that care about us, customers tend to reciprocate by purchasing your company’s products.

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Scarcity and Social Pressure

A final trait of humans is that they don’t like to be left out – particularly in a situation where being left out would make them one of the few people in a social circle without a certain product.  By advertising the scarcity of a product that has been selling decently, sales can be driven up in a short amount of time. “Only 8 left in stock” can be one of the most powerful motivators to get a potential customer to actually hit the “order” button.  The same practice can be applied to email copy and open rates.
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