6 Social Psychology Effects that Boost Any Communication Process

social psychology with chess

Marketers are trying to connect with their target audience in many ways. Most of them are focused on harnessing the power of social media, email marketing, and landing pages. The key to a successful marketing campaign is communication. You need to connect with the audience and engage them after understanding the accurate social psychology.

For that purpose, you need to tailor content that intrigues them, meets their needs, and gets their attention. How exactly are you supposed to achieve that goal? There are social psychology tricks that will help you spark and maintain the communication process with your audience. It doesn’t matter what marketing channels you use; these methods will be effective with any of them. When you understand social psychology, you’ll be able to overcome the gap between you and your audience. Here are the methods we suggest:

Social Psychology Effects that Boost Any Communication

  1. The Motivating-Uncertainty Effect

Research shows that people find rewards of an uncertain magnitude more motivating than rewards of a certain magnitude. Let’s try to translate it with an example: a marketer is trying to attract more users towards an online forum. They organize a contest for a user of the year, but they don’t clarify what the reward will be. The forum users vote, and finally they choose the favorite member of the community. The owner of the site evaluates their interests through the posts, and gives a price they would absolutely love. For example, if the member was mostly active in literature-related thread, they will give them the latest Kindle model.

This strategy is effective from two aspects:

  • The uncertainty adds to the excitement. “What will I get if I win? Will it be a perfume? A $500 voucher? Or just a discount card? Whatever it is, at least I’ll win something.”
  • The surprise at the end of the process is invaluable. If you inform the users about the prize before the contest begins, you waste the opportunity to throw a surprise.

People are more likely to invest their time and money when they expect an uncertain outcome. This doesn’t mean you can bring the communication down to “give me your money and you won’t know what to expect.” You need to use this method very subtly throughout the communication with your audience.

  • Organize contests without telling what the final prize will be. Just make hints that it will be something awesome, and you better make it awesome.
  • Reward your most loyal users unexpectedly. Without making any prior announcements about the planned award, give it to a random customer and say that this practice will continue every month. People will keep relying on your offer, hoping they’ll be the lucky ones next time.

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  1. The Noble Edge Effect

When a company cares about the community and supports it through noble activities, the customers feel they are taking part in something greater when they are making a purchase. Apple understands this social psychology trick pretty well. With their (PRODUCT)RED campaign, they are promoting the corporation’s social goodwill, saying that with each purchase from this category, the customers support the fight for an AIDS-free generation.

Research shows that corporate social responsibility is not only a tool for boosting the brand’s reputation, but it also influences the way the target audience evaluates the products. The perceptions of the consumers can be altered through such a campaign; they expect the companies that care about the future of society are performing better than the ones that are not engaged in charitable activities.

This is possible only when the company’s interest to make a change in this world is seen as genuine. Thus, a marketer has a tricky goal: increasing awareness about the cause and inviting the target audience to join the fight. They should not perceive this method as a marketing trick.

  • If you’re organizing a promotion for a new product, inform your audience that 10% of the income you receive on the first day will go to charity. Specify the cause you’ll contribute to, and inform your audience about it. Remind them about the important date through email newsletters and social media updates.
  • Use the brand’s social media pages for increasing awareness about social causes. Your campaign has to be genuine, so the followers will believe they are making real contributions by making a purchase. Remember: you don’t donate with the purpose to generate publicity; you donate because it’s the right thing to do.
  • Inform the audience about the way you support the causes. Show the checks, events, and projects. You won’t do this from an advertiser’s point of view. Make it all about them. Thank your customers for making these things possible, and they will feel very special for being your users.
  1. The Lucky Loyalty Effect
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Think about the way airways appreciate their frequent flyers with points. The passengers are motivated to use the same company over and over again, so they become loyal to it. That’s the lucky loyalty effect – the more they spend, the luckier they get.

When someone invests in your brand, they expect something in return. We are not talking about the ‘you get what you pay for’ principle, which most business owners stick to. We’re talking about something extra – special treatment that shows you appreciate their loyalty. When they see such an offer, they will think “I’m so lucky I’m a loyal customer.”

Here’s how you can use this effect to your own advantage:

  • Recognize the customers who spend more, or the loyal followers who post regular comments on your blog and social media pages. Pay attention to their activity.
  • Engage your loyal users with special email promotions. You’ll gain a double advantage with this step: you will motivate them to spend more, but you’ll also make them feel special.
  • Provide rewards for customers who spend more money on your products or services. This kind of marketing is useful because you’ll persuade the customers to spend more, but they won’t feel like they are wasting their money.
  1. The Speak-Easy Effect

When marketers engage in content marketing, they often try to impress the audience with big words and complex sentences. That’s not the right thing to do. Let’s think about the psychology effect:

  • If you’re targeting intellectuals, most of them will understand what you’re trying to say. However, you can’t expect them to think “wow, I’m so smart for understanding this.” They already know they are smart. You shouldn’t underestimate them with too short sentences and obvious advice. However, that doesn’t mean you should get too ambitious with your style. What if they don’t understand some of the words or they find the sentence structure distracting?
  • When you convey your message through clear language, people will understand it. When they understand exactly what you say, there’s a greater chance they will believe in it.

According to the psychology behind the speak-easy effect, people trust and value the words that are easier to say. When the words are unfamiliar, people perceive the message as risky. Let’s say you’re writing content to promote an engagement ring brand. You are considering two options for a simple call to action you’re about to display on a Facebook ad:

  • Are you contemplating to ask someone’s hand in marriage? We have an exquisite range of precious stone rings. Manifest your appreciation!
  • You’re going to propose? We offer beautiful diamond rings that last forever. Show your love!

Clearly, the first example is incomprehensive. Words like contemplating and exquisite would confuse most foreigners, so the marketer risks losing an important part of the target audience. The second example, on the other hand, is very clear and on-point. The potential customer gets the message and they are more likely to click the link.

Here are few tips that will help you use this psychology effect to your advantage:

  • Always keep the content simple, especially when you’re calling people to action.
  • Read the piece out loud before publishing it. Can you easily pronounce every single word in it?
  • Use a tool like Hemingway Editor, which will help you improve the readability level of your content. Assignment Masters editing may help you to fight common misspellings and blunders
  1. The Optimism Bias

When people are thinking about your offer, they tend to inflate the benefits they will get and downplay the possible disadvantages that might occur. Science proves this tendency: all people are able to anticipate the potential outcomes of their actions. When they are making projections of the future, they underestimate the possibility of negative events and they overestimate the likelihood of positive events.

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For example, when someone buys a car, they don’t expect to get in a car accident. When they buy a juicer, they expect to use it for boosting their health, not for treating diseases through nutrition. This is a phenomenon called the optimism bias.

A marketer can use that deliberate tendency of the brain to ignore the possibility for a bad future. How exactly can you do that?

  • Don’t even think about hiding the potential for negative events. If, for example, you’re marketing a yoga class, inform your target audience about the potential of injury. They should also know all contraindications, so they won’t practice poses that would hurt them. Whatever you’re selling or promoting, it’s important to care about the safety of your consumers.
  • Never put the emphasis on the bad stuff, though. Although you’ll make the potential for a negative outcome obvious, you should focus on the precaution measures to convince your customers that if they are careful, they will experience only the benefits. Instead of using negative language, you can be optimistic by placing the accent on everything good they will gain thanks to your brand.
  • Ask for previous users of your products or services to share their experience, and feature the most positive testimonials on your website. This approach will emphasize the optimism bias in potential users.
  1. The Inaction Inertia Effect

Online stores like Strawberrynet and Asos use the urgent call to action really effectively. Their deals last for a very short time, so you feel an urge to make the purchase as soon as possible. If you wait, the product may go out of stock, or the promotion will end and you’ll have to get it with the full price. Knowing that you had an opportunity to buy it really cheap, you probably won’t pay the full price in future even if you really like the product. So, you’re encouraged to close the deal right now.

Research shows that, from a marketer’s point of view, large discounts and attractive bonuses might lead to a negative side effect: inertia. The audience won’t value your offer for its full price if you already gave them a chance to get it really cheap. That’s why you have to plan the way you communicate these offers very carefully.

  • It’s best to give discounts when the stocks are low. This strategy works well for retail stores, since they will no longer offer the same product again in future.
  • Give seasonal discounts. People expect them and usually save some money to spend around Christmas, so you can attract them with a seasonal offer.
  • If you provide daily discounts and you encourage the customers to close the deal as soon as possible, make sure to emphasize the true value of the product. This should be an entire marketing campaign, which will periodically feature different products and other kinds of offers, which will keep the customers coming back at your site. As a result, you won’t risk facing the inertia effect.

Understand Your Target Audience and Your Marketing Campaign Will Shine

People’s psychology is never easy to understand. If you tried to figure out how your customer persona thought and what factors influenced their decisions, you would probably end up more confused than ever. The good news is: you don’t have to go through that process alone. Psychologists and researchers did that work for us, so we can continue being what we are: marketers.

The 6 social psychology effects described above will help you guide your marketing campaign towards progress. Analyze them very carefully, and you’ll understand the customer’s decision-making process a bit better. As a result, you will develop a more effective, convincing communication method that will encourage them to close the deal.

      • Karan Bhagat

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