Before I start, I want to first thank Steve for inviting me to write a guest post for his blog. My name is Jacquie and I am an SEO account manager by day, and a blogger at Claws Up by night. However, life wasn’t always this glamorous. It wasn’t that long ago that I was a poor college student working hard on my psychology degree. Now, I am a poor young professional trying to put everything together.

A question that I am frequently asked is “how can you use a psychology degree in the SEO and marketing world?” Having knowledge of principles in psychology is actually useful in almost all areas of life. Tapping into how the human brain functions can be the missing piece to the puzzle.

Human psychology is such a vast topic, it would be impossible to cover it all in one blog post, let alone in one lifetime of studying. However, I wanted to take the time to elaborate on a few points and principles that could be applied to the marketing world.

1. Color Coordinate

Have you ever noticed that McDonald’s restaurants are always plastered with colors of yellow and red? Or that you can usually find blue and green in a doctor’s office? That is because colors can actually generate different emotions.

First, decide how you want to brand yourself. Next, use imagery with colors to reflect that. Do you own a spa? Promote tranquility with shades of blue. A technology company? The color silver is the color for you. What about a bakery? The color pink represents sweetness.

Once you determine the best colors for your brand, evoke emotions using pictures. Did you know that Facebook posts that contain images get 2.3x more engagement? Adding images will already boost engagement, but now you have the tools to use these images to elicit emotions as well.

2. Elicit Emotions

Speaking of emotions, we can’t talk about psychology without mentioning the E word. Freud compared the human mind to an iceberg. What a person is experiencing on the surface is only a small percent of what makes up their psyche as a whole, and the tip of the iceberg contains these basic emotions.

I’m sure you have heard the classic line when making a psychologist joke, “How does that make you feel?” That’s because how a person experiences their emotions can open the door into the part of the iceberg that’s below the water.

A study was done on the emotions that were provoked from various viral social media posts. What was found was that they all triggered, at least, one of these five emotions: Admiration, Interest, Serenity, Amazement, and Astonishment. Best practice is to use two or more of these emotions in a social media post. At the very least, focus on Interest.

  • Admiration
  • Interest
  • Serenity
  • Amazement
  • Astonishment.

Best practice is to use two or more of these emotions in a social media post. At the very least, focus on Interest.

3. Personalize It

Everyone thinks that it’s just the millennials that are into themselves, but psychology says that all of us have a personal identity that we focus on. Your personal identity is a set of characteristics that you would use to describe yourself. People refer to their own personal identity when dealing with perception. Specifically, how others see you and how you see yourself.

As you know, social media marketing is all about identifying your target audience, and figuring out the best way to reach them. First, figure out who your audience is, and then from there you can determine the personality identity of the group as a whole.

Once you nail down these characteristics, call them out! By mentioning these characteristics when talking about your product, users will feel connected to your brand. For example: “Are you the kind of person who is tough, rugged, and strong? Then you will love our new 3-in-1 Drill Kit!”

4. Mere Exposure Theory

When was the last time you saw a commercial for a product, and you immediately ran out and bought it? Chances are, probably never. You might think that commercials don’t work, but if that was the case, you would be enjoying commercial-free TV 24/7.

The beauty of advertising lies in psychology principle of the Mere Exposure Theory. That’s just a fancy name for “the more you see it, the more you like it.” Have you ever watched a movie and the first time didn’t love it, but after a few re-watches, it became one of your favorites?

This idea can easily be applied to social media marketing, just keep posting! Every time you can make yourself visible, you are going to be liked even more. Don’t be afraid to re-share an old post, just make sure you do it appropriately for the social media platform you are using.

5. Reverse Psychology

I’m sure that you are well aware of the principle of reverse psychology (you might have used it a time or two to get your kids to eat their veggies). But just to refresh, it is when you tell someone not to do something, and it just makes them want to do it more.

This principle can be used in your online marketing strategy. When you tell someone not to click through, you will entice them to want to do it even more, thus increasing your click-through rate. Just a word of caution, do not use this tactic too frequently, or you will be accused of click-baiting.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to use psychology to improve your social media marketing, and this post just scratches the surface. Do more research! Keep finding ways to use psychology, and you will see even more engagement on your posts.

Do you use any of these psychology principles in your social media marketing? Have you used one that I didn’t mention?

About Jacquie Colman

Jacquie is a native and proud New Yorker, currently living in Northern Virginia. She works for a company that helps small businesses with their social media and web visibility. Jacquie has also been running her own blog for almost 5 years. When she is not working or blogging, Jacquie can be found spending time with her fiance Ben, and her cat.