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In this digital age, it would be brand suicide to forgo a social media presence entirely. While a monk-like abstinence from the capitalist clutches of Meta might seem like a worthy way to reclaim your humanity, the reality is we businesses need these channels to play in today’s market. Whether you’re a local bakery selling cupcakes or a tech goliath operating internationally, an Instagram feed is the outer-most edge of a company, and often the interface first seen by consumers. A well-designed layout with clickable content will keep your audience engaged and emotionally invested, giving you the edge over your competition. But what separates basic content and copy from impactful ones? At Salecology, we take a neuroscientific approach to sales and philanthropy, utilizing what psychology has uncovered about how the brain works in order to sell and communicate effectively. Here are some hot tips to take your social media posts from vapid to viral.


“I Know You Want It” – The Art of Persuasive Language

 Let’s begin with and absolute must, the incorporation of persuasive language techniques. There are dozens to choose from, so here are our top picks:

Speak Directly to your Customer

Do this, don’t be shy, say ‘hello’! When brands break that fourth wall by addressing their audience directly, they are essentially reaching through the screen and tapping their customers on the shoulder. This is an extremely effective tool to get people to stop scrolling and pay attention, while also helping to humanize your brand. Consider how you might rephrase the language in upcoming content to be more direct and conversational.

Crack A Joke

So, take this one with a grain of salt and apply it if you feel your brand would benefit from a touch of comedic levity. Hospitals, disaster relief not-for-profits, and funeral services, sorry, you guys are gonna have to sit this one out. But for everyone else, humour is a smart way to break the ice and stay memorable, especially as attention spans dwindle. Pick a safe topic to poke some fun at while finding a creative way to spin your brand’s message or services into it. This technique will help loosen up your copy writers and spur creativity.

Fe Fi FOMO Fum

There is a certain social currency granted for being ‘in the know’. We all have that one friend who recommends we try this and that: this game-changing product, that swanky new bar, this underground artist, that hidden gem. When we experience these things firsthand, we’re rewarded with hits of dopamine as we feel connected to our friends and environment, like one of the ‘in’ crowd. As Instagram and TikTok have become the portals through which social life is witnessed, companies might consider producing content that taps into this fear of missing out. What kind of social graces, conveniences and experiences are users of your product taking advantage of? How can you highlight these benefits to stimulate FOMO in your target audience?

If FOMO Fails, Highlight the Lowlights

The other way you could approach the FOMO strategy is by shedding light on the negative outcomes of not using your product or service. Now, we don’t mean you harp on the doom and gloom of it all, but rather outlining how the absence of your product could leave your customer lacking something important. This technique is best coupled with a call to action, “Don’t wait ‘till you’re badly burnt, order your bottle of Sunny Sunscreen today!”


Make it Pop with the Isolation Effect

Here’s a simple but effective trick to get people to focus on exactly what you want them to focus on: place the subject of your photo in the middle and allow for plenty of space on all sides. BAM, you’ve done it. The subject is isolated in the frame, and just like that, you’ve created a piece of memorable content. Photos like these are arresting because they offer a reprieve from the onslaught of information, a moment of calm for the eyes to rest and focus on only one thing. Considering the fact that 65% of people are visual learners, having a couple design tricks up your sleeve will help stop scrollers in their tracks and remember your product.


Loud and Proud with the Amplification Hypothesis 

This psychological theory states that adopting a strong, definitive attitude about a given topic will strengthen those same attitudes in others, while a weaker stance will soften their attitude and inspire ambivalence. In other words, people are more likely to believe what you say or write if unwavering certainty is displayed. When it comes time to post on socials, all text should read clearly and confidently to persuade consumers.

Whatever message you’re hoping to convey, proclaiming it with conviction will allow your audience to know exactly where you stand, allowing them to agree or disagree with you. This is key to building engaging content, essentially opening the floor to discussion in the comments section.


If You Know, You Know: The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon

Also known as the Frequency Illusion, this phenomenon occurs when you learn about something for the first time, then proceed to mysteriously see or hear about it everywhere. Maybe you’re in the market to buy a new car, you’re reading up on your preferred make and model, and suddenly you’re seeing this exact vehicle on the roads everywhere you go. The phenomenon occurs because our brains have evolved to be exceptional at pattern recognition, thus bestowing a disproportionate level of importance to coincidences, as these seem to us like the beginning of some crucial dataset. Our reward centres are stimulated when we see and recognize patterns, which is why coincidences carry this feeling of wonderment. We’re shocked at the number of times we’re noticing this vehicle but fail to internalize how many times we’re not seeing this vehicle; how many more cars don’t fit this coincidence.

When it comes to selling via social, the principles we learn from The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon are transferable. Stay consistent in your message, in your content, in your branding, and in your engagement. Do it over and over, and when you think your customer has gotten the message, say it ten more times. Over time you’ll begin to see the psychological effects of this repetition; your followers will view you as helpful, knowledgeable, and even more benevolent. When your ideas are consistently there, people become attached to that idea.


Trigger a Response Through Controversiality & Polarization

 Yes, you read that correctly. No, we don’t mean spouting your religious opinions through talking cat memes. Instead, clickable content is made that much more enticing if what’s stated isn’t universally agreed upon. Times are changing, and once-taboo topics like marijuana use and same-sex marriage are becoming mainstream. Savvy brands who’ve studied their target market will use these topics to align themselves with their audience, all while boosting engagement. When you create polarizing social media content, you’re essentially drawing a line between “us” and “them.”

For example, if the majority of your audience are educated, democratic, and younger than 45, it would be safely controversial to make a joke along the lines of “Good morning to everyone, except those who voted for T*ump, to whom we wish an average, unremarkable morning.” This will score big with your target market, and they’ll perceive your brand as more human, more modern, and respect the somewhat ballsy content. Of course, injecting humour to convey lightheartedness will help these sorts of posts go over smoothly and remind everyone not to take them too seriously.

With that said, inspiring positive emotional responses will be key in boosting engagement. According to ‘Psychological Science’, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, evoking certain emotions can help increase the chance of a message being shared. Their study explains, “The sharing of stories or information may be driven in part by arousal. When people are physiologically aroused, whether due to emotional stimuli or otherwise, the autonomic nervous system is activated, which then boosts social transmission.” While emotionally charged content had a stronger impact on the audience, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that the more positive the content, the more it was shared.


Final Thoughts

Whatever your industry, incorporating these psychological tricks into your social media gambit will boost engagement while strengthening your brand in your target market’s eyes. As the 2020’s continue to unfold we enter an era of transparency, accountability, and personality; competition is hot, the markets are saturated, and information is disseminated faster than ever before. To stand out amongst the crowd, future-ready firms will employ a diverse range of techniques to give their content edge and virality.


If you’re interested to know how Salecology can help you and/or your team can connect with your customers subconscious mind, influencing them to say YES, resulting in more sales go to