10 Psychology Principles To Influence Social Media Marketing


The influence of social media has become more and more prevalent and typical every day, which makes it an everyday thing for everyone. 

As marketers today base their strategies on research, trends, and past experience, it’s also important to note that studying and understanding human behavior helps influence their decisions.

Understanding how people think and act is an important aspect that should be considered, even though these factors are crucial. 

Understanding how the target audience behaves is the key to taking marketing efforts to the next level.

They react when content touches a personal or emotional chord with the audience.

Organizations and firms have improved their social media strategies by studying consumers. 

As we live in a global social media society, psychology plays an essential role in the success of social media and how business owners promote their products and services through social media.

If you want to attract customers, you must appeal to their emotions. 

The development of long-term customer relationships depends on it. 

Buyers make buying decisions based on their emotions most of the time.

You may be wondering how psychology can be used to generate a successful social media campaign.

Psychology: Linking Human Behavior And The Influence Of Social Media

The effects of marketing on consumers and their reactions were heavily dependent on assumptions more than half a century ago.

As a result of the work of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, behavioral economics has laid the foundation for understanding human economic decision-making.

In today’s world, marketing strategies are primarily based on empirical studies, which also apply to social media marketing.

It is crucial to understand and leverage human behavior to market effectively, which has been the subject of much scientific research and findings. 

Sadly, most of these publications are comprised of technical journals whose naming conventions and technical jargon are challenging for non-experts to understand.

This article aims to simplify some of the most important psychological principles so you can improve your social media marketing strategies.

Here are ten social media marketing principles based on psychology:


During a lifetime, the brain can adapt and change due to experience, which is called neuroplasticity. 

It refers to the brain’s ability to change, reorganize, or grow neural networks. 

Learning can lead to structural or functional changes due to brain activity or damage.

New experiences continuously alter the behavior and response of the human brain to stimuli. 

However, our brains have become even more adaptable due to the growth of the internet – especially social media.

As the social media sphere has changed rapidly and constantly over the last decade, this type of evolution is known as neuroplasticity.

The intersection of neoplasticity and social media provides marketers with two key insights:

People are attracted to social media because of the need for digestible and bold messaging to address shortened attention spans.

As a result of the onslaught of information coming at us from various platforms and devices, we are increasingly unable to pay attention to everything at once. 

According to numerous research findings, people tend to lose concentration after just eight seconds.

Thus, marketers must devise easily digestible messaging that stands out enough to capture the target audience’s attention.

Brands like GoPro and Nike keep their followers engaged with inventive social media strategies.

As such, businesses and brands need to create multi-channel marketing experiences, thus the demand to increase functionality and practical solutions in a single package.

The second reason is that we are fast becoming a multitasking society.

Our ability to multitask and interact with others in multiple ways has trained our brains to switch between tasks constantly.

According to research findings, consumers use digital technology in three natural attention modes. 

As a result, we “blend tasks across devices” as part of an attention ambidextrous mode. 

Although whether or not it enhances productivity is an entirely different issue, we do it because we feel it increases our productivity.

For marketers, this desire to multitask presents another exciting challenge. 

And as a result, we’re ultimately tasked with creating multi-touch or multi-channel experiences to stay top-of-mind with consumers. 


Neuroeconomics is an interdisciplinary field that seeks to explain human decision-making, the ability to process multiple alternatives, and to follow through on a plan of action. 

In this field, economists study how economic behavior shapes neuroscientific discoveries that can influence our understanding of the brain, as well as how economic models.

Marketing has become increasingly interested in neuroeconomics, which combines economics, psychology, and neuroscience.

Rather than focusing purely on one field, neuroeconomics examines how different factors impact human decision-making and thought processes. 

Marketers benefit significantly from understanding the inner workings behind such behavior. 

It has been shown that certain hormones can influence human decisions, desires, and actions when engaged in social media activities.

Social media, for instance, can increase the production of oxytocin – a hormone best known for fueling mother-child bonds. 

Oxytocin stimulates the brain and acts as a stimulant that enables us to engage in all sorts of transactions. It is a “social glue” that binds families, communities, and societies.

This hormone can profoundly affect how we communicate with friends, family, and brands on social media – including how we make purchases.

Transactive Memory

People often develop specialized divisions of labor in continuing relationships, known as transactive memory.

Psychologically speaking, encoding, storing, and retrieving information from different knowledge domains involves specific roles.

In other words, transactive memory is when we rely on social support as external memory aids to piece together our memories.

For example, memory can be regarded as a social construct as humans tend to collect and store information or details of other people to help us distinguish one from another.

Since digital networks can be maintained in a more significant number and reach than in real life, social media has evolved this concept to a whole new level.

There is no denying that this has affected our collective memory and attention spans – and it remains to be seen whether that is a long-term positive or negative. 

This is one behavioral element that social media giants leverage when creating and placing content for social media.

Generally, people will only spend a little bit of time on anything a brand creates, but that might not be because they aren’t interested. 

Basically, we’re becoming quicker decision-makers regarding what deserves our attention. 

Hence, branded content should not only have a compelling hook but also come from a trusted and authentic source – someone who triggers that transactive memory.

Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO)

FOMO – or fear of missing out on something fun or exciting – is probably familiar to you.

Since social media allows us to document so much of our daily lives, the concept has evolved significantly. 

Nowadays, we don’t have to wait for anyone close to us to tell us they are doing something exciting or interesting to trigger our feelings of exclusion. 

Just scrolling through your social media feed can trigger this type of anxiety. 

In the social sphere, brands can leverage this to their advantage.

Most people follow a few brand accounts, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or any other social media platform. 

Brands can use psychological fear to suggest that their audience may miss out on something if they don’t buy their product, attend their webinar, visit their new website, etc.

You can establish a good connection with your target audience by creating some anxiety and jealousy, but be sure to use the tactic appropriately. 

Several studies have shown that FOMO can lead to increased dissatisfaction with one’s life and a loss of privacy, so keep things friendly for others’ sake.

Status Anxiety

Knowing that social media can trigger anxiety or negative emotions doesn’t mean we should use it maliciously or abuse it.

In the same way, FOMO can be leveraged into a positive concept, and marketers can spin status anxiety into a positive idea.

It’s no secret that humans have suffered from status anxiety since forming tribes and groups. 

Ideally, we would like to be viewed highly, desired, and regarded as intelligent, attractive, funny, or entertaining. But, most importantly, we want to be considered valued members of the group, community, organization, or company.

In short, we want to fit in— which is the same way when it comes to social media. 

As a result of this longing to belong, people must do something to elevate their status among their peers.

This might mean giving your audience members social media shoutouts or exclusive content and invites so they can share it with their followers.

It can do wonders to spark new participation and engagement when those who get the direct rewards get a happy chemical reaction. But, at the same time, everyone else feels anxious about being left out.

Social Proof

In a given situation, people assume the appropriate behavior of others by considering the actions of others, according to American psychologist and academic Robert Cialdini.

Known worldwide for his research on ethics and influence, Cialdini is considered a foundational expert in the field. 

Cialdini developed his Seven Principles of Persuasion, which has become the cornerstone for any organization serious about effectively increasing its influence.

When it comes to social media, social proof is used both in offline and online marketing in a variety of ways. 

Marketers are fully aware of this because whether we like it or not, we now live in a social media society.

People are more inclined to identify with brands if people they trust/admire talk about them.

Using influencers on social media is one way to offer social proof. 

Marketers need to tap into people with large followings, as they provide social proof to their audience that they can trust you.


One of Cialdini’s principles can be pretty straightforward – people respond to people they like. 

It usually happens because they share an interest and identify with the person. 

You can use this approach to market your business online by posting things that interest your audience on social media. 

Putting a human touch on your brand will allow others to connect with you more easily.

The Law of Simplicity

Humans prefer to process simple information in a certain way, technically referred to as the Law of Pragnanz.

Regarding social media marketing, you need to make sure everything is clear and easy to understand. 

It is essential to simplify your content – make it as easy as possible for people to understand!

The key to social media success is to satisfy the needs and wants of your audience. 

Identify what your audience wants, and then create content that provides them with a way of achieving what they desire through your content. 

The more people feel that you are the one who holds the answers, the more likely they are to engage with you.

The purpose of your social media marketing strategy should be to convince people why they should buy your products or services.

Through your content, you can demonstrate to them why they need you in the first place.


From the very beginning of their existence, human beings are wired to return favors and repay debts. In other words, the human condition is treating others the same way we have.

Reciprocity is the idea that when one receives favors from another, they are obliged to provide the same favor to another. 

According to psychology, humans do not like to feel obligated to others, which is why it is in their nature to return the favor.

In social media, reciprocity refers to your replies to comments on Facebook/Instagram, retweeting people on Twitter, and giving your audience a follow across social media. 

This taps into the reciprocation concept, where people feel compelled to pay you back for doing things for them. 

You’re more likely to have them follow and retweet your Twitter posts, which helps you grow your social media following.

Reciprocation needs to be patterned and designed as to how it could resonate with the audience, which generally results in positive engagement.

The principle of framing this concept is simple; audiences respond differently based on how something is designed, packaged, and presented.

 Positive framing leads to positive engagement, so frame your content positively. 

In this theory, people change their views after being exposed to the same thing for an extended period. 

If you are in the marketing business, you could post the same content or repeat the same messages in varied forms or methods because the more you do, the more impact it will have on your followers.


It is ingrained in our minds to respond well to authority figures and sources. So please take advantage of this idea regarding your social media marketing campaign.

The tendency to obey authority figures, even those who ask others to commit reprehensible acts, is part of human nature. 

Certain accessories provide an air of authority to people, such as honorary or job titles, uniforms, or positions of power, which make them more likely to be regarded, accepted, or believed for what they say on a subject they are associated with. 

For instance, you can see this in commercials in which doctors or industry leaders, for example, speak or present in advertising campaigns.

This means sharing information from authoritative sources is vital to provide your followers with expert, reliable and trustworthy information. 

As a result, you create the impression that your business is a knowledgeable presence in addition to being authoritative.


Understanding human behavior is essential, especially if you want to know what makes people tick, their needs, wants, desires, and what influences their decisions. 

The same holds in the marketing world, and psychology plays a crucial role in understanding and leveraging human behavior to make brands more relevant, meaningful, and attractive to people – mastering these principles is the key to using the influence of social media to work for your brand.

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