Why do things go viral? Or even just trend on Twitter? What makes a post so clickable that people can't help but share it long after the interest should have died down? Emotion. Not what you were expecting?
Think about it. When you look at viral videos, or Twitter trends, or even just the most-shared news items that get passed around on any given day, the one thing they have in common is that they make people FEEL something - and that's the secret sauce that social marketers need to add to their recipes.
Here are some examples to prove my case:
No Butts About It
Many times the things that gain the most traction online are those that inspire conflicting/competing emotions. There may not be a more polarizing family than the Kardashians - especially when one of them sets out to intentionally "break" the Internet.
But here's the thing - whether you loved it, hated it, thought it was gorgeous, or ridiculous, you probably commented on or shared a pic of Kim Kardashian's booty. Mission accomplished, Team Kim.
Even offline experiences can become major Internet "moments," as emotions move people to share their feelings with like-minded souls on the web.
Like when favorite characters die suddenly on hugely popular TV shows like The Walking Dead - the collective shock, grief and outrage can reverberate throughout social media for hours or even days. Especially if the network accidentally posts a spoiler about it before the West Coast airing (speaking of, don't click the link unless you're caught up on season 5 of the show!).
There's No Love Like Fan Love
No one knows more about using emotion to maximize social data and understand consumers' wants, needs and desires than the social listening experts at NetBase. What their data shows is that emotion is what provides context to everything brands analyze on social media.
You can't know if someone really loves or hates your brand (or how much) simply by searching on those keywords - because there's no accounting for sarcasm. Brands need to take advantage of technology like natural language processing, and find the context and depth of emotion behind the language to really make use of the data on offer.
Brands that inspire deep consumer emotion on social media need to be able to use it to their advantage. There's plenty to work with if they're paying attention.
For instance, beyond sharing reactions on social, the most-obsessed fans of shows and movies like Game of Thrones, Outlander, and even Harry Potter, act on their emotions by producing memes, tribute videos, and fan fiction - not to mention hosting social events, and creating whole virtual communities around their favorite shows and movies.
This level of devotion is a gift to brands, if they're smart enough to tap these fans as influencers and brand advocates.
Give Them What They Want
It all comes down to knowing your audience. To whom does your brand appeal and why? The emotional content available on social offers invaluable insight that when used correctly enables you to tailor your online messaging directly to your audience and hook them in a way that compels them to share with others.
Consider campaigns mounted by companies such as Victoria's Secret, which glorify a very specific body type and can make plus-sized women feel "less than" and left out. Paying attention to their customers' emotions on social is exactly why Lane Bryant's #ImNoAngel campaign worked. The brand responded by giving their customers - plus-sized women - something that was THEIRS, while being inclusive of all women.
So it's about being a "person" (hey, the government has officially declared that corporations are people too - so they need to act like it!), and coming from that emotional place. Using social media to get to the heart of consumer emotions gives brands the power to make those deeper connections and inspire the deep love they really want.
So how is your brand using social media to make your customers feel the "feelz"?Tweet me!
IMAGE CREDIT: SHUNSUKE KOBAYASHI