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May 2, 2019

As you already know, emotions play a critical role in how we live our lives, they influence us daily, and they affect the decisions we make. When you understand those emotions, you can get more shares for your posts and, as research was done by Jonah A. Berger and Katherine L. Milkman indicates, “emotionally suggestive” content will still outperform “non-suggestive” content if the emotion is aligned with the reader’s perspective.

To get the most from your marketing campaign, it is essential to find out what is going to be the right trigger for your audience. A thirty-year-old person will be looking for something other than a fifty-year-old person.

Invest Time to Understand Your Audience

A strong word of advice, when it comes to using emotions in social media marketing, is to invest time and effort in understanding your target audience and customers before you start anything. To understand what emotions resonate with your audience, you need to understand what their joys and fears are. Do your best to gather as much information as you can about the people for whom you’re making the marketing campaign. Only this way will you know what kinds of emotions they react to best.

So, don’t hesitate to use surveys and interviews to find out their preferences. Spend time on the forums they like to visit frequently and take a look at their conversations and covered topics. Do the same with their favorite blogs and online magazines. Doing this will give you a better understanding of the emotions that trigger the most significant reactions in their case.

When starting to create a post that has marketing purposes, even if you will use emotions, you should focus on the people who will read the post and not on the product or services you are promoting. You should try to establish a connection with them starting with the title and first paragraph of the post. Concerning the language and words to use, take a closer look at how they communicate with their peers and use the same style when writing the post.

This will offer the post a sense of familiarity, instead of being just another regular post released by a business. Practically, you have to “sell a problem” not a product. You need to show your audience that you know what their problem is and talk about it like you’re in their shoes and you know how it feels. Toward the end, you should make them feel hopeful, letting them know that there is a solution to their problem. This solution will come in the form of your product or service.

Why Are Emotions Important in Social Media Marketing?

Why are emotions so crucial for a social media marketing campaign? You should already know the answer if you read all three other articles. If you don’t, the answer lies in the fact that people prefer those companies or brands with which they feel a connection. As it is easy to tell, this connection is an emotional one, so if you manage to create this emotional connection between your brand and your audience, the chance of turning them into clients is much higher. So, don’t just use emotions for your marketing campaigns. Use them in the long term, in the creation of various types of content you post.

As long as you keep in mind that people are governed by emotions and that they will make their choices based on the emotions they experience, your marketing campaigns in social media environments will always be successful. Also, once a person finds himself or herself emotionally attached to your brand, he or she will continue to be your client. Of course, you will need to work on maintaining an emotional connection with all of your customers in a continuous manner.

How come emotions are so powerful in the social media environment? Let us not forget that people use social media to connect, improving connectivity among people being the first reason behind the creation of social media networks. Thus, right from the start, social media was filled with a wide range of emotions. Even in present times, people use social media to experience emotions, which is a significant advantage for the companies that know how to leverage this in their favor.

By now, you probably know that marketing campaigns should be personal and target the needs and preferences of your audience. Well, there’s no better way to do this than by tapping into the power of emotions when it comes to marketing campaigns on social media.

Many studies that were done during recent years showed us how emotions could be contagious in real life, and research (Detecting Emotional Contagion in Massive Social Networks) has shown us how emotions shared online are contagious, and they can spread in the same way online.

Researchers used software to examine the emotional content of one billion Facebook posts over two years. And with data from millions of Facebook users, they show that rainfall directly influences the emotional content of their status messages, and it also affects the status messages of friends in other cities who are not experiencing rain. For every person affected directly, rainfall alters the emotional expression of about one to two different people, suggesting that online social networks may magnify the intensity of global emotional synchrony. (Source: Detecting Emotional Contagion in Massive Social Networks) We all are connected through the Internet and what people feel in one place may spread to other parts of the world in a matter of hours.

The same results were published in a controversial Facebook study (Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks). Facebook removed positive posts from the news feeds of more than 680,000 users. Those users made fewer positive posts and more negative ones. Similarly, when negative posts were removed, the opposite occurred.

These results indicate that emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions,” according to a study published June 17 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Keep in mind that your post is not only about one emotion and you can combine more emotions to make your post more attractive for your audience.

Combinations of Two Emotions

A study (Deep Feelings: A Massive Cross-Lingual Study on the Relation between Emotions and Virality) done by Jacopo Staiano of Sorbonne University and Marco Guerini of Trento Rise shared their findings of the role that arousal, dominance and valence play in content that goes viral.

The findings indicate that particular emotions may not determine virality—what matters may be where the emotions fall within the Valence-Arousal-Dominance (VAD) model. This scale is frequently used in psychology to categorize emotions. Each emotion is a combination of three characteristics:

  • Valence is the positivity or negativity of an emotion. Happiness has a positive valence; fear has a negative valence.
  • Arousal ranges from excitement to relaxation. Anger is a high-arousal emotion; sadness is low-arousal.
  • Dominance ranges from submission to feeling in control. Fear is low-dominance; an emotion a person has more choice over, such as admiration, is high-dominance.

Both researchers analyzed 65,000 articles on two news sites where readers had assigned emotional scores to the articles. And they looked for patterns and measured virality by the number of comments and social shares each article received. One of the key findings from the study is about the different role that arousal and dominance each play in commenting behavior compared to social sharing behavior. (Source: The Emotional Combinations That Make Stories Go Viral)

Keep in mind that you should not play on only one emotion; by combining more emotions for your content, you can create more significant engagement and a stronger association with your brand.


The best part about using emotions is that this method can be easily entwined with storytelling; another great strategy that triggers great responses in social media environments. Storytelling is, by nature, an emotional process. Not to mention that everybody enjoys a good story. And through narration connected with the right emotion, your company brand becomes a friend rather than just another corporation.

So, if you can put together a great story and season it with the right kinds of emotions, you will manage to obtain a solid marketing strategy with incredible potential. Thus, if you are currently working on a marketing strategy for your company, now you have more than sufficient details that will help you come up with one that will bring in precisely the kinds of results you plan on obtaining.

Just pay enough attention to details and make sure you know your audience so you can maximize the potential of your marketing campaign. Evoking the right emotions can give you the power to create the result you want and turn your post into viral posts.

Keep in mind that creating just some funny story is not going to turn it into a viral post. There are more things you should consider like how the different format is influencing people or how the reality and format matter too.

And as you learned from those articles I shared with you, things you posted online can influence the emotions of others. And if you use the right emotions and emotional triggers, your content will resonate with your audience, and this will create a connection with you or your brand.

As Antonio Damasio mentioned in his book Descartes’ Error, “Emotion is a necessary ingredient to almost all decisions. When we are confronted with a decision, emotions from previous, related experiences affix values to the options we are considering. These emotions create preferences, which lead to our decision.”

That’s why understanding how to influence people through emotions can help you win the “War for Attention”; you’ll create a better product, attract more candidates, make your posts viral, etc. It always depends on what you are trying to achieve, but if you understand how those emotions can be used, you can gently change your audience’s perspective through emotional marketing.

Every decision is emotional, and we’re emotional beings, that’s why emotions connect us to other people. 

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