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PubCon 2014: Part I: The Psychology of Influence

Know Your TargetManaging Partners Carol Morgan and Mitch Levinson attended PubCon this year for the third time. And, as always, they had a lot of takeaways from the sessions. As a recap of the Social Media sessions, Carol brings us this seven part series. Featured speakers that are highlighted include: Lisa Buyer, Jabez Lebret, Krista Neher and Dennis Yu.

In this seven part series, we will cover the following topics:

1. The Psychology of Influence
2. Maximizing the Power of the Visual: Improving Your Use of Colors and Images in Social Media
3. Developments in Content and Optimization to Increase Your Impact
4. Handling Tragic News in Social Media: A Must-Have Plan
5. Metrics: How to Determine If You’re Getting What You Want Out of Social Media
6. Quick Tips and Tricks for Social Media and Its Most Popular Platforms
7. Takeaways to Remember

First and foremost in marketing through social media is an understanding of the psychology of influence. If you know and understand the consumers or clients you’re targeting, you can tailor your approach to better compel them to take the next step, and do business with you.

There are four neurochemical archetypes, as defined by Nathalie Nahai, to discuss in the psychology of influence: The Explorer, The Builder, The Negotiator and The Director. While everyone is a variable mixture of all four types, most people express a primary and secondary type. This type is typified by the prevalence of a particular neurotransmitter in the brain. So why does this matter to your business? If you can pinpoint the personality you’re targeting, you can then tailor your persona and approach to attract and appeal to the targeted type(s).

The Explorer (high in dopamine) is characterized as independent, unpredictable, creative, hedonistic, easily bored, insatiably curious, sensual and fun. The Explorer seeks risk and novelty. To target Explorers, try making content playful and intriguing, focusing on new and exciting, high-adrenaline experiences, or adopting language and design to excite the senses. Add interactive content like videos, games or moving sliders to increase appeal. Explorers are impatient, so be sure to design with speed and responsiveness in mind, and utilize quick forms of social media like Twitter, Instagram, or foursquare. Enjoying the hunt, the Explorer loves last-minute deals and exciting competitions. Be sure, when appealing to this group, to update content regularly, push the adrenaline button, and keep it high-octane to keep The Explorer engaged.

The Builder (high in serotonin) is concerned with security and structure. He is sociable and loyal, a born networker, friendly, cautious, dependable, methodical, hard-working and traditional. In targeting this type, logic and organization are the name of the game. Have a well-laid out, easily navigable site, invest in developing relationships with them through social media, especially Facebook and LinkedIn, their preferred platforms. Social proof is particularly impactful with this group. Concrete and traditional, when appealing to The Builder, use tangible metaphors or examples, respect their personal boundaries and beliefs, and be friendly and clear in communicating with them. Avoid becoming invasive and stay away from the risqué or risk offending them. In designing for The Builder, remember most of all be clear, be structured, and be organized. Reduce uncertainty and focus on building trust and relationships and you’ll have won The Builder.

The Negotiator (high in estrogen) is good with people and with languages, a natural “people handler.” Man or woman, this type is characterized as patient, compassionate, creative, flexible, diplomatic, astute and introspective and OK with ambiguity. Online, they gravitate toward creative outlets like Pinterest or StumbleUpon, and any social platform, Facebook mainly, allowing them deeper insight into friends and family. The Negotiator likes to think through decisions, laying out all the possible outcomes and factors affecting whatever decision faces him. To appeal to The Negotiator, always present a united front. Paint a cohesive picture for them through user reviews, photos, and product information to seal the deal and turn them into customers. Abhorring confrontation, The Negotiator wants an easy, pleasant customer service experience and if they don’t find one, they’re quick to use social media to complain, damaging your reputation, especially among other Negotiator types. Negotiator-appealing websites should employ creative design, intuitive handling, and search features. As naturally gifted people readers, videos can be a powerful tool to appeal on an emotional or gut level to The Negotiator, so long as your videos’ subjects can appear natural, comfortable, and warm on camera.

The Director (high in testosterone) is driven, uncompromising, goal-oriented, tough-minded, competitive, bold and blunt. Liking reason and logic, The Director is a problem-solver, decisive in difficult times, and focused solely on success. Male or female, this type is bold and plain-spoken, less social than the three previously mentioned types, and prefers reason and logic over emotion. The Director does not necessarily go with the flow, and can come off rude and uncompromising in pursuit of truth. Targeting this type can be difficult, as they’re more likely to avoid social media. Connect with them directly through email or LinkedIn, as they’re more likely to use Twitter or Facebook as merely a means to get information and news. The Director’s decisive nature means you have a very limited amount of time to win them over, so make it count. Focus on success in your approach to The Director and be sure to back it up with evidence. Utilize authority figures, experts, reviews from prestigious sources and evidence to legitimize your brand as a serious, successful, proven entity to win with The Director.

Regardless of what type(s) you’re targeting, the old adage of treat others the way you want to be treated is absolutely WRONG in regards to social media. To be successful, you need to treat others the way THEY want to be treated. One of the easiest ways to do that is by employing, in every single one of your campaigns, the six principles of influence:

o Reciprocity – Give your target audience something for nothing. Everyone likes getting things for free.
o Consistency – Develop a consistent brand and maintain it in every post, tweet, or status update you put out, across all your social media platforms.
o Social Proof – No one wants to be the first one ‘in the pool,’ so show your target that others have gone before them and were happy with their choice. Positive reviews and recommendations from regular people, the media, bloggers, experts and public figures are invaluable.
o Liking – Reviews matter, ‘likes’ matter, genuine user-generated positive feedback matters. Generate organic positive feedback. Be responsive, give great customer service and cultivate loyalty to your brand.
o Authority – Remember, this can’t be bought, it has to be earned. Be verified, be a presence talked about by others in a positive way.
o Scarcity – People love exclusivity, so long as they are on the inside. Create the idea of scarcity, of high demand for your product.

With a better understanding of how to identify, reach, and appeal to your target audience on a psychological level, and of the elements influencing a successful social media campaign, you’ve added a powerful tool to your company’s marketing tool belt. In our next post, we will discuss maximizing the power of the visual.