Raise your hand if you’re emotional. 🙋
If you’re not metaphorically raising your hand right now or shrugging your shoulders while nodding your head, you’re wrong. Of course, you’re emotional. If you’re a human being, you’ve got all the feels. Albeit, we all harness our emotions at varying intensity levels, but they’re all there.
Now that we’re in agreement, let’s talk about why this fact is important to remember when it comes to your social media strategy.
Using social media to extend emotion to your audience is a public relations trend that’s getting traction. What does it really mean to “extend emotion to your audience” through social media and how can brands achieve it?
Well, this trend speaks to human nature in today’s digital age. Let me ask you this: How often is your decision to share something on social media a logical, well-thought-out decision? Be real. More often than not, your decision to like, share or comment on that Area 51 meme, cute cat video or listicle about staying safe in extreme heat is more of an impulsive decision driven by an emotional trigger.
That, my friends, is why it makes sense that leveraging social media to connect emotionally with the public can mean better reach and engagement for your brand. There are a few different ways you can go about it.
How’s that for a PR buzz phrase? We might hear it often, but don’t let the concept lose its usefulness. Despite how the public relations field is changing and integrating with similar domains, the core of PR, storytelling, remains strong.
Simply put by James Cummings of Agility PR Solutions, “No matter the platform being used, a story with a soul is important.” Sharing relatable stories with a strong emotional tie can help you establish a deeper connection with your audience. A compelling story is one that captivates your audience and makes them want to ensure others to hear it, too.
Behind every brand is a human being. Back away from the ominous brand voice for a second and think like your audience. What a better way to connect with your stakeholders than to show you understand a real problem, fear or interest? Think about how you can relate to your audience on a more personal level and be empathetic.
If you can, use a real human being who’s connected to your brand to help evoke real emotion. Facial expressions and body language are powerful tools in social communication that go beyond written words. Depending on the platform, posts that include images with faces tend to perform better than those without.
Embrace All the Feels
You don’t always need a tear-jerker to keep your audience engaged. There is a whole spectrum of emotions you can express, from amusement to endearment to surprise or even FOMO (the fear of missing out).
Happiness, as obvious as it may seem, is a great way to go. It has the bonus of actually impacting the wellbeing of your audience. A 2014 study confirmed emotional contagion – the phenomenon of having one person’s emotions and related behaviors directly trigger similar emotions and behaviors in other people – on social media is legit. There’s a good chance that the more positive vibes you put out into the world through social media, the more others will spread positivity, too.
Emotions are powerful. As social media managers, we ought to use them for good, whenever possible. When you tap into them appropriately, you can better connect with your audience and elicit more likes, comments and shares of your posts.