Social Experiment

The Science of Social Media

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How To Use Emotions To Create Infectious Messaging

Emotions can create a little bit of magic when communicating about a company, product or service–it provides the motivation for customers to share. But surprisingly it’s the type of emotion you generate which really provides the momentum for a message. It’s true–when people care, they share.

You can see this momentum when you look at popular television shows. One that’s a particularly hot topic right now is Game of Thrones. In its seventh season, as soon as a new episode becomes available, social media platforms light up. Fans are emotionally engaged in this show and its propensity to be willing to kill off anyone–fan favorite or not. Unlike shows in the past for whom popular characters had a bit of a free pass, the anxiety of whether a favorite character will make it through the next episode weighs heavy and it’s these emotions that drive viewers to share their thoughts and feelings.

Emotions arouse physiological motivation deepening the social connection between a TV show, a product, or brand and is key to virality. Not only are you looking to stir up emotion though, the type of emotion that you generate is extremely important.

For instance, when you think of Hallmark commercials, you recall many tear-jerkers among their most popular. However, a sad tear-jerker won’t work–it must be something that makes you go, “awwww,” or inspires you in some way. And there are two emotions that don’t motivate people to do anything and you want to stay away from; sadness and contentment.

Whereas tapping into emotions of awe, inspiration, anxiety, anger, and fear, you can motivate viewers to take action. And of all of these, anxiety, is the most powerful. So using these emotions to drive your customers to action or inspire them are key in the virality of your ideas.

Knowing your target demographic; their wants, needs, desires, and fears will help you know how to create messages that will inspire them to be more receptive to your products and services and more willing to share it with others.

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