Leveraging emotions by making people laugh, cry or feel inspired has long been a tactic of advertisers. But brands now have a whole new platform on which to promote their products on – social media.
Whereas TV advertising can cover a large demographic to promote their product (think Tetley Tea adverts during Coronation Street or Just Eat every hour of the day!), social media advertising can focus on niche markets and provides a more direct way of communicating with the consumer. Social media is also the best way to attract Millennials, the prize demographic!
‘Because social advertising exists within a social community, social media marketing campaigns yield higher levels of engagement.’
Using emotion is a perfect way to drive a social media campaign, as people are much more likely to share content with friends and family if it has triggered some form of emotional response. Certain kinds of posts get shared more frequently than others, with a select few going ‘viral’.
‘The underlying reason is because they instigate the reader to feel a particular emotion strongly. Maybe it’s making your target audience jubilant. Maybe it makes them sad or even angry. Whatever it is, it’s what you want for your media marketing.’
So which emotions do you want to harness? Happy and humorous, feel-good content gets shared faster and wider than sad content or content that instils feelings of anger. Sad content can work but should be used with caution. Here are some of the best examples of social media content that triggers emotions.
Dove – Courage and Inspiration
Dove has always taken pride in its products’ natural and pure essence, so it was an obvious progression to use the theme of natural beauty in all its guises as the basis for several successful social media campaigns.
#showusyourbeauty is one such campaign that incorporates photos of 179 women from 39 different countries, which include plus-size, trans, disabled and women with skin conditions.
Paddy Power – Humour
If there is one company that knows how to use humour as part of its social media marketing strategy, it is Paddy Power. Humorous tweets about current sporting events, and taking digs at public figures are their stock in trade. They are hugely popular with followers, resulting in them having the largest number of Twitter followers of any UK betting site (575k).
Nike – Inspirational
Nike are masters of advertising, whether on TV or, more recently, social media. Their use of social media is second to none, and their success is borne out by their vast number of followers across various platforms. With 93.3 million followers on Instagram, 7.95 million on Twitter and 33.3 million on Facebook, they are way ahead of the pack. Choosing to focus on inspiring sporting moments and athletes, along with clever hashtags, has proved to be a highly successful strategy.
Pop-Tarts – Humour
Although a seemingly unlikely candidate for having a successful social media presence, Pop Tarts nevertheless have become one of the most followed brands out there. Their witty and fun tweets are relatable to a younger audience.
After former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced on Twitter his intention to run in the 2020 Presidential Election, Pop Tarts decided that this was a prime opportunity for a fun tweet. Pop Tarts got considerably more re-tweets than Schultz!
WWF – Fear and Poignancy
The World Wildlife Fund do not shy away from producing clever social media content that makes people think (and possibly instil a little bit of fear about the state of our planet at the same time). Their #lastselfie campaign on Snapchat included striking images of endangered animals that vanished after 10 seconds. Reinforcing the message that these animals are disappearing too.
Go-Pro – Inspiring
When it comes to awe-inspiring content that takes your breath away Go-Pro are the masters. They adapt their social media content for each different platform, rarely posting the same content on each. They also promote engagement by encouraging followers to post their own inspiring photos or videos. With 10.7 million Facebook followers and 16.2 million Instagram followers they have a leading presence on social media.
MacDonald’s – Informative
A Big Mac may not have changed that much over the years but MacDonald’s advertising sure has, and they have harnessed social media to their advantage. Their 2015 campaign #goodtoknow harnessed the power of social media influencers by using them to de-bunk myths surrounding how their food was made, specifically Chicken McNuggets. YouTube star Raphael Gomes appeared in their sponsored, informative video which gained nearly 180,000 likes.
National Geographic – Inspiring and Informative
National Geographic are kings of inspiring and informative content on social media. The combination of beautiful photos and thought-provoking messaging has made them one of the big hitters with regards to social media campaigns, particularly on Instagram where they have 122 million subscribers.
Starbucks – Joy
Harnessing feelings of joy while interacting with followers is what Starbucks does best. Whether they’re making you feel all warm and fuzzy about Christmas or bringing a lump to your throat with their trans awareness mermaid campaign complete with its own cookie, there is no doubt they know how to give you the feels.
Wayfair – Inspiring/Contentment
Home décor lends itself well to social media, with lush photos of interiors appealing to followers and enabling companies to showcase their products in an effective way. Wayfair have harnessed social media to fabulous effect producing inspiring content on topics such as how to update your kitchen, redecorate a room and of course promoting their own products. They are particularly popular on Instagram and are regularly touted as an example of how retailers can use social media to their advantage.