Get your head around Psychology in Marketing – Part 3, Understanding Tactics on Social Media


“Act now before it’s gone!”

When you see something is of low availability it can create a sense of urgency, encouraging you to act more decisively and make the purchase. Not only that, but when you do see the message (for example “only 3 left”), this boosts the value of the product due to the low stock availability. This, in turn, makes it appear more popular.

Conformity and Social Influence

Conformity plays a big part in marketing. When companies use a famous, heavily influential person or someone with a significant status to speak about their product or service in a positive way, it will make it seem more appealing and valuable. It is our nature to not want to be left behind, we stay within the pack and with what is safe. So, if everyone else is doing it, I will too! This is a survival instinct that is imbedded into us.

This works the same with reviews. People are more likely to make a decision based on what a friend, family member or even stranger has said rather than the sales person themselves. This is because that individual has no interest if you buy the product or not.

The Decoy Effect

This is used in marketing all the time. You go online with the intention of getting just a necklace but the options below are presented to you:

Option 1: Necklace £120
Option 2: Earrings £150
Option 3: Necklace and earrings £150!!

If option 3 (the decoy) wasn’t there, you most likely would’ve stuck to just buying the necklace as that’s what you originally went online for. However, now the 3rd option has been presented, it’s made the 1st option seem less attractive to you. This also has an element of reciprocity to it. You feel you have been given something extra which makes you feel more obliged to go ahead with the purchase and also, kind of like you’ve got yourself a really great bargain too! But it’s all been well thought out. Did you see how they got you to spend more than you intended?

Cognitive Dissonance

This occurs when things don’t turn out how we thought it would and this happens all the time in everyday life. You can help prevent Cognitive Dissonance by offering good post-purchase customer service. This can be in the form of email communication, blogging or social media messaging.

The buffer effect of social support plays a major part in your services’ a person who feels supported by others will feel less stressful which makes the situation more tolerable. You can then provide your customer with the support they need which will uphold your business and customer relationship, resulting in more sales for you.


We feel obligated to give back to people who have given to us. This is in our nature and that’s how marketers can play on that trait.

When done right, reciprocity is a powerful tool in marketing and can be used to gain and retain customers. A simple example of reciprocity is when you receive an email for 20% off your favourite online clothing store. This will boost sales as the customer will feel indebted to you and will be more likely to buy from you. All the social media platforms we u­­­­­­se are free and this is why we feel like it’s impossible to give up. People often confuse a social media addiction to the actual content people are viewing. This is not true. We feel, again, obliged to keep these apps on our phones and constantly check them because of reciprocity.

Other examples of this are:

  • Free downloads
  • Discounts
  • Apps
  • Buy 1 get 1 free
  • Offers
  • VIP promotions


By now you should have a good understanding of ethical and unethical marketing and how you should position your brand. You should also have gained some knowledge on how to escape the unethical marketing that is thrown at us daily so you can make choices based on what you really want and need.

Ethical marketing always fulfils the needs of the actual customer. You need to understand your audience and what they want. If your product or service addresses the individual’s needs, you won’t have a problem selling them. Always keep your marketing ethical and honest.


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