6 Cognitive Biases You Can Use to Boost Social Media Marketing

There are 500 million tweets tweeted, 55 million facebook status updates, and more than 40 million post uploads on Instagram every day. How would you differentiate your company from the crowd and leverage psychology to get overwhelmed readers to focus on you?

Cognitive biases  are simply the irrational behaviors we exhibit even when we believe our decisions are logical.

You know how you get overly concerned about your bad hair cut? That’s you having an egocentric bias. Most people think they’re not biased, which is a bias in itself called the bias blind spot.

Understanding and using  these  6 biases can help you boost engagement, increase customer loyalty and improve conversions through your social feeds.

1. Post-purchase Rationalization

Someone who has purchased an expensive product or service overlooks any faults or defects in order to justify their purchase [source: wikipedia]

How you can use it for social media marketing:

  • Target users who purchase your product or service with logical stats about your product via social media to further boost post-purchase rationalization
  • Host a twitter chat with your customers that have already purchased your product to  highlight your features and benefits. Make it clear that they’ve made the right decision choosing your brand. This is a great onboarding technique to boost retention and increase word of mouth referrals. Too many marketers focus on getting a sale and lose track of what to do after the sale has occurred.  

2. Availability Cascade

A self-reinforcing process in which a collective belief gains more and more plausibility through its increasing repetition in public discourse (or “repeat something long enough and it will become true”). [source: wikipedia]

How you can use it for social media marketing:

  • Be consistent on your Social Media content – post daily to remain up-to-date and relevant.  
  • Leverage influencer marketing to reach out on social media. Let people your customers trust talk about your brand in a positive way. Even if it doesn’t lead to direct sales, the impact of iWOM is tremendous.
protypical influncers - influencer marketing
Image Source

READ: How to Find Influencers Using Hashtags on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook

3. Bandwagon Effect

The tendency to do (or believe) things because many other people do (or believe) the same. Related to groupthink and herd behavior. [source: wikipedia]

How you can use it for social media marketing:

  • Encourage and incentivize customers to leave more social media reviews. Every time a potential customer reads a tweet or update that reads “I love [ brand],” the more trust they build for your tool.
  • Use social proof by clustering all your social mention testimonials. We did like this. You can see the whole stream here:Keyhole - Twitter - Customer Testimonials, Positive Reviews
  • Tap into the  reach of people who posses a large following of your target audience. Give the influencer access to your service or tool to get a review.
  • Instead of sharing your own posts, share social media content from your audience that mentions you via UGC. Fashion companies do a great job doing this when they share photos of their customers using their products with positive comments
  • Leverage this bias  when you run social media campaigns where people have to tweet or post to gain access to an item of value. Craft your automatic tweets to to highlight the benefits of the tool and not only features.
    • Ok Auto Tweet: I use Keyhole for social media tracking
    • Better Auto Tweet: Keyhole saves time – avoid counting individual tweets with Spreadsheets
Image source: http://buff.ly/1Mn1lvJ

4. Framing Effect

Drawing different conclusions from the same information, depending on how that information is presented. [source: wikipedia ]

Image source: http://buff.ly/1LSs7q9

How you can use it for social media marketing:

  • Even if you’re presenting a same service, highlighting what they’ll be losing out will have a higher impact than highlighting the gains.
    • Tweet A: Increase social media reach two folds with these Twitter Tips
    • Tweet B: Avoid these Twitter mistakes that is costing your business

READ: 8 Biggest Twitter Marketing Mistakes You are Making from 8 Social Media Experts

5.Context Effect

That cognition and memory are dependent on context, such that out-of-context memories are more difficult to retrieve than in-context memories (e.g., accuracy for a work-related memory will be lower at home, and vice versa). [source: wikipedia

A sketch of Bob thinking about ice cream while stranded in a desert
Image source: http://buff.ly/1LSs7q9

How you can use it for social media marketing:

  • Schedule social media posts when your Target Audience are in the context where your service is relevant. For instance, if you’re a SaaS company, send the posts out during work hours. Likewise, if you’re selling air conditioners, increasing the frequency of Tweets during particularly hot days would be a good strategy, If you sell an email organization app, targeting to your ads to users in the morning when they are most likely overwhelmed with emails is a good strategy.  
Engagement Rates for B2B and B2C Posts
Image source: http://buff.ly/1k5EUyd

6. Humor Effect

That humorous items are more easily remembered than non-humorous ones, which might be explained by the distinctiveness of humor, the increased cognitive processing time to understand the humor, or the emotional arousal caused by the humor. [source: wikipedia]

Lifebuoy: Dog
Image source: http://buff.ly/1LS7DOv

How you can use it for social media marketing:

READ: 4-step Guide to Run and Optimize Twitter Hashtag Campaigns

Cognitive biases can be used for good or evil. Never take advantage of a cognitive bias to deceive people, your company will lose out in the long run. Don’t get people to exaggerate benefits of your tool just because you want to create a bandwagon effect.

Although these techniques work more often than not, always test with your audience to find the voice that resonates most.


Keyhole is a real-time conversation tracker that provides keyword and hashtag analytics for Twitter and Instagram. Get started for free and search your brand now!

Life is short and the internet is vast.