Psychology of Social Media Mindset: Content Marketing in 2024


Published: | By Brooke Webber

With the authority vested in me by POWR, I challenge you to read this content marketing guide for social media till the end.

(Here, I’m using one of the psychological drivers that work on social media, too; you’ll find it explained in the article.)

What do you get from it?

You will learn the best psychological tactics for content marketing to achieve better results on social media through 2024 and beyond.


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Embark on this 5-minute training to leverage the psychology of social media and benefit from it.

Understanding Social Media Psychology for Content Marketing

Before optimizing your content strategy for social media, you must understand the average social media user.

This user has a specific characteristic feature – a social media mindset.

Sounds vague, right?

Let’s make it clearer.

Social media mindsets are pathways from opinions to psychological processes to behaviors in social networks. Here’s a scheme:

Belief → psychological process (cognition + emotion) → behavior

Our interest lies particularly in the psychological drivers (triggers) that rule people’s cognitive and emotional processes.

They are as follows:

  • Energy
  • Motivation
  • Joy of participation
  • Social influence
  • Impatience
  • Fear of missing out (FOMO), urgency, and scarcity
  • Pre-holiday excitement

In plain language, it goes like this. A person comes to a social platform with a certain feeling, conviction, or opinion (belief). Then, one notices a piece of content that ignites an emotional response (psychological process). It predetermines further actions (behavior).

Let’s take an example.

Several users open Twitter with a particular state of mind. They see this tweet by Warehouse Anywhere aimed at B2B lead generation.

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Warehouse Anywhere reminds them to celebrate Small Business Saturday and asks them to tag a favorite SMB company.

The result?

Three users like the post, two retweet, but nobody tags businesses (inaction is also a type of behavior).

The holiday-driven excitement is not that powerful to convert because Small Business Saturday isn’t a major hit among holidays (we’ll discuss them later; wait for it).

Anyway, the post drove at least some engagement.

So, it’s about shaping the user’s mindset and navigating the customer psychology to improve your social media content marketing efforts and drive action (ideally, buy from you, of course).

And that’s what we’re about to do now by applying different psychological triggers.

7 Types of Psychology-Driven Content on Social Media (And How to Use It)

From color choice to holiday campaigns – discover the top seven secrets of content marketing psychology for social media and how to apply this science to captivate your audience and drive sales.

1. Bright and contrasting colors (driver: energy)

One, two…

And you’ve missed your potential customers. (The attention span on social media is merely 1.7 seconds for mobile and 2.5 seconds for desktop users!)

Why did it happen?

Most likely, you didn’t use anything bright to grab their attention. Your social media post is gloomier than the shadow. Just look at it. The color is dull, and worse – the text is lost in the vast field of boredom surrounding it.

At this point, you’d want to leverage color psychology for social media marketing. 

Vibrant color is a superb energizer for the brain. It has enough power to pin people’s eyes to the illustrated content and improve visual memorization. Researchers also prove image brightness gathers considerably more likes.

You can merge two clashing colors (contrasting colors and their shades from the color wheel segments), such as:

  • Blue + orange
  • Yellow + purple
  • Red + green
  • Blue-violet + orange-yellow
  • Blue-green + red-orange
  • Violet-red + violet-green

Now, let’s look at those in action.

The below Instagram post, for instance, contains green and red, two complementary colors. They instill energy in users to think about a savings plan and try a retirement calculator to get on the right track.

tandiafinancialcreditunion-instagram-post

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If the brain could talk, it would say, “Well, why not? I’ll give it a try right now. I feel energized enough.” It means that the colors did their job well.

2. CTAs in social media captions (driver: motivation)

A caption is a short piece of text accompanying your post and providing context to what it is about. Since only its first lines are typically visible to the audience, you’d better use those wisely.

How exactly?

Add a call-to-action (CTA) to the very start of your social media caption. CTAs are “evergreen” content marketing hacks that have no expiration date. You can use them successfully this year and later as a part of psychology in social media marketing.

A CTA encourages the user to take action immediately. It’s like a slight nudge often necessary to persuade the audience. And, of course, it drives conversions.

According to Twitter’s study, CTAs that explicitly ask users to download increase link clicks by 13%, on average, while CTAs asking to retweet the post boost retweets by 311%.

Consider using these CTAs for higher conversions:

  • Drop [emoji] if you can relate!
  • Tag a friend if ____
  • Share your ____
  • Find the link in our bio
  • Don’t wait!
  • Grab the offer right away!
  • Sign up now!
  • Browse our website for more ____

For example,

Here’s how The Butler restaurant incorporates a CTA into the first line of the social media caption to motivate users to celebrate their birthdays at their facility.

thebutletsydney-instagram-post

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Pro tip: Use a social media caption generator to create stunning captions with clear and motivational CTAs.

3. Engaging content (driver: joy through interactivity)

Another gimmick in social media psychology is immersing users into interactions with content.

Engaging content is a customer engagement strategy that creates a sense of community and a stronger bond.

Via a dynamic user experience (tapping, swiping, commenting, etc.), customers feel the joy of acting and interacting with brands.

Remember: Engagement is one of the fundamental social media metrics to track and measure.

And once you calculate it, you’ll definitely want to improve it, trust me. So, let’s get to business and increase your engagement rates with polls, challenges, puzzles, and contests.

  • Poll

Suppose you’ve run out of ideas on how to engage your audience on LinkedIn.

Polls are a foolproof way to do that.

Check out the LinkedIn poll by Myntra that gathered nearly 4,000 votes.

myntra-linkedin-post

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It’s also an excellent engagement technique for other social platforms. Let’s take Threads, a “newly-born” social app, and this poll by Nissan as an example.

nissan-threads-poll

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  • Challenge

People have a natural attraction to new experiences and extraordinary tasks. It is closely related to the psychological concept of neophilia, aka novelty-seeking.

(Now you know why you’re reading this article till the end.)

Thanks to social media challenges, users also experience the joy of participation and involvement in something interesting and exciting.

For example:

Here’s a challenge from Honeygain on Twitter, with over 10K views and hundreds of likes and comments.

honeygrain-tweet

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  • Puzzle

Actually, puzzles are another type of challenge. And they drive social media engagement not less effectively.

Look at this “burgers” puzzle by The Burger Company on Facebook.

the-burger-company-facebook-post

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  • Contest

An Instagram contest can harvest 3.5x more likes and 64x more comments than regular content. Moreover, accounts that host contests grow followers 70% faster.

Why not generate social media contest ideas for holidays specifically?

See how Sigma Beauty did it for Halloween.

sigmabeauty-instagram-post

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4. Reviews and testimonials (driver: social influence)

Social influence, aka social proof, is a mental model of behavior when people tend to rely on the opinions of others and mimic their choices and actions.

It’s also worth mentioning that 46% of consumers regard online reviews as trustworthy as personal recommendations from family or friends.

That is when sharing customer reviews and testimonials can be your go-to tactic for social media content marketing powered by psychology.

LeyaAI, for instance, turned to this psychological trick and placed reviews in ads for Facebook retargeting.

leya-ai-facebook-post

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How about combining review marketing with influencer marketing?

You can ask influencers to share their unboxing experiences and provide in-depth reviews. For example, Firmoo collaborated with micro-influencer @thefemaleboss0, who has 14.5K followers on TikTok.

Before jumping into a paid partnership with an influencer, explore the capacities of different types of influencers. 82% of customers are highly likely to buy a product recommended by a micro-influencer (10K-100K followers).

Also, consider this. Mano-influencers (1K-10K followers) have twice as high engagement rates as macro-influencers (1M+ followers).

5. Short-form content (driver - impatience)

Yep, we live in a society of immediacy.

And these are technologies that make us more impulsive and impatient.

It’s like a vicious circle: we come to tech tools to get information quickly, but they make us even more impatient. It makes us check our smartphones roughly every ten minutes if we’re 12–24 and 20–30 minutes if we’re in the age group of 35–44 or older.

On social media, users’ patience runs out in seconds. That is probably why people enjoy hanging out on TikTok with its short videos. However, short-form content is a major trick in social media psychology for any platform.

You can use one of these:

  • Short video
  • GIF or animation
  • Short caption
  • Infographic
  • List, etc.

In fact, the engagement rate is 2.5 times higher in short videos than in longer ones.

Concerning lists, remember that people can keep only three to five items in mind due to their short-term memory span. So, create a neat list with a manageable amount of items.

For example, the Simplish app team shares three productivity tips, making it easy to read them with ticks in the caption.

simplish.life-instagram-post

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Or here’s another post by Simplish with five helpful self-care reminders.

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6. Limited-time offers (drivers: FOMO + urgency + scarcity)

On the psychological level, a time-bound offer evokes the FOMO, the sense of urgency, and the feeling of scarcity.

In turn, they push social media users to make purchases instantly without too much thinking to prevent the risk of losing.

Your potential customers translate the limited-time offer as “Buy it now because you may never get such an opportunity in the future.

Leverage limited-time offers and the following CTAs for them:

  • Hurry! X off ends soon!
  • Tick Tock! Don’t miss out on this one!
  • Get access before it’s gone
  • Grab X off now!
  • Look up: the sale ends tonight!
  • Flash sale alert! Don’t miss it.

Take a glimpse of Hulu’s promo on Facebook as an example.

hulu-facebook-post

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Pro tip: You can enhance the psychology of social media content marketing with countdown timers for Facebook posts or countdown stickers for Instagram stories. They intensify the psychological triggers of scarcity and urgency.

If you place a countdown timer strategically, it can skyrocket your conversions to 400% up.

7. Holiday-bound campaigns (driver: pre-holiday excitement)

What do most people feel when there are “parties for hosting, marshmallows for roasting and caroling out in the snow”?

When the most wonderful time of the year comes, they are surrounded by glee and are ready to spend more, anticipating the holiday season.

In 2023, 80% of consumers expected to spend the same amount ($875 on average) or more than before on holiday food, decorations, gifts, etc.

But it’s not just about Christmas or other winter holidays.

The psychological factors, such as anticipation, anxiety, and excitement of gift-giving, impact consumers during all holidays.

That’s why marketers usually tap into the psychology of holiday shopping and use social media to drive holiday sales on these days:

There are many templates ready to use for social media, or you can use Canva templates if you prefer to create the design from scratch. Learn from Starbucks's example. 

The company congratulated social media users on Valentine’s Day with a rhyme and a thematic drink featuring strawberries and chocolate.

starbucks-valentines-day-post

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Once the holiday season comes, you can also boost your holiday marketing efforts on social media with ads.

Here goes a New Year’s social media campaign WSJ launched via Facebook ads.

wsj-facebook-post

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Final Take on Social Media Psychology in Content Marketing

By understanding social media mindsets and, particularly, psychological drivers behind users’ behavior in social networks, you can create content that resonates deeply and fosters genuine connections.

Now, it’s time to follow this content marketing guide as a social media blueprint for business success with psychology in mind.

Finally, you’ve read this article till the end.

Congratulations on completing this challenge!

For that, you get a bonus tip: use a secret driver of consumer psychology – an attractive social feed with social sharing buttons on your website to boost views by 200% and conversions by 40%!

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