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Mental Triggers For Social Media Marketing Success

Mental triggers are not new to marketing. Ever since people discovered that they can influence others by appealing to certain needs and desires, savvy influencers have successfully seeded their messages with these trigger words to get people to act in a certain way. Great orators have stirred the emotions of their audiences, calling on them to support causes, go to war and pay additional taxes.

Propagandists have carefully crafted slogans and campaigns to keep the citizenry in line. Dictators use words to instill fear and impose their authority on others. The great coaches use words to spur their teams to transcend challenges and motivate them to succeed. Such is the power of words.

The workings of the human mind are complex and not entirely known, but there are things about our conscious thought processes and subconscious inclinations that we have been able to understand and effectively exploit. We know, for example, that the human mind can be selective about what it consciously responds to, and has the ability to disregard all the other stimuli that simultaneously and constantly bombard it, especially if the mind considers these stimuli not directly relevant.

This is a survival mechanism that keeps us from going insane. The mind needs to be tuned in to a specific stimulus for it to respond. The role of triggers is to switch the mind on to these stimuli. Mental triggers scan incoming stimuli and evaluate if there is anything that is of interest to the mind. If, for example, a person is into dogs, any message that has something to do with dogs alerts the mind so that the person tunes in on the message.

The volume of communication that characterizes social media presents a similar challenge to marketers seeking to engage prospects. Take all the Facebook posts, Twitter feeds, microblogs, newsfeeds and other social media communications that a single person may produce in a single day; now multiply that by the number of friends, followers and contacts you have, and you can imagine how crowded the social media airwaves can get. And the reality is that you probably end up ignoring or discarding most of these messages anyway.

But probably not if the message is all about something that concerns you or your business. Savvy social network marketers offset the tendency of the human mind to tune out by seeding their messages with keywords that act like mental triggers, calling out to the readers and demanding their attention.

Twitter, cognizant of how this mechanism works, helps the process along with its built-in system of hash tags. By prefixing a keyword with a "#" symbol, Twitter lets users flag these tagged keywords to make them easy to find and categorize. Other networks may not have an equivalent feature, but all social networks provide a search function that lets users locate content by specifying the terms to search for. In an ironic example of how social media imitates life, the mental triggers also function as search engine triggers.

Mental triggers can also steer audiences toward a desired action. Strategically placed words can stimulate the users to undertake a specific action -- click on a button, enter the credit card number, etc. -- working like a funnel that guides the end user through a process that ends at the desired outcome.


Edwin Huertas - Isis CMS

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