Most businesses will be sold on social media marketing, but finding success in this field requires a keen understanding of what makes people share and engage with content on social media. Here are five science-backed psychological elements of social media that increase the amount of engagement on social media.

1. It Pays to Know Your Audience

We’ve all had that feeling before we publish something. You know, that feeling where you wonder if what you’re about to release into the world is good enough. That uneasiness is born from a lack of understanding.
If we knew our audiences better, not only would we resonate with them, but we would also have more confidence in what we publish. The same is true of the comments from the audience themselves.
Self-censorship is the word of the day here. We want to limit this, so we can confidently publish content on our social media and blogging platforms. A great way to start is by creating audience personas: specific profiles that outline the traits of your typical user.

2. Emotions Matter (Especially Positive Ones)

Happiness, sadness, and emotions in general are contagious, but it wasn’t until recently that we knew if these things applied to an online setting. As it turns out, they most certainly do. A study done by researchers at the University of California found that posts which conveyed positive emotions were far more successful.
Stay positive on social media, and you’ll notice that people are far more likely to engage with your content.
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3. Your Profile Photo Is Extremely Important

Whether you’re a solopreneur or you’re posting a photo of your team, you should always keep in mind that people draw conclusions from a photo in less than a second! For online marketers, it may be worth your time to A/B test your photos on social media for this very reason. Furthermore, you should take into consideration the lighting, facial expressions, color, and appearance of everyone or everything in the photo.

4. Social Media Creates a Sense of Belonging

A fascinating study done by Dr. Stephanie Tobin from the University of Queensland’s School of Psychology discovered that active participation on social media gave users a greater feeling of connectedness. This was due in part to the feeling that people can jump onto social media and have conversations whenever they want. It makes them feel connected to others in a profound way. For marketers, it’s important to understand how this can translate to the conversations and feedback you give and get on social media.

5. We’re Wired to Share

As human beings, we love to talk about our thoughts. In fact, Harvard neuroscientists have discovered that being able to share our thoughts triggers the same pleasure sectors of our brain that food and money trigger. (highlight to tweet)
This research also showed that 80 percent of social media posts are announcements about a person’s experiences. We can take this and connect it to marketing by focusing our efforts on listening to our users as much as possible.
It’s important to make announcements and keep the information flowing, but when it comes down to customer service or engagement, remember that we should let our users talk more about themselves and less about us.
Social media’s explosive success makes complete sense when you boil everything down. These platforms were made to appeal to not only a wide range of people, but to us as a species. We were hardwired to engage with platforms like these.