Create a winning emotional social media campaign

Connecting your product or service with emotion is one of the best ways to make your digital marketing campaign connect and resonate with the right audience.

Studies have found that consumers make the majority of their decisions based on emotional responses rather than rational – 70/30 per cent to be precise. The world of social media opens up the opportunity for you to target people and their emotions through the sharing of videos, links and images, all of which can help you to build a stronger bond with these consumers online.

What emotions should brands connect with?

It all depends on the brand and how it wants to make its audience feel. While charities benefit more from evoking compassion, a sports brand may see more results from making people feel motivated.

Emotive marketing should target at least one of the four core emotions; happiness, anger, sadness and fear. Amongst these, there are a multitude of levels that can be reached.

Below are campaigns from well-known brands that show how using emotive social media marketing can help to increase brand engagement, build a positive consumer attitude and lead to more sales.

Evoking pride amongst consumers

Standing strong for over a decade and continuing to make an impact on its consumers is Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty. With a global survey reporting that only 4% of women find themselves beautiful, Dove set out to stamp down on idealistic beauty and help women feel proud about their natural beauty.

In 2013, Dove released a video titled Real Beauty Sketches. The video showed an FBI-trained artist use two descriptions of women – one from their own perception and one from another’s – to sketch out two drawings. The drawings from another person’s description tended to show the women as more stereotypically attractive than the drawings from their own perceptions. The video was published on YouTube channels, and within a month had received over 114 million views.

Dove’s video creates a sense of happiness, warmth and pride, targeting the key emotions that make an effective social media campaign. Not only that, but it also makes viewers want to share the content with their friends to spread the happiness even further. As one of the most shared videos of all time, it is a prime example of how emotion can truly benefit a social media campaign.

Personalisation promotes happiness

Although Coca Cola’s Share a Coke campaign used a number of integrated marketing methods including outdoor marketing and retail, social played a major role in the success of the campaign.

The brand used 250 popular US names as well as modern slang such as ‘bestie’ to personalise its products. The names were printed on the packaging, with consumers encouraged to shout out when they found their name on a bottle. #Shareacoke helped people to share this thrill with others.

With spreading happiness being something that most people enjoy doing, social marketing campaigns that make consumers feel joyful tend to be more successful than most. Promoting happiness was an integral part of the Share a Coke campaign, and it worked well. Coca Cola saw a 2.5% increase in sales as a result of the campaign.

Sadness can make people react

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) used popular image and video sharing app, Snapchat, to impact consumers in a saddening yet motivating way.

Their #LastSelfie campaign showed Snapchat users 10 second long images of endangered animals, in which time the viewer could choose to screen shot and share the message, adopt the animal, or donate to the charity. The images were paired with moving messages, such as “In 6 seconds, I’ll be gone forever, but you can still save my kind.”

Giving Snapchat viewers a number of different options helped WWF to extend their message across platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, resulting in the equivalent of a month’s donations being made over three days.

Now it’s your turn to create a campaign

When building an emotive social media campaign, remember the following:

  • The four key emotions that best target consumers are happiness, sadness, fear and anger
  • Consider your audience and how you want your brand to make them feel
  • Create content that will target and engage your market

People are built to better engage with content that tells a tale. By using emotion within your story, and choosing a narrative that you believe in, you are more likely to encourage consumers to act.


By Ben Martin, creative director at Peppermint Soda.

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