Brand’s often wonder why their engagement is so low. It even happens that fans and followers are growing, yet engagement doesn’t grow at all. This is often blamed by a lack of creating engaging content, but there is more going. Something that is very much under exposed in social media marketing: the psychology of being first.
Psychology of being first
Everybody has been in the situation that you are with a group of strangers in for example a course, meeting or class. You don’t know anybody there, neither do the other people. Such a situations often start with an awkward introduction round: the instructor asks everybody to tell something about themselves to break the ice. Most people hate it to be the first, and most of the time nobody will volunteer, so the instructor points out who should start.
A similar situation is when your are in a class, the teacher just explained something, and asks his students to ask questions. Somehow it are always the same people asking questions.
In other words, there’s a big difference between people who willingly stick their neck out, and people that need some form of encouragement to participate in the group discussion. There are introvert and extrovert people. People who observe and people who participate.
Brands don’t take this psychology into account while using social media. They think they need to listen better and create more engaging content and content strategy. Of course this is needed as well, but most brands don’t do those things that bad at all. Brands just need to fix the psychology of being first to increase and boost engagement:
1. Spark discussions
Social media needs people that spark discussions. If there’s no discussion, there’s no engagement. Once a couple of people comment on a discussion, that will work like a magnet for people who are scared to be first. Brands should therefor always reply to the first people who comment on content they post.
A good example are LinkedIn groups. There’s an immense amount of great content being posted, but there’s hardly any engagement, because most people are scared to be the first. Discussions that already have 1–3 comments draw much more people. Those discussions look more interesting and start the function as a magnet.
Most brands only post content to social media. But that’s a one-way conversation which doesn’t trigger engagement. You can’t expect people to take the content bait and be actively engaged.
So in order to spark discussions brands should actively engage with their audience. Always reply to the first 1–3 people commenting on something.
3. Keep discussions alive for as long as possible
Once a successfully sparked discussion starts to draw a lot more people, brands should keep it alive as long as possible. You can do that by commenting once in a while to people that add new insights to the discussion. Your replies will trigger new people to reply as well, possibly resulting in a massive discussion.
Brands can increase social media engagement massively by fixing the psychology of being first. Start conversations, spark discussions, keep them alive and massively increase your engagement.