Emotional content is the zeitgeist of modern marketing from TV and outdoor to, of course, social.  We know it works because the results speak for themselves.

The challenge for most brands though, is getting that emotional bit right. Pups and sappy might work for John Lewis, but it is not a good fit for most other brands. If you don’t connect with your audience, then you are in danger of embarrassing yourself. Quite publically too.

Conjuring the ‘emosh’ for your brand in brainstorms, where you think-up ideas, is a gamble. You’re guessing at what your audience might like. Yes, you might know your demographics, your AB1s from your CD2s, but unless you can tap into the psyche of your customers, it will always be a speculation.

I gave a talk recently at Google Squared looking at the richness of the data on social media. Insights that go beyond demographic and behavioural and delve into the psychographic. Have a peek at the video if you have a moment.

Tap into the mind of your audience, and you gain surety in your emotional content. You can mirror the state of your consumer and trigger action, behaviour change and even purchase intent. So, how can you squeeze the social analytics to get tangible insights to guide your content…

The deliciousness of language

We are so obsessed with keywords that we sometime forget to look at context. The richness and depth of language is more than a collection of syllables. It can tell us if people are happy, annoyed, frustrated and even envious. It tells you how best to talk to them.

Look at your data in the whole and it will inform your tone and approach.  Short sentences, long form content, adverbs and adjectives, colloquialism, contractions. Language that intonates sarcasm or passion or even boredom. They all contribute to the way your audience is feeling. How they express themselves and how they want you to communicate with them. Start by understanding how your audience speaks.

Slice and dice by psychographic

Understanding the psychological state of your customer is the real pearl in the oyster.  Psychographic profiling looks at:

  • Activities and lifestyle
  • Attitudes and personality traits
  • Values and beliefs

And it provides you with a rich seam of data by which to segment your audience. For instance: imagine you are selling holidays to the 50+ audience. You discover by profiling them that group A is adventurous in attitude, looks for unusual destinations and wants to spend the kids’ inheritance fast. Group B, on the other hand, is more cautious. They want a managed holiday where everything is taken care of for them and a full English breakfast is served every day!

The emotional triggers will change depending on who you are targeting. Group A will want holidays with attitude, freedom and a little unexplored sightseeing. Group B want a rep on site, an itinery, and knowledge they are in safe hands.

Finding psychographic insights takes more time. You need to follow the topics, search and research all the angles. You need to spot the conflicts, the expressions that describe values and attitudes. But the investment is worth the effort. Armed with psychographic profiles your content not only connects emotionally, it is delivered to the right audience at the right time.

Couple with behaviour and you have intent

With language and intonation sorted, and with values, attitudes and personalities layered on top there is one final stage. Mapping the behaviours of each group. Because some will choose different social networks for their self-expression, they might be sharers and likers, they might be the type that wants to review recommendation or they may prefer to book offline.

Social data, coupled with behaviours from wider digital activity, website analytics and offline research will allow you to understand the intent of your consumers. Now you are armed with finely tuned and sliced audience segments, or tribes.

And it is knowledge of these tribes that informs your content. Now the emotional creative execution is much more robust. You are no longer guessing.

The aim is not to be a Machiavellian manipulator of consumers though (no matter how tempting) but to ensure your content is both relevant and resonates. And that way it delivers even better results.

Oh and the real beauty of social is once you have this data you can target the right audience, in the right context with the relevant emotional content. Why? Because social is the one place you can actually serve content to an audience based on psychographics profiles!

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