Humans are emotional beings. For us to fully be invested in something, we have to feel like we’re a part of it and want to get involved.
Creating an emotional connection with your audience is not only important for getting your audience to trust your offering but also for building loyalty towards your brand. And whenever you try to sell something, whether it be a product, service, or a story, audiences have to see how it aligns with them.
The way in which brands have communicated with audiences has transformed over the years, and it is mainly through the online world now. And while that might present some disadvantages when trying to win people’s attention, it also provides a great advantage by engaging with viewers and connecting with them on a deeper level.
As a content creator, using emotional marketing to share your story is key to bonding with your audience. But how do you do that exactly?
Here are five ways to leverage emotion to engage and connect online.
People trust people.
To successfully create an emotional connection with your audience, you must give them somebody to connect with.
An important part of creating an emotional bond is treating your audience as if they’re your friends. Some simple ways of creating this relationship could be:
You have to put a person behind your message to make it… personable!
Always show them that by following you and engaging with your content, they’re going to get what they need – whether that’s physically from the product you’re promoting or emotionally from their connection with your brand.
For example, you’ll often see influencers sharing their physical imperfections or mental struggles. In the fitness community, it’s become quite normalized and appreciated when strong, muscular athletes also show how bloated they get by the end of the day, just like everybody else – or what they look like when their compression leggings aren’t hiding their body fat.
They will reveal parts of themselves that previously wouldn’t be shown in more old-school marketing strategies (in fear of being perceived as “imperfect” or “untrustworthy”). But today, it’s seen almost as the exact opposite; it’s perceived as trustworthy to show the more raw, honest humanity within your brand.
You wouldn’t previously see all body types modeling apparel on websites or advertisements; it was previously only those with the “ideal” supermodel figure. And again, that just isn’t the case anymore. Brands will proactively demonstrate a wide array of body images so that audiences won’t feel alienated by advertisements. Instead, they will feel included.
So, talk with your audience, listen to their needs and concerns, and make decisions based on this. You truly want your brand to help them.
Having this empathy will then further allow you to create even more content, and products, that connect with your audience and give them a sense that what you’re promoting is made for them. After all, effective emotional connection and content creation comes from the two-way communication model – an active exchange of information between creator and consumer.
Using this model, your audience will feel like they can get through to you, and that they aren’t just communicating with a machine; or that they’re not just seen as a number in the analytics, but as an actual person.
You have to show consistency and confidence to form trust and authentic connections with your audience.
People are coming to watch your content because they believe in your brand and that they will get value from you. Your audience will turn to you for answers, and you should be ready to give them.
If you’re not, be honest about it instead of throwing out ideas that aren’t well thought-out. That’s where you will start to lose credibility, when people see you always coming back to change your position all the time.
And losing credibility means sacrificing the emotional connection with your audience.
Staying firm in your positions and consistent in your content comes from:
You have to be prepared, as well as confident, in your story and how you’re presenting it.
New creators are often easily swayed by responses online. While hate comments and poor analytics can rattle your confidence, you need to stay strong – even when it’s not easy to do.
Just remember your mission as a creator or brand, and stick to it. Stick to what you truly believe in and keep promoting your message consistently. That’s how you stay firm in your positions, and allow audiences to build trust in your brand.
People can see right through everything you do these days.
Lying, covering up mistakes or controversies, or pretending to be something you’re not isn’t going to work. After all, there aren’t many dark corners online to hide these days when you’re always in the spotlight.
For most people, opening up about mistakes, controversy, or anything personal would be hard. It’s natural to be afraid that people will unfollow you, or worse: publicly shame and “cancel” you.
But avoiding these issues can actually make the outcome much worse.
If there is a controversy that you are involved in, face it head on. Don’t try to cover it up, delete messages, or push it out of sight. Confront it. Show people that you are here to listen and to learn.
In the long run, people are way more likely to forgive you and continue to connect with your brand if you are being honest with what you know and what you don’t know, in your mistakes and in your successes.
Don’t sugarcoat things when there are serious problems, be bold in your position and your opinion. This shows your audience that you care, that you value them, and that you respect both them and their time invested in you.
If you don’t have an answer, say you don’t know. And then do the work to figure it out.
If you think something isn’t going well or there was a problem with your product or service, speak up and apologize. And then go and fix it.
This makes you seem even more relatable when you own up to honest mistakes and confess that you, too, are an imperfect student of life.
A great example of transparency within a company is Everlane – an apparel company that actually demonstrates on their website their commitment to being “radically transparent.” They show a breakdown of the real cost of their clothing, and where your well-earned money is going when you invest in their products.
(Image Credit: Everlane.com/about)
Don’t wait to end up on YouTube gossip channels before being transparent and showing people what’s happening behind the curtain at your company – get ahead and do it first.
The first step to any good marketing strategy, particularly one that involves engaging more emotionally with your audience, is to know who you’re actually talking to and how their minds work.
Do your best to understand as much as you can about how people react, what they want, and what they need in order to feel comfortable with your brand. You should even understand the things that they don’t know about themselves.
People are complex beings and communication is complex, and the way people respond and react to certain triggers or elements in marketing can greatly improve your ability to reach them. For example, it’s worth understanding basic facts about the human experience, like how feelings are triggered not only when we do things ourselves, but also when we watch other people do things.
Knowing these concepts can help you embody these desires and these values, and watch your emotional connections grow.
In fact, 70% of people have claimed that if they feel an emotional connection when it comes to marketing, they are extremely likely to invest in that brand.
Know where to put your energy and what results in positive reactions from your audience. This will be a process of trial and error, studying the way that your audience reacts, and keeping up to date on communications models, research, studies, and facts.
To help you get started, there are a couple key points to keep in mind as you build your marketing and content strategies. According to Harvard Business Review, there are certain elements and desires that people are most inspired by in life:
Creating content that aligns with these common desires can help you reach the widest possible audience while still connecting with them on a deeper level. But, importantly, pick the ones that are most relevant to your target audience and your brand.
Don’t stray away from your message or be inauthentic just for the results. You have to show your audience how you associate with those views, and how your brand will help fulfill those desires.
Creating a connection online isn’t an easy task. There are countless barriers and distractions that keep people from really engaging with you and feeling connected to your brand.
So, what’s one way that you can try and stand out – and properly connect with people? Expanding your marketing into the real, physical world.
Try to have your online engagement result in tangible rewards and real-life opportunities for your audience. This will bring your brand to life in a whole new way, and it’ll give your audience more of an emotional (and physical) connection to your content.
You can hold meetups, do pop ups, give conference talks, host contents, or any other creative opportunity you can think of to get your brand out there.
Having these small bursts of interactions in reality is what makes online companies feel less far away. Bringing your brand into the physical space will only strengthen people’s trust and their level of engagement with you, once they see how committed you are to them. Better yet, it makes them feel more special and more involved than any live-stream Q&A on Instagram.
While it’s important to maintain your strategies to keep up a consistent emotional connection with your audience, you have to be equally as ready to adapt as needed.
Everything is always changing, and the only way to really keep up engagement and build an authentic, emotional connection with your audience is to be present with them through it all. You have to continuously show up in their feed, listen to them, give them what they want, and most importantly: give them what they need.
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