It wasn’t that long ago that emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) wasn’t considered important by Facebook marketers.
As audiences try to push away from information overload and constant targeting and retargeting, marketers face the challenge of understanding how people want to be reached and how exactly do their brains work.
According to a recent study, 90 percent of marketers agreed that personalizing the audience experience is vital to the success of their respective brands. Despite this statement, 80 percent of consumers revealed that brands don’t understand them as individuals. This lack of understanding can become the reason for campaign failure on social media.
Emotional intelligence is the secret ingredient you need to possess in order to boost audience happiness. You’ve also got to consider that it is not about what you have to offer, but about delivering an experience that maps to the emotions of your audience.
Exactly what is emotional intelligence?
EI became popular as a term after Daniel Goleman published a book titled “Emotional Intelligence” in 1995. It is defined as the skill to identify and manage your own emotions as well as the emotions of others. It has the following components:
- Self-regulation: The ability to control your emotions and responses
- Self-awareness: Having a good understanding of your emotions
- Motivation: The willingness to overcome emotional challenges and make wise decisions
- Empathy: The ability to understand emotions of others
- Social skills: The ability to interact well with your audience
While some marketers possess emotional intelligence naturally, these 5 components allow others to develop their emotional intelligence, giving them the ability to better manage their interpersonal functioning.
Why emotional intelligence in social media is the real deal, you ask? Emotionally intelligent brands question audiences in ways that diagnose and solve core issues as well as unpack needs rather than jumping quickly to ‘pat’ solutions and answers. In other words, it allows you to take a step back and decide whether your Facebook campaign is a thoughtful one or just another campaign grounded in intellect.
CEO and founder of Buzzfeed, Jonah Peretti, is an advocate of the EI sentiment. He states that all marketers and media companies need to tap into their emotional side if they ever want to understand how the digital era works.
What can you learn from sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy? That crafting likable and shareable content is an art that is strongly linked to emotional intelligence. The content on these websites reveal something (subconsciously and consciously) about the target audiences’ own identities. As a result, the interplay of emotional intelligence can be the largest decider of the success of your campaign.
How to utilize emotional intelligence in Facebook marketing?
According to a Yale University study on Emotional Intelligence and Social Interaction, there is a positive correlation between the ability to effectively manage emotions and the quality of social interactions that emotionally intelligent people enjoy.
When marketing on Facebook, you can gain a competitive advantage through emotional intelligence in the following ways:
1. Listen to your audience
Don’t take Facebook as just an opportunity to broadcast your message; use it to listen to your customers and learn from the feedback they provide.
An audience with high emotional intelligence don’t like to be marketed at without any relevance; they like to take part in honest conversations, and want to feel that brands they do business with are listening to them.
When listening to your audience, you should:
- Gather information on behaviors and trends
- Gather efficient feedback through surveys, questionnaires, and other methods (phone calls maybe)
- Discover reasons why audiences don’t or do business with you
Analyzing all information will allow you to respond intelligently to audiences in real-time. You can also use tools like Topsy and AgoraPulse to understand better what your target audience is thinking and talking about.
Then you can use your emotional intelligence to scrutinize why they’re behaving in a certain way.
MasterCard did this back in 2012. They set up a ‘Conversation Suite’ to allow for social listening in real-time, and designated a few employees to monitor conversations in it around the clock.
The company analyzed around 85,000 online conversations before it announced the digital wallet back in 2012.
Emotional intelligence played a role when insights came in from the listening strategy. The product was geared towards what actually mattered to their target audience.
2. Leverage empathy
Empathy is a crucial aspect of human nature and a vital skill possessed by emotionally intelligent organizations. Sure, you may know what messages may persuade your audience, but most brands aren’t aware of how their marketing campaigns make consumers feel.
To be emphatic, ask what your core offer will do for the prospect’s emotional self and identity. Also, you need to create an experience that helps consumers take charge and make them feel they are not at the mercy of a brand campaign and marketing messages. Empathy will reach your audience at a deeper level and help you improve the company’s ROI.
Acknowledge how customers feel instead of broadcasting messages or responding negatively to harsh comments. It’s essential to be sensitive to their experiences and feelings in real-time to establish an emphatic connection.
Target does a great job at showing empathy to its Facebook audiencef.
Take a look at the comment above and the reply. The brand realizes its obligation to share its empathy after it was informed about the struggle of its customer. It establishes trust and improves the company’s image.
3. Offer help
Facebook gives you the opportunity to help others in a public forum. This means that for every answer you give to a comment or query left on your brand page, you’ve not only created an experience for the customer who left the comment/query, but for anyone who reads your response afterwards.
This act will develop goodwill, but it must be noted that emotional intelligence is needed to influence your audience indirectly by helping someone in need. So before you go on ignoring that comment, imagine what would happen if you replied and your response is viewed by 1,000 other individuals.
That’ll be your 1K Champagne result.
You can answer questions including:
- Account-related or direct technical
- Queries regarding defects, outages, etc.
- Product and service requests
- General references to your offerings
The key is to become a resource for your audience beyond the product/service you’re offering. While ‘social media care’ is not a new concept, it takes emotional intelligence to implement it properly.
Here’s a great example from KLM’s Facebook page. The company handled the conversation with an angry customer in an emotionally intelligent way.
An adverse response may have led to a PR disaster, but KLM did well to self-manage and self-regulate its own emotions while showing empathy to the customer.
4. Feed the emotional side
You’ll have customers who want to know more information about the products they consider buying, but there will also be those who don’t prefer to have more information. The latter don’t want any unnecessary information to become a barrier in their purchase decisions.
Whatever information you feed to your target audience will address their two sides of thinking – the emotional side and the intellectual side. In some cases, you’re better off focusing on the emotional side with your emotional intelligence in social media approach, while keeping other details sparse.
You should know what your audience cares about already, and know what they relate to. Feed information that allows them to resonate their identities with your offering. Maintain credibility by citing sources and offering evidence.
Take a look at this post by Samsung.
Instead of focusing on the features of Galaxy S6, they are promoting the satisfaction of taking great pictures; feeding the emotional side of people who love taking clear and beautiful images. These people will be inspired to make an emotionally intelligent decision (The camera of my current model isn’t good enough. Why don’t I get a better phone as it fulfills my need of taking great images?).
The sooner you realize the importance of emotional intelligence in social media and why it will impact the future of marketing, the better will be your chances to improve your campaign ROI.
By leveraging the semantic understanding and management of your own emotions and the emotions of those you’re targeting, you can improve overall engagement with audiences as well as your brand reputation.
Do you have any other Facebook marketing stories to share where emotional intelligence was used to connect with the target audience? We’d love to hear about them and if they were effective. Feel free to leave comments.