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How to Use FOMO Marketing on Social Media

Social media advertising has more reasons for being effective as than purely being able to expose your content to a massive viewership. That’s definitely part of it, but it doesn’t make up the whole picture.

Psychology plays just as big of a part in plenty of successful social media campaigns, and FOMO is one of the biggest psychological strategies you can use to increase the success of your marketing efforts.

In the past year, the Fear Of Missing Out has escalated in users.

When used strategically in social media marketing, including using mediums from Snapchat Posts to Facebook Ads, FOMO marketing can drive up sales, engagement, and brand promotion.

In this post, we’re going to look at how to use FOMO marketing to do all this and more.

What is FOMO?

While I still roll my eyes at high school students shouting “YOLO!,” FOMO, or the Fear Of Missing Out, is an actual psychological occurrence, particularly in Millennials (even if I grimace a little every time I type it).

With increasing amounts of our lives being shared across social media, people are more afraid than ever of missing out on something amazing.

FOMO is a potent force, particularly in Millennials, who currently make up a huge portion of buying power; one study states that a whopping 69% of Millennials feel a fear of missing out when they can’t attend some sort of event. This applies to users of all age groups.

Users are experiencing the fear of missing out everywhere, and marketers can use that to our advantage.

Users who experience FOMO are more likely to engage on social media, and can be encouraged to make purchases influenced by their fear. Because of this, it’s an incredibly useful tool for marketers that shouldn’t be overlooked.

There are 4 easy tactics you can use to do this.

1. Create Scarcity and Urgency

Utilizing urgency has always been a smart tactic for marketers, but it’s never been more effective than when used with the fear of missing out. What makes someone act more urgently than the fear of not being able to later? I’ve purchased things on a flash sale (that inevitably turned out to go on for several more days) that I’d need for my new house but didn’t need right that second just because I was afraid of missing out on the best price possible.

Scarcity and urgency go hand in hand. Scarcity incites urgency by its nature; if there’s only one hundred seats in the venue, or one hundred products in stock, there’s a limited supply. Particularly in users who hear “only a few left before we’re sold out!” they may purchase in FOMO whether it’s product or an experience, and they’ll act so quickly.

Highlight both scarcity and urgency in your marketing campaigns as much as possible to encourage FOMO purchases.

2. Encourage Engagement for Social Proof

Social proof is a huge deal in social media marketing. It can drive other users to engage with and click on your content, and they’ll be more likely to purchase if social proof is high, too. This makes sense; we’re more likely to trust a friend’s opinion about a product than the person trying to sell it to us. Social proof is like getting a product vouched for by a few hundred or thousand of our closest friends, even if we’ve never met them.

Encouraging engagement on your social media sites is key to building social proof which can help inspire the fear of missing out from other users. If a ton of users are interested in your brand, after all, what are they missing if they aren’t?

When possible, it’s ideal to not only encourage engagement but to encourage engagement where users promote your product for you. This is part of the reason some types of social media contests are so popular, like Pin it to Win it and photo sharing contests—users are promoting your product with a lot of hype involved.

Even if you don’t run contests asking users to share images of their favorite products, asking users their opinions can help inspire them to do this on their own.

Ask them to leave a review on Facebook in exchange for a coupon code, or post questions like “What item do new customers have to order off the menu?”

These can result in satisfied customers raving about their experience with you and your product and, in turn, can result in new leads and customers who don’t want to miss out on the greatness.

3. Promote an Experience over a Product

Millennials are valuing experiences more than they value products. This makes promoting events, including events like sales or the launch of a new product, easier than ever. No one wants to miss out on something that’s happening. This is part of the reason people are lined up for hours for the new iPhone every year, even if theirs is working—they’re excited about the product, but they don’t want to miss out.

This makes promoting events, including events like sales or the launch of a new product, easier than ever. No one wants to miss out on something that’s happening. This is part of the reason people are lined up for hours for the new iPhone every year, even if theirs is working—they’re excited about the product, but they don’t want to miss out.

This is easy for businesses that sell experiences automatically, like cruise lines or restaurants or theme parks, I’m often asked about companies selling more standard products like B2B solutions, pet food, or candles. In this case, you can still focus on the experience that comes with your product.

For example, let’s say I’m selling software that will automatically follow up with your clients so you don’t have to. I’m selling a product, but I’ll sell it as a pain-free work experience; you could have less hassle in your day, increasing productivity while reducing stress.

LinkedIn is advertising a more positive job searching experience, not just a product.

User Generated Content can also come into play here, providing you with customer-created experiences with your products that you can share on social media.

4. Utilize Exclusivity

People naturally want to be invited to join exclusive groups. Exclusivity can result in more loyal customers, as well as inspire the fear of missing out. Scarcity and exclusivity also work well together, and the thought that something is exclusive will make users more interested in signing up.

Brands like White House Black Market and Sephora have loyalty rewards programs set up so that the more you spend within a calendar year, the more rewards you get. Once you spend $500, for example, you might qualify for a year long 5% discount on all purchases; if you spend $1000, you get a gift card and 10% purchases. Utilizing a rewards program like this on social media, where only certain members get advantages or rewards, can be incredibly valuable for FOMO marketing.

Other great examples of exclusivity include offering product samples to just a few members before it rolls out officially, or beta testing a new program that your business offers.

A pre-sale opportunity to get tickets just for social media users leverages exclusivity without actually leaving anyone out.

I joined both the beta tests for Upwork’s Pro Writers and Linkedin ProFinder and the ability to join both elite/exclusive groups made me more likely to use both to connect with new clients, which resulted in more profit for them, too. Why did I join both right away, before they’d officially launched on a larger scale? I didn’t want to miss the chance to establish myself on a new platform or new great clients. FOMO, as much as I hate to admit it, definitely played a part.

Final Thoughts

Fear can be a powerful motivator, especially when there’s a common fear among your target audience that you can market to. Utilizing the very prevalent Fear Of Missing Out in your marketing efforts can help bring you new customers and bigger profit lines, particularly when you utilize strategies like implementing urgency and scarcity and capitalizing on social proof. Users don’t want to miss out on anything, so make sure they know why they don’t want to miss out with you.

What do you think? Have you ever used FOMO marketing? What strategies have worked for you? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think!