There’s something about the feeling of missing out that generates a strong emotional reaction. FOMO is a powerful motivator: once you’ve missed out on an experience, there’s no way to get it back. Social media spawned #FOMO, but it’s always been with us — our newsfeeds just make it easier to experience.
If there’s one thing that marketers are always aiming to leverage, it’s emotion. We know that many people are switching their purchasing habits from spending big on material items to investing in experiences, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t leverage experiences to help you sell your products. Think about it this way: you can buy last season’s shoes on sale, but it’s not quite the same as the experience of wearing them when they were this season’s shoes.
How Does FOMO Work?
FOMO is really just a complicated version of regret. When we see someone doing something fun, exciting, or rewarding without us, it makes us regret that we’re not involved. It’s jealousy for the new generation — we used to be envious of other people’s things, and now we’re envious of what they’re doing with them. “Millennials are especially susceptible to FOMO: 68% of them admit that they’ve made purchases to avoid missing out,” shares a resource from SmallBiz Ahead. Social media fuels the fire by giving us a constant (curated) window into the lives of the people we know.
It’s human nature to want to be a part of the group. For millennia, FOMO kept us alive. If we weren’t in the know and doing what everyone else was, we probably were missing out on something big: dinner. Humans evolved depending on gossip to keep us safe, fed, and in the loop with our communities.
Luckily for marketers who want to get in on the FOMO, it’s easy to use your existing social media marketing strategy to incorporate it. But FOMO won’t work for everyone. Your brand has to be valuable to your customers for them to feel investment.
Using FOMO Tactics
Ready to stop feeling FOMO over all the leads you’re giving away to your competitors who are capitalizing on your target audience’s fears of missing out? Check out these tips for motivating your customers to join in on the fun.
Appeal to your customer’s concerns that there is not enough of whatever you’re selling for everyone who wants it. Marketers have been using this tactic for ages, but it’s particularly effective when used naturally. For example, instead of creating a post that says something like:
“Don’t miss out! There’s a limited amount of (product) left, so get yours today!”
Try using a presale tactic instead. The former message looks disingenuous and can make your audience feel like you’re forcing their hand. A presale implies the message without saying it, while also boosting your brand value. If you’ve created a connection with your customers and they have an investment in your brand, they’ll probably start making those posts for you.
Everyone has that Facebook friend whom they aspire to be like. They’re the one always going to the coolest places, buying the best clothes, and eating the most delicious avocado toast. That’s the power of an influencer.
To boost the power of your FOMO marketing, leverage influencers. Your customers will see these cool cats using your product or service and, feeling a desire to be like them, will want to get in on the action too.
Word of Mouth
As much as we’re also individuals, we trust what our friends have to say. Our peers help us decide what’s good and what’s a waste of time. It’s why companies like Yelp and Angie’s List are successful — they’ve captured the power of WOM. Quickbooks gives us these stats: “Some 74% of consumers rely on word of mouth as the top influencer of their purchasing decisions.” A good reputation can take you far.
To make word of mouth marketing work for your FOMO marketing, focus on customer service. You’ll need to invest in some stellar service to see WOM returns, but it pays off. Happy customers are much more likely to tell their friends than those who you didn’t make an impression on.
Exclusivity is a little like scarcity, but there’s a key difference. Scarcity drives your customers by telling them there’s not enough of the product to go around. Exclusivity raises the stakes: not just anybody can get the product.
Few things will make your target audience want what you’re selling more than being told that they can’t have it — especially if they see their friends showing it off on social media. Plus, exclusivity helps generate excitement among the customers who make the purchase, meaning they’re more likely to show it off.
Try some of these tactics and see how they boost your engagement and leads through social media. FOMO resonates best with millennials, but we’ve all been feeling it for a while. It’s human nature to want to be part of the fun and excitement, and while our spending habits might be shifting, that hasn’t changed. Do what all the best marketers are doing and get in on the #FOMO!
Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.