Why empathy will grow your social media audience.
Updated: Oct 9
Imagine you are going to a networking meeting, it’s your first time. You have your sales pitch at the ready. When you get to the event you grab a coffee and scan the room... someone immediately approaches you and starts talking. They introduce themselves and begin to talk about what they do, about their business, how they can help you.. and ask if you need their services? You are about to reply when someone else joins your group, they say hello and ask if it’s your first visit, ask if you are local, and how you discovered the group. They talk about first time nerves - how they felt, how having your own business can mean you don’t always network or have a chance to get out... you laugh for a while together speaking about life, relax and then eventually start to talk about your businesses, and challenges at the moment.
Who are you most likely to engage with? Want to see again? Spend more time with?
You see the small talk is important, to build relationships there needs to be a connection. To connect with someone you need empathy, we want to be understood and feel like we belong.... Before we are sold to! We need to focus on emotional connection before conversion. As the well-known neuroscientist, Antonio Damasio stated, “We are not thinking machines that feel, rather, we are feeling machines that think.”
With emotions driving behaviour it’s vital that we use empathy to help connect with our audience. Tapping into how they are feeling or how they want to feel is a great way of building connection with an audience, to make them feel understood. In sum, it’s all about emotions.
Your social media profiles are like a networking event - we want to connect and feel like we belong.
People who feel connected to your business will follow you, comment and most importantly share what you have to say to those who they know will also be interested - they will become your advocates. 55% of consumers say they would boycott brands whose views don’t align with theirs. (1)
Our lives are so busy, on average we spend almost 2 hours per day on social media apps, filtering our content by what matters to us.
When you put together your social media content write for your audience.
What do they want to hear, how can you make their lives that little bit easier - think about what they are thinking, feeling, their motivations.
So, how can you find out what your target audience are feeling?
This is where the power of empathy comes in. To step into your customers’ shoes, start by compiling a list of your feedback, testimonials and and look for the feelings and emotional language. Mining such insights is great for any business. Not only do you see what they need but also how they feel, both before and after using your product or service. Tailoring content around these feelings will bring confidence and clarity in your social media and a create stronger connection with your audience. People are using social media to be educated, motivated, inspired and entertained - make them feel something and you will engage them.
Over the last few months the trend to support local businesses has grown.
People want to know the story behind the company, who we are doing business with. 52% of online brand discovery happens on public social feeds (2) - we are looking for businesses that interest us.
Your social media audience might not yet be a customer, or they might not buy today, or tomorrow, but they will. Keep posting content that matters to them and that they want to read. Tell your story - show that you are real, this will build trust and your relationship.
‘People buy from people they like know or trust’(3)
There are often several (if not hundreds) of businesses that sell what we want to buy - our buying decisions are based on need - but more importantly emotion. Your social media profiles are a powerful marketing tool, they allow you to showcase your story, your why, show empathy and understanding with your customers. An engaged audience will grow organically.
(1) Sproutsocial (2) Hootsuite (3) Joel Comm
Written by Tracy Marland (Social Butterfly Digital)
& Helen Baker (Helen Baker Marketing & Design)