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How to sell on Facebook: Psychological Tricks and Tips

12 min read
Vlad Kovalskiy
October 17, 2017
Last updated: November 12, 2019
How to sell on Facebook: Psychological Tricks and Tips
Every marketer or a business owner wants to see their sales skyrocket. And there are numerous ways to promote the business and turn this vision into reality.

Social media is one of the recent advertising methods. But in order to fully benefit from the opportunities that social media has to offer, it’s important to think strategically and optimize ad performance.

This article is intended to explore Facebook advertising basics and psychological tricks to help you create a successful Facebook campaign.

What goes into a successful Facebook campaign

Facebook ads campaign is the most straightforward way to reach your audience. There is nothing easier than setting up and launching a campaign, especially with all the helpful tips and directional cues from Facebook. But, in reality, it takes far more than a couple clicks to create a truly impactful campaign, that will drive click-through rates.

Here are all the elements that make a Facebook campaign successful:

Lucrative offer

For an offer to drive attention it needs to be valuable. People derive value from rewarding purchases, that either boost their mood or make someone they care about happy. But until they buy or receive their purchase, it’s a responsibility of a business owner to communicate that value.

An offer can truly make or break a campaign. Discounts and sales messages are great, but they don’t give you a competitive advantage. Additionally, in the information overload environment, people are used to promotional messages and don’t assign much value to them.

You offer is your unique selling proposition, sprinkled with positive emotions and enhanced with the feeling of abundance or scarcity.

Captivating headlines

Copy allows you to express your USP in a clear and concise way that propels people into action. Headlines that hint on a story, ask a question, or give out useful and educational information tend to perform best.

When creating a copy, think about your buyer persona, imagine that he is a real person and try to speak directly to that person. Try to avoid descriptional headlines, use active voice and show the customers how great their lives can be with your product. People don’t want to be sold to, but they do want their problems solved.

Stunning imagery

Even by looking at your Facebook feed, you can tell which elements drive most attention. People are visual creatures and our eyes are naturally drawn to pictures, images, and graphics.

Not only imagery takes up more than 50% of the ad, but it’s also the first thing people notice. The image doesn’t have to be elegant or beautiful, but it has to be a magnet for attention.

~ Use bright contrasting colours, lots of white space, avoid blue shades, since they get lost in the traditionally blue coloured Facebook feed, and do the opposite of what your competitors are doing.

Audience segmentation and targeting

Getting to know your customers is an important step in creating a successful Facebook campaign. There are different ways to target your audience on Facebook:

  • Location-based targeting

  • Demographics-based targeting

  • Interest-based targeting

  • Behaviour-based targeting

There is also an option to create a custom audience based on the data exported from your website, app, or customer files.

Continuous testing

If someone is telling you that a certain image works better or a headline isn’t going to work, don’t believe them. The “assume nothing, question everything” mentality applies to Facebook ads perfectly.

Nobody knows which ad will perform better. The only way to find out is to test several ads and see which one is better. This doesn’t mean that you need to create hundreds of ads. Start with 3-4 and improve on the one that performs best.

Coherent marketing strategy

A Facebook campaign is only a small step in the customer buying journey. As soon as the customer clicks on your ad, you have to take him further down the sales funnel. All too often, marketers redirect the customers to a company site, that has nothing to do with a Facebook campaign offer. As a result, the ad budget is spent in vain.

Create a custom landing page, that emphasizes the offer and list all the benefits of your product or service.You need to guide the customer and lay down a clear and straightforward path from a Facebook page to your landing page and to the purchase.

Psychological tips for great Facebook Ads

Once you get acquainted with all the elements of Facebook campaign creation it’s time to set up a campaign and craft your enticing offer. Here are some psychological tips to help you create a truly winning offer:

1. Cialdini’s psychological principles

Robert Cialdini is the Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University, who identified six psychological principles, that are used by marketers worldwide. The principles represent our subconscious biases, that are hard to control and even harder to resist.

  • Reciprocity - if someone gave us something, we’re inclined to return the favour. This principle is widely used in “Buy one, get one free” campaigns and free trials.

  • Commitment - once we take a small step, we are ready to go on a full journey. When people sign up for an ebook or a white paper, they invest their time. After making such a small time investment, they are more likely to make larger investments and buy something.

  • Liking - we tend to be more open and accepting around people we like. Beautiful models, smiling children, and cute kittens have long been exploited in advertising as the main attraction point.

  • Authority - we trust figures of authority. Parents, teachers, firefighters, respectable political and civil figures make us forget about our doubts. We often see doctors endorsing a toothpaste in TV ads - this is the authority principle in action.

  • Scarcity - we are more likely to buy something if we believe that we have something to lose. Marketers widely employ this principle with “sale ends soon” messages.

  • Social Proof - we assume actions of others in an attempt to replicate the correct behaviour. Testimonials and customer reviews alleviate the pain of decision making. When we see that other people already tried and approved the product or service, we feel more comfortable buying it.

2. Reverse psychology

Reverse psychology is a technique that makes people do what you want them to do by telling them to do the opposite. It’s a great technique for people who are averse to any kind of marketing manipulations.
Numerous studies show that when asked to not think of a white bear, people still think about a white bear. In fact, the thought of a white bear becomes overbearing and replaces all thoughts in the human mind.
Reverse psychology is also known as the art of selling via non-selling. People are tired of sales messages and tend to ignore them. However, when they realize that no one is forcing them to buy, they feel in control, which in turn allows them to put down their guard.

3. Bizarreness effect

Creativity is based on connecting two bits of unrelated knowledge together to produce a new piece of knowledge. Creative ads are easily noticeable and better remembered. But sometimes you need to really think outside the box to catch attention.
Bizarreness effect is the tendency of a weird, unconventional material to be more distinctive than usual material. We all want to learn and are constantly on the lookout for new information. We also tend to disregard familiar content and pay attention to new content.
When you create an offer unlike no other and it catches the user off guard, you employ the bizarreness effect.

4. Anchoring

The anchoring effect makes us rely on the first piece of information we receive. We then make decisions based on that first piece of information, even though they might not be objective decisions.
Subscription businesses often employ this tactic. For example, when presented with three subscription plans, that cost $19, $96 and $100 respectively. Each plan offers certain features, but the last one offers the most comprehensive list of features. Most people choose the third plan because the price is almost the same as the second option but the list of features is substantial.

5. Positive associations

We’re wired to respond to positive emotions. Emotions are triggered by either the hormones - endorphins, dopamine or serotonin - or previously acquired associations. Companies and businesses that help us reach a blissful state of happiness enjoy our unwavering trust and loyalty. 
You can’t influence hormones production through Facebook ads, but if you’re able to recognize associations and connect them to your product, you can reach the same level of success.
Associations are formed as a result of our previous experiences. Most people enjoy Christmas because it evokes the feeling of nostalgia brought about by our childhood memories. Negative associations work the same way - when you get a cut from a piece of wood, you’ll be extra careful next time you come across the unfinished wood.
As a business owner, you can either remove negative associations by showing how your product solves the problem, or tap into the power of positive emotions by reminding the audience of the sweet nostalgic moments of the past.

Final Word

You can use psychological tricks to craft a powerful offer, but only in conjunction with the extensive audience and market knowledge. Facebook is a medium for your marketing messages, similar to Google Ads or even magazine ads, and your success in the channel depends on your critical thinking, analytical and creative skills.
So master the Facebook campaign set up the process, research your audience and learn psychology. It wouldn’t be too long before you drive thousands of visitors to your site and convert them.

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Table of Content
What goes into a successful Facebook campaign Lucrative offer Captivating headlines Stunning imagery Audience segmentation and targeting Continuous testing Coherent marketing strategy Psychological tips for great Facebook Ads 1. Cialdini’s psychological principles 2. Reverse psychology 3. Bizarreness effect 4. Anchoring 5. Positive associations Final Word

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