Working ‘FOMO’ To Your Advantage

By September 17, 2019 No Comments
fear of missing out (FOMO)

Ever had the urge to join your peers in a certain trend, challenge or social media wave? Well, you experienced the fear of missing out (FOMO). It is an actual fear of feeling left out of the loop on what your brain classifies as ‘important’. This is a phenomenon that has been present long before social media. The need to want to constantly be in-the-know is at par with the rise of technology and social media addiction.

"We actually have a part of our brain that is specialized for sensing if we are being left out…Feeling physiologically stressed does not feel good, and that is one of the reasons why feeling left out or the “fear of missing out” feels bad and people want to avoid it."

Anita SanzClinical psychologist.

Now that we know how powerful this feeling can be, let’s highlight ways to use the fear of missing out to your advantage. You are probably already employing some of them:

1) Create a sense of urgency

Time limits instinctively drive consumers to act to avoid missing out on a good deal. Just ask Jumia, champions at using this tactic with their extremely attractive flash sales. Let’s admit most of us have fallen prey to this particular one. (Black Friday is coming up in November BTW.) Using a countdown timer greatly enhances your consumers impulse to purchase your product or service.

jumia: fear of missing out

2) Create exclusivity  

We all want to feel like we belong to some ‘special’ club! Not only are they cool, but they also have awesome benefits to boast. This is why loyalty programs are such an enticing deal. We get access to certain products and deals that are offered only to a select few. There is also the perception that a lot of the riff-ruff have been cut off and you’re in on a secret that only a select few are aware of. Generally, exclusivity invites attention and instills customer loyalty. Especially when you’re offering discounts on some of your most sought-after items. If used properly, this could quickly become your biggest seller.

loyalty program example

3) Show there is high demand

No one likes to be the last one to find out a secret, or the last to discover a quick life hack. Therefore, when there is a perceived demand for your product consumers experience some sort of ‘pressure’ to purchase. Telkom Kenya, for instance, triggered FOMO in their ‘Form Ni 50’ advert by creating hype around their campaign and showcasing people lining up to buy airtime.

However, note that creating a perception of demand doesn’t always work. If your consumers sniff out the scarcity is just an illusion, I can guarantee it will hurt your sales one way or another.

Source: Youtube/Telkom Kenya

4) Leverage on User Generated Content (UGC)

The modern-day fear of missing out is heavily rooted in social media. Hence campaigns that allow your consumers to interact directly with your product or service and share this content online is priceless! Apart from jump-starting the ‘I want to a part of it too’ feeling, user generated content attracts new and potential customers, increases brand loyalty and awareness. It’s worth a shot.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have come across content by top Kenyan bloggers, influencers and entertainers adorned in ‘pretty in pink’ outfits. A closer look will reveal that they’re all using the hashtag(s) #PinkYourGin/ #GetPinked on Instagram. This campaign by Beefeater Gin has generated beautiful content and has some of us wishing we could attend such events (major FOMO if you ask me!).

get pinked campaign

5) Promote an experience rather than a product

This tactic works well with a Millenial target audience. This generation isn’t just satisfied by seeing a product. They also need to feel, interact and connect with a product. Jameson Kenya sells this through their annual ‘Jameson Connect’ concerts. The events boast a myriad of fun activities as well as top-notch entertainment. Thus earning it’s crown as the must-go-to event in Nairobi! The unforgettable experiences that the event promises keep the masses flocking at the gates year in, year out. These tips on how to go viral might also come in handy for those looking to use this tactic.

The same concept could apply to a B2B model. Such businesses need to position their product as having great benefits and enhancing the customer experience. For example, a software could highlight that they save the customer a lot of time due to their user-friendly interface which ultimately increases productivity.

Source: Youtube/Jameson Kenya

6) The power of social proofing

Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people mirror the actions of others that they hold in high regard.  The six major types include: expert, celebrity, user, wisdom of the crowd, friends and certification social proof.

Using testimonials and reviews to market your product is one of the most effective forms of social proof. Using pictures also increases the trust between your brand and your consumers. Be wary of negative social proof though, which has the opposite effect!

betin advert image

Take away

FOMO is a powerful marketing tool that works best if coupled with other marketing strategies and geared towards the right audience. If not employed correctly, FOMO could create negative emotions and this drives a wedge between your consumers and your brand. People hate to miss out, so make sure they know why they shouldn’t miss out on your product or service!

Not that it is usually a matter of life and death … for many people social media has become their community lifeline

Anita SanzClinical psychologist.

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