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How to Use Social Media Psychology to Connect with Potential Clients

Whitney Bennett is a content developer at Landmark Home Warranty, a home warranty service provider headquartered in Utah. Whitney enjoys providing tips and helpful information for homeowners at

Anyone who has been involved in marketing a home improvement business has probably received a barrage of advice about social media. You’ve probably heard: “Experts say you have to be on social media if you want your business to survive!”

So, you set up your accounts and waited for the likes, comments, referrals and leads to come pouring in…except they didn’t. What went wrong? Marketing on social media is tricky to say the least. Even though it seems like such a simple concept, it’s not. Effective social media, like all marketing, revolves around psychology. I recently attended MozCon, a marketing conference, where Courtney Seiter, head of Content Marketing at Buffer, discussed this topic and really made me think. My company is in the home warranty industry, meaning we work with a lot of real estate agents and professional home contractors. I realized that social media can help connect these contractors not with just their current clients, but our potential ones as well.

So why is social media a draw for so many people? Two chemicals are released in your brain when you log into social media. The interactions you have on the site – the likes, favorites and comments – release oxytocin, and you feel valued. Dopamine makes you go back for that feeling again and again.

So how can you tap into the draw of social media to get more clients to use your professional home improvement business? Here are two tips to get you started:

The Reciprocity Effect

Have you ever received a birthday present from someone unexpectedly, and but you didn’t buy them a gift? How did you feel? Most likely you felt uncomfortable, right?

In 1976 BYU professor Phillip R. Kunz decided to play on this psychological effect. He sent 600 Christmas cards to random strangers and received 200 cards back. Kunz theorized that this played into reciprocity effect; individuals don’t like feeling like they owe someone something, so they like to level the playing field.This effect is a major player in social media. According to Courtney Seiter, a developer (Rameet Chawla) created a script that would automatically like every picture that crossed his Instagram feed. Not only did he grow his followers by around 30 per day, he had people asking him to post more content that they could like and “return the favor.”

How can you use the reciprocity effect to get the word out about your home improvement business? First off, start using your businesses’ social media accounts to like, favorite and comment on things that your followers, friends or fans post. As an example: you’ve recently completed an upgrade on a client’s home and want to show the work you’ve done. Share a post on your business account of the before and after pictures, and mention how enjoyable it has been to work with the family (with their permission).


If you’re a real estate agent and you’re helping a couple find a new home, post on their social media. Say something optimistic about finding their perfect dream home.

Or, if you’re a real estate agent and your clients are trying to sell their home, share pictures of their listing on their wall, saying how excited you are to find a buyer for their home.

What does this do? First, it gets your name out to your client’s family and friends, where you could get potential leads. Second, it plays into the reciprocity effect. When you are building a relationship with your clients on social media, they are more likely to post things about you. Think of it as a referral to their entire list of friends.In a more lead-centric view, using LinkedIn’s automatic emailing can get you into people’s inboxes with as little effort as a click. LinkedIn automatically emails you when someone has looked at your profile, which makes it perfect for generating leads. Find specific groups on LinkedIn that deal with your business and click on individuals’ profiles who are a part of the group. When you do this, a link to you and your profile are sent to their inbox. Using the reciprocity effect, most people will take a look at your profile, and even reach out to you if they’re interested in your business.

People Engage with Images

Before the Internet, humans communicated with the people around them using facial expressions to show emotion. Somewhere along the way when we started interacting with people online, and that ability was lost. We found new ways to recreate it: images.

According to a study done by Owen Churches, human brains react the same to seeing a happy emoticon as they do to a happy human face. We have evolved to see images as replacements for human facial expression.

According to Hubspot, tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets than their image-less counterparts. What’s even better than an image? An image with a person’s face. Another study done by the Georgia Institute of Technology and Yahoo Labs found that pictures with faces are 38 percent more likely to receive a like than one that doesn’t have a face.

How can you use images to connect with clients?

First off, use images in your posts, and more specifically, use images with faces. When sharing on social media, you’re more likely to get retweets, shares and likes if you have a post with an image. If you recently completed a project like a backyard deck or swimming pool for a homeowner, post a picture (with their permission) of the family happily using what you constructed.

If you’re a real estate agent and your clients are moving into the home, post a picture of the family in front of the house, showing how happy they are to be moving in.

Those retweets and shares of those pictures can get you into networks and connected with clients who never knew you existed.

Second, use emojis in the subject lines of your email marketing. If you’re emailing cold leads, show your potential clients that you have a human element to your business with an emoji. According to a study done by Experian, 56% of businesses who used emojis in their email marketing increased their open rates. Swiftpage also found that emojis increased click-through rates by 18%.

If you’re a realtor, use a home emoticon in the subject line of an email, or a happy face if you’re sharing great news about an amazing home being on the market. Contractors can use hammers, nails and other tool emoticons to show your clients what you specialize in to or catch their attention.

So how does that sound? Simple? Easy? It should!

Although the psychology behind social media marketing can be tricky, actually using the findings to connect with individuals should be as easy as pie.

Obviously, there is a lot more to social media and psychology that this article barely tapped into. What kinds of patterns have you seen in your social media marketing?

Tell us in the comments!

Posted by Maisie Leese on 09/08/2015