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How to utilise FOMO to sell on social media

Social Media Marketing Aug 28, 2023
How to utilise FOMO to sell on social media

Social media feeds are filled with happy days, holiday highlights, and shiny items. That’s why FOMO (the fear of missing out) runs rampant on social media. Although it can be seen as a negative thing, when harnessed wisely FOMO can be an incredibly helpful part of a social media marketing strategy. It can inspire action in potential buyers, drive faster sales for businesses and leave both parties happy when a product or service is full of value.

Here are 3 powerful ways to use FOMO to gain more sales through social media…

1. Harness the power of scarcity

No-one wants to miss out on a good deal. Scarcity tactics take advantage of this by driving quick sales through strategic limitation. Social media is the perfect place to use scarcity marketing techniques because you can combine them with detailed audience targeting. However, even with content landing in front of an audience that is relevant to your brand, you may still need an incentive for potential customers to snap up your products quickly. FOMO might be the missing ingredient in your recipe for success.

There are a couple of ways you can encourage sales through scarcity. One of these is by placing a time limit on a sale. With a deadline on a discount there is a short window of opportunity to seize the deal, making impulse buys more likely.

Check out this Facebook ad by Tefal.

Boost sales with a limited time offer
Facebook ad by Tefal uses scarcity tactic to spark FOMO: Limited Time Offer

Notice that there are 6 references to the 40% discount - in the copy, on the media and in the discount code itself. This repetition reinforces the idea that the deal shouldn’t be missed. There is also repetition of the phrase ‘limited time’. This phrase is a scarcity tactic in action which causes FOMO in the viewer.

What’s clever about this particular example is that there isn’t a specific end date for the offer. Will it end today? Will it end next week? Without a clear end date, FOMO is heightened. The ambiguity of the time frame accelerates urgency, compelling interested viewers to make a purchase quickly.

Another way to encourage sales through scarcity is through a limited number of products. There are multiple ways you can do this. You could release a small amount of items, enabling them to sell out and increase interest in the next batch. This can tie in nicely with building an email list as you could encourage interested potential customers to sign up to be notified of when the item is next available. Alternatively, you could choose to only produce a limited run of a product - when they’re gone, they’re gone!

The latter is exactly what @andy.okay did in this Instagram ad.

In this example @andy.okay goes in heavy with the social proofing. This builds trust with the viewer and gives them reasons they won’t regret the purchase. It is the final paragraph, however, that hammers in the FOMO with a scarcity marketing tactic. Check out the sentences, ‘Only 200 available. So grab your favourite now, before it’s gone forever…’. This is a perfect example of sparking FOMO in the viewer. Knowing that there are only 200 available items, with no possibility of buying them at a later date once they are sold out, leaves little room for going away and thinking about the purchase. This is the ultimate tactic for gaining fast sales.

2. Craft copy that cuts to the core

It’s a pretty common technique to present a problem and offer your product or service as the solution. After all, that’s what business is all about. But has a marketing campaign ever made you feel like you were thoroughly missing out? Expertly crafted copy can form an incredible amount of FOMO in the reader with only a few sentences.

Craft copy to trigger emotion and spark action
LinkedIn ad by Meltwater has copy which sparks FOMO

This promoted LinkedIn post by Meltwater triggered an emotion so deep it made me feel like I was the only kid without an invitation to the birthday party. It is both an invitation to join and a reminder that you are currently being left out of a good thing. This is the kind of strong emotion FOMO can have on a potential customer.

Notice the phrases ‘right now’ and ‘never miss a thing’. These phrases inherently suggest that something is currently happening without you and that you are missing out. This implies that the product or service is valuable because people are already using it, prompting further exploration of the brand for a potential sale.

3. Encourage user-generated content 

User-generated content is an extremely valuable tool for increasing brand awareness, engagementreach and trust. Each one of these can help boost sales. However, a big reason why leaning into user-generated content is a must of making sales is because it is a form of word-of-mouth marketing - an extremely effective form of marketing that can supercharge your brand on social media.

When someone shares a positive piece of content about a brand, product or service, their friends, family and followers will see it. This may spark FOMO in them and inspire trust in the brand itself as the review is coming from someone they know. If their friends and family have something valuable or useful, they are more likely to want it themselves.

There are so many ways to encourage user-generated content, but TikTok has several features that are designed specifically for collaborative content creation. One of these is the Duet feature and it is this feature that @pepsi has chosen to use in one of its currently pinned posts.

What’s interesting about this example is it uses an indirect way to trigger FOMO - it has a trickle effect that layers into a beautiful sharing frenzy. Firstly, @pepsi makes a piece of content specifically for people to interact with. Then, existing fans of the brand duet with the content. People see their friends making duets with @pepsi and want to be involved too. Finally, @pepsi shares some of the user-generated content on its profile, making more people want to get involved so they don’t miss out on the opportunity to get featured too. 

When it comes to making sales off this FOMO, there are a few ways this happens. The duet itself encourages users to share their ideas. When these ideas are shared, they inspire other viewers to try them out. Some users are buying the product so they can get involved and use it in their duet with the original piece of content. On top of this, brand awareness and engagement is swirling making higher sales more likely. It’s a much less direct way of sparking sales, but it’s a brilliant use of a feature designed to get people involved, which in turn makes other people feel FOMO so they also want to get involved, while the product sells itself in the process. Clever stuff for a colossal brand.

Check out how adding these techniques can boost your business on social media. Minter.io is the social media analytics tool for growing online. Try it today!

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Sarah Rachel

Fan of tea, rock music and fluffy animals.