Turning a big loss into a win with social media, content and consumer sentiment

Written on February 3, 2020
Dog has a sad
How can your brand make a comeback?

Oh no! Your favorite team just lost the big game! Now what?

Many of us will find ourselves hunched over on the couch with our mobile devices glowing back up at us. So, here’s the question. If after the disappointing loss you were to venture onto social media, what sort of content would you want to see from your vanquished athletic heroes? 

According to a recent study in the November 2019 issue of the Journal of Marketing, you may be more appreciative of a stats heavy Facebook post right after a tough loss. Conversely, the study shows that fans of the winning team are more likely to engage with emotionally driven content.

Why is that?

We put on our thinking ballcaps here at Cayenne to field a few theories. We also wanted to think through how this scholarly work could be applied to some of the brands we manage on social media. This could be especially helpful for online crisis management situations.

The study explores how marketers can shape the tone of customers’ digital engagement during specific events with positive or negative outcomes. The article specifically studied the effects of social media posts on the fans of several European soccer teams. They found that when a team won a match, fans were more likely to interact with emotionally charged posts. Think about photos of the winning team, big bold statements, and that’s about it. On the flip side, fans of the losing team were more likely to interact with informational posts. Successful posts generally highlighted good efforts from individual players. For example, a star player hitting a career benchmark during the game played well, as did the setting of an attendance record by the devoted fans. The basic logic here is that the thrill of the win carries the emotional content, and the throes of defeat prompt users to think more analytically. The researchers found that informational posts can actually improve customer sentiment in the aftermath of an unfavorable outcome.

Below are some examples of emotional content tactics:

Below are some informational post tactics:

How does sentiment impact the brand?

It’s not news that exposure to social media posts can impact purchases, and the study confirms this. Another interesting finding was that joining an online community often leads to greater customer spend. In short, social media campaigns can positively affect sales, Return on Investment (ROI) and enhance word-of-mouth marketing.

Research has also shown that more interactive online communities, such as Facebook groups or subreddits, can improve the relationship between a brand and its customers. Greater fan interactivity on an organization’s social media page can also increase emotional and rational engagement with the brand.

When things are going well for customers, positive social media experiences enhance the user’s sense of personal wellbeing. When customers feel this way, they feel little need to seek information in order to make sense of it. They feel good. They don’t care why. In such situations, informational content is less effective while emotional appeals such as time-sensitive calls to action perform well. For example, a chain of paint stores might leverage the natural human positivity that comes with springtime to create strong calls to action centered on spring cleaning and painting.

Positive engagement and emotional content are like bank credit. The more they are built up, the better a brand is likely to fare during a crisis. All those good feelings help to offset the negativity of the brand crisis. During these times, we take a lesson from the losing team and create posts that are more informational than emotional. As you might expect, the study shows that informational posts during a negative time for a brand can actually increase engagement by as much as 10%. If we take the example of our chain of paint stores, what if the chain has to close some of its locations? If we adhere to our social media strategy, more informational posts about the company’s history or detail around why the stores were closing may fare better than remaining silent on the issue.

Through social media posts, organizations can reinforce positive experiences with emotional content, or mitigate negative customer experiences through informationally dense posts that relate to the negative experience.

So no matter what is happening with the team or social media brand you represent, keep one simple mantra in mind: Always Be Posting.

Have customer sentiment or social media questions? Contact us today and let’s talk!