6 Emotionally Intelligent Components of Digital Marketing

Author Zara Burke

According to a recent article by HubSpot an emotionally intelligent employee is a valuable team member. They are ‘Curious’, ‘Self aware’, ‘Self motivated’ and ‘Empathetic.’ Numerous studies have shown that these same people are integral to the success of your digital marketing campaigns.

Here’s the thing: Emotionally intelligent people have an inherent understanding of how human beings think, feel and respond to situations, events and messages. They, therefore, make excellent decision-makers when it comes to social media marketing, inbound marketing, content marketing, creative campaigns and networking.

This is what digital marketing is about: Talking to humans, connecting with people, strengthening relationships. Making your customers feel, think and act.

Emotional Intelligence and Contagious Content

Katherine Milkman and Jonah Berger, both professors from the University of Pennsylvania, created a compelling study entitled, ‘The Link Between Viral Content and Emotional Intelligence’. The study reveals how Neetzan Zimmerman, a former writer for Gawker pulled in 30 million page views a month through one core insight: he understood the emotions that might inspire a human being to click.

Even though your goal might not be to make your content go viral (please tell me that’s not your goal), we could all do with a few more shares, a little more interest and a bit more buzz around the stories we create. During their study, Milkman and Berger revealed the six emotional intelligence factors that influence the virality of a content campaign. We share them below and discuss how they can relate to your business or brand.

6 Emotional Intelligence Factors for Contagious Content:

Social currency – Sharing things that make us look good. For example, a thought-provoking article you know will impress people in your industry.

Triggers – It’s easier to share information we’re likely to remember. So make your content memorable by providing cues and telling compelling stories.

Emotional intelligence – Content that provokes an emotional response. For example, human interest stories, charity campaigns and motivational tips.

Public – The “front” we put on to protect our brand or our public image. For example, your content should avoid being too confrontational or controversial.

Practical use – Think – how will it help people? For example, how-to guides, in-depth studies and video tutorials.

Stories – People are inherent storytellers. Do you have an article you need to write on a boring topic? Use a story or metaphor to engage your readers from the start.

Jonah Peretti, founder and CEO of Buzzfeed echoes the emotional intelligence sentiment, explaining that all marketers and media companies need to tap into their emotional side if they’re ever going to understand what works in the digital era. He said, “We started thinking it’s a game or an algorithm when really it’s about humans and what we want to share and making things that are worth sharing.”

Jonah Peretti, founder and CEO of Buzzfeed speaks about the importance of emotional intelligence below:

Emotional Intelligence and Relationship Building

acknowledging our customers needs and priorities. And how do we do that? Yes, you guessed it – through emotional intelligence. Your customers don’t want to feel like they’re talking to automated machines. They value personal responses – responses filled with human kindness, empathy, warmth and understanding.

A Yale University study focused on ‘Emotional Intelligence and Social Interaction’ found a positive correlation between the ability to manage emotions effectively and the quality of social interactions emotionally intelligent people enjoyed. As digital marketers, we can use this information to build relationships with our customers both online and offline.

Foster Relationships Through Emotional Intelligence:

  • Respond to social media complaints with empathy and kindness.
  • Identify new revenue opportunities by studying your customers’ online behaviour.
  • Sign off with your name when responding to comments on social media and take the time to create a personal and authentic response.
  • Motivate yourself to look for opportunities where you can help out an influencer online.
  • Identify customer issues arising repeatedly and create solutions based on listening and understanding.
  • Read people’s cues while networking and seek out opportunities where you can help them.
  • While networking also look for cues where people are hesitant to help. Never ask for a favour when people are not open to it.

Emotional intelligence is about listening and putting your customers’ needs first. Always. Used in the right way it can give your business a competitive advantage that’s never going to age. While others are focussed on new technologies and up-to-date innovations you’re focused on what matters most – your customers.

Want to learn more about digital marketing and the importance of putting the customer first? Our next Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing takes place shortly. In just 10 weeks of insightful evening lectures you’ll learn from experts who work in the digital industry every day. We’ll teach you the fundamentals of digital marketing from social media and search marketing to email, display and mobile. You’ll walk away with your very own actionable digital marketing strategy to implement within your business.

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Zara Burke