Fear of missing out (FOMO) is nothing new. For decades, people have attended parties and other gatherings solely out of fear that if they don’t, something exciting will happen and they’ll regret not being there. However, today’s constant online connectivity can make consumers more aware of events taking place.  As a result, the term FOMO has made its way into the dictionary, becoming an accepted part of English vernacular.

For businesses, FOMO has opened up new marketing possibilities. Brands are gradually learning to capitalize on FOMO by creating campaigns showing how customers who aren’t using a particular product or service might be missing out.  Large corporations like Netflix and JetBlue have learned to appeal to consumers’ FOMO in national ads. However on a lower-profile level, companies use FOMO every day. Here are a few ways your small business can incorporate FOMO into your marketing messages.

Time-Sensitive Offers

A ticking clock activates FOMO on a basic level by letting customers know about something they can only take advantage of right now. When an offer has an expiration date attached to it, interested customers feel more compelled to take action. If they’re still on the fence about taking action, the fact that the offer will soon disappear could provide just the incentive needed. Brands often do this through their email marketing messages.  However, you can also put it to work in your social media posts about your special discounts and offers.

Visual Marketing

One of the best ways to bring an element of FOMO to your campaigns is through visuals. Brands create ads showing people having a great time using their product or spending time in their establishment. This can easily be done through your social media posts and email messages, telling an ongoing story about the great experiences customers are having by doing business with you. In the end, a subset of interested consumers will want to be part of that fun.

Exclusivity

At one time, “VIP members” were customers who spent a certain amount or lived at certain income levels. Social media has made it easier for businesses to portray exclusivity to the groups that are most loyal to them. When you offer a deal to your Facebook followers, for instance, those who aren’t a part of the group will fear they’re missing something.  Often times, those feeling left out will begin to follow you as well.   Existing members will likely continue to stay, since leaving will mean giving up those members-only deals.

Encourage Sharing

When you post something on social media, you’re often limiting your messages to those who already know about your brand. The key to growing your audience is to find a way to get the word to new customers. One of the best ways to do that is by encouraging your existing customers to share your messages. Successful brands often do this through interacting directly with fans on social media.  One great example is utilizing incentives such as contests, where customers share their own posts with a specific hashtag to be eligible. There are other methods, as well.  Some of these include making it as easy as possible to share your blog posts, online articles, and social media messages across multiple platforms.

Consumers may fear missing out, but brands can help by providing timely interactions that make clients feel included. With the right marketing techniques, businesses can generate a sense of urgency in customers that will encourage them to take action now, rather than sitting on the decision for a while.