Psychology of social media Archives - Kara Lambert

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What I have learnt in 9 years of working from home

What I have learned from 9 years of working from home

In February 2011, I started working from home in a side business. In April 2012, I quit my day job and made working from home, for myself, a fulltime gig. Over that time I’ve learnt some hard lessons, made mistakes, and I’ve grown a lot. So I thought it was time I shared with you some of the key lessons I’ve learnt from my time as a sole trader who works from home.

Get the right support

In the beginning there were a lot of long hours working from home. My husband tried very hard to be supportive but having only briefly run his own business about 15 years earlier, he really didn’t understand the current environment. In the end, we both got very frustrated. It was then I felt incredibly alone and started to look for support.

You need the right support.

I honestly don’t mean business coaching, though this is what I did eventually need. What I really needed was someone who truly understood what it was like to work from home. Hubby has a regular office job. With regular office job distractions.

When you work from home, suddenly people think that you are available for a chat. Suddenly the housework seems more appealing than the “work” work. You can get sick of seeing the same four walls. The silence becomes deafening. And while I will go through some of the strategies I use to stay on track and get stuff done, nothing is quite like having someone who just ‘gets it’.

If you’re part of a remote team, there are a number of different tools you can use to stay in touch. Slack, Whats App, Facebook Messenger, and Zoom are all great ways to keep in touch.

Join a networking group, be it virtual or live, to make sure you get out and socialize. We humans are social beings. There are some great groups out there that are industry specific.

Having someone to call upon when things get too much, when you need to talk to someone, when you’re feeling alone. Reach out to someone you know and trust. Who gets what it’s like to work remotely, I did that for a while in my office job. Someone who will be there to just listen to you when it’s all a bit too much.

Time management when working from home

Remember that housework I mentioned earlier? Yeah, I’m a sucker for doing a load of laundry, the grocery shopping, or unpacking the dishwasher. Not! I am when there are other things I’m meant to be doing but don’t particularly want to do. Especially when the list is long, and getting longer. There’s nothing more disheartening when that list you’ve been working so hard on is getting longer.

I have to be honest, I did procrastinate a lot when I felt overwhelmed by a growing task list. It seemed like a useless folly to try and work my way through. Then I realized that something had to change. Two things did.

How you think about time

The first thing I changed was how I thought about time. When it comes to tackling a never ending to-do list and there never seems to be enough time, I had to work out how to get more time out of my day. First, I worked later and later. I just ended up burnt out with migraines and missing out on time with my family. Something had to change.

I remembered that there are instances where time seems to stand still and others it races by. I had to make it stand still more often. When I thought about it, when I believed that there wasn’t enough time – there wasn’t. When I believed I had all the time in the world – there was. And now, if I feel rushed or like I am going to be late, I remind myself that I have all the time in the world and I’m always on time and have enough time. You can read more here.

Organise your time

Lessons I have learned from working from homeHaving one long to do list and looking at it through the day made me anxious. It was overwhelming looking at this long laundry list of things I had to make happen. So I changed.

I tried having a number of notebooks for different tasks. I felt like I was juggling things and then tasks fell through the cracks and were missed. Not on!

I ended up setting up a bullet journal with my core business mission, strategies, client avatar and all the other items I need to steer my work. Then I have a set of calendar views; 12-month, monthly, and weekly. These allow me to have various levels of oversight into what I’m doing and when.

For those of you who have to produce social media content, I set up a 12-month content plan which ties monthly activities and promotions to content.

Then, I have my Google Calendar & my phone. These are the ones that are time-sensitive, like appointments. Sadly a hardbacked diary will only ensure that I’m on time if someone throws it at me at intervals and tells me when it’s due.

Getting structured with my time has meant that I can be flexible with how I spend it but also allows me to account for it. Just like my money!

Get moving

When I’m working from home, I fall into the trap of getting in the zone and working continuously without taking a break. Don’t get me wrong, I just love it when it all flows but to be honest, it’s not always healthy.

I try to make sure that I at least eat my lunch outside, preferably in the sun. Stepping away from the desk is healthy for our minds and body and sunshine helps us stay healthy.

I also have a drink bottle which is under 1L. This is a cunning move to make sure I get up and walk to refill it. It’s all too easy to sit still for ages and drink, but I can find the motivation to get up and move harder. A smaller drink bottle helps.

Rewards when working from home

Congratulations, you met a milestone. How are you planning on celebrating it? Or did you not even consider that? Employees still need rewards and recognition for hard work, regardless if they are inhouse or remote. Targets are targets regardless of where staff are.

Self-employed? Well, I hope you set milestones and rewards already. You should! You’re just as deserving.

Have a think and a chat with your team to see how you can work it into the corporate structure.

I want to remind you that rewards don’t have to be big or costly. It can be grabbing a coffee for getting that difficult email written. It can be putting aside some of your pay for a massage.

It took me a long time to do this. I didn’t think that I could. Then I realized that the biggest thing I valued was time alone, ironic huh! My favourite reward isn’t a massage or pedicure, even though they are 2 of my rewards, it’s actually a day off. I value time alone where I don’t have to work. I enjoy the solitude. It needs to be a priority though. Don’t let your rewards slip.

Set reasonable expectations

What have I learned from working from homeThere’s a saying that goes, “we overestimate what we can do in a year and underestimate what we can do in a decade”. Part of what had me working until all hours was unrealistic expectations. I had set them on myself and then allowed my clients to control them with the deadlines I said were reasonable. Sure there is no travel time and often fewer distractions, meaning that we can be more productive. But that doesn’t make the expectations realistic just because you’re at home. You still have conflicting priorities and urgent deadlines.

Go easy on yourself. Some people will think that being at home is easy and if you’re like me you won’t want to let them down and will work harder. Go easy on yourself. You don’t always have to prove that you can work better than someone inhouse just because you’re at home. If you, for some reasons, don’t meet the expectations. Realise that you too are allowed to get the amount of time it would have taken wrong as much as someone inhouse.

Also realise that those people who drop in, call, or chat are taking up your time and you also have to set boundaries and expectations for them around your time when you are working from home. Just because you’re home, doesn’t mean you are available.


Working from home has given me incredible flexibility. I first did it when I was studying my Masters, working fulltime, and set up my first business. Yes, I could do that load of washing. Yes, I could pick the kids up from school or attend their functions. Yes, I had to be more mindful of my time. Yes, I got more work done than I would have if I were in the office. I suppose what I want to let you know is that the ability to work from home is a privilege which comes with responsibilities but the rewards are amazing.

If you’d like a chat, then head over here and let’s grab a coffee.


what I have learnt form 9 years of working from home

Motivate your clients – The one thing you’re missing to drive client behaviour

Watch and learn how to drive your clients to do the behaviours you need for your business to succeed.




I’m often asked the best way to connect with clients. How to drive the client behaviour you need to succeed. You know, how to build that know, like and trust. How to get them onboard so they’ll buy. How to engage clients. I find business owners make one common error and that they’re missing the one secret I see, from a psychology point of view and as a business coach

What do I mean by what drives clients’ behaviour?

Let’s go back to basics and look at some scenarios.  By breaking the communication with the client down into 3 parts:

I/the business (Person A) need

Insert person doing the thing I need and in this case it’s the client (Person B)

To do (insert thing X that I need).

It looks kind of like this:

For my business (Person A) to succeed I need more clients (Person B) to opt in to my funnel (thing X).

For my business (Person A) to succeed I need my clients (Person B) to buy (thing X).

For my business (Person A) to succeed I need my clients (Person B) need to click on my ad (thing x).

So where do business owners go wrong when they are trying to connect with and drive their client to do the thing that the business needs to succeed. Well, I find business owners focus on two things…

It’s all about them “I, I, I” or
It’s all about the thing they want “sales, leads, sign ups, opt ins…”

So where is driving the results going wrong?

I mean, what is wrong with focusing on what you need, either it being all about your business or all about the thing you need to succeed? Surely that’s what makes a business successful – focus, drive, determination. Right?

What tends to happen is that businesses then fall in to two camps –

they are focused all on themselves/the business and their success – Person A (Kind of like Daffy Duck hoarding stuff in cartoons)


They are focused all on thing X that they want to happen.

And then they feel like a failure, I didn’t make enough sales or conversions or blame and point fingers when they don’t get what they want.

It was the wrong target market, it was the wrong targeting, ads don’t work, video doesn’t work. All may be quite valid points but…

Thing is they’ve skipped over the key element to making thing X actually occur.

Person B

You see, without Person B doing thing X it was never going to succeed.

Without clients opting in, you won’t get them in the funnel.

With out your clients clicking to buy, you don’t make the sale.

Without your clients clicking on the ad, the ad doesn’t work.

It’s the actions of Person B which make x happen. It doesn’t matter that thing x exists or that Person A wants it to occur. Without Person B taking action, X never happens.

So what makes Person B do what the business needs to succeed?

What gets person B to do what you need them to do. You need to understand what drives them.

Let’s get inside their head – but first, I want to bust a business myth.

If you believe that offering discounts, special offers or giving them funky gifts or fantastic entitlements is key to capturing a sale, you’re mistaken and at a hiding to discounting yourself out of business. It’s commonly known and understood by psychologists that these things are really poor drivers of behavior. These external drivers are really poor at getting us to do things, over time they become expected and just aren’t enough and to be honest, any business can buy your clients off of you – for the right price. And that costs your business handsomely. Do you know how much it costs your business to acquire a new customer?

So it’s cheaper to keep them happy and keep them coming back and doing thing x for you.

So how do you do that in business?

We humans are social beings. We like to feel part of something bigger than ourselves. We love to be part of a tribe. We love to feel heard and understood. The thing is that we are generally time poor and if we have fill in the gaps or blanks in your marketing, we will use our memory bank of solutions or options to fill them.

What does that look like between a business and a client?

Regardless of who Person B is– we all have these key drivers which which drive our behavior.

Understanding these will allow you to include them in any communication you have, address any concerns, and grow trust.

So what are these drivers of client behaviour?

I have identified 5 key drivers of our behavior (and yes these apply equally to Person A and Person B). They are:
– Fears
– Needs
– Values
– Goals

But you can’t cherry pick and start at the top. You have to address Person B’s fears and needs first before appealing to their values, beliefs or goals.

I’m going to link an article that goes into greater depth. (Click Here)

The benefit of using these drivers is that Person B will feel heard, understood, and valued. By telling them you understand their fears and needs, they don’t have to guess how your product or service will address these – they already know! No gaps or guesswork here.

So what you have is a client who is happier because they feel valued, a client who has some questions or concerns answered, and a client who is closer to buying from you.

What did you have to do?

Understand what drives them and tell them that you’ve been listening and that’s how you help.

So how do you work this out?

While you could survey your clients, the quickest and easiest way to work this out is to go to your testimonials and use exactly what they tell you. How you solved their problems, what they were, and how they felt afterwards. Use their words too, they understand those better than any spin doctoring you could do.

Leave a comment below with which one drives your clients more: fears, needs, beliefs, values, or goals

Christmas marketing

Why your social media marketing shouldn’t be like a Christmas present… Christmas has come and gone, the tree is away, and businesses are getting back into it. But customers are seeing the same old same old marketing. It’s like the businesses they follow are like some elderly Aunt who, with their heart in the right place, gives you the crappiest Christmas present that only they could possibly like.

What is Christmas Marketing?

You know the story. You’ve not since Aunt Mabel since last Christmas and once again you’ve got the same present and it’s precisely what Aunt Mabel would love to receive or would choose for herself. In fact, if you listened to the self-talk it would go something like this:
“If I were little Johnny I’d love to receive a present like this”.

Here’s the thing, most business social media markeitng is written with the same talk:
“If I were little Johnny, I’d love to see/know about this.”

Truth be told, little Johnny or Jenny, actually doesn’t like it because Aunt Mabel actually doesn’t take the time to listen to little Johnny and find out what they like and need. Aunt Mabel is so stuck in Aunt Mabel that she can’t see the needs of others around her.

Sound about right?


What’s wrong with Christmas Marketing?

Too often business social media marketing focuses on the message that the business wants to convey rather than what the client wants to hear. They assume that because they think it’s brilliant news that everyone else will think the same too.

But like Johnny & Aunt Mabel, clients and businesses are at different stages in their life and have different pressures, needs, and expectations. Telling them what you want them to hear or what you’d like to know doesn’t help them. (And therefore doesn’t help you)

Some businesses will tell you that so long as you know your avatar you are fine. Sure, but it’s more than knowing their “vital statistics” or demographics. If you actually want them to do something with your posts, to interact, engage, or click through and buy/book (all technically called engagement). Then you need to understand what makes them engage.

How to fix your Christmas Marketing!

A few years ago I wrote this blog and developed this handout on how to engage your audience online. I took some hard core research by psychologists and turned it into plain English steps. What it came down to, other than what businesses currently do of “giving them an incentive” and “telling them to do something”, the big tip for engaging online was to “appeal to their self-image”.

So don’t be an Aunt Mabel and appeal to your own self-image in your marketing. Appeal to what your audience actually tells you what they want for Christmas (or any time of year). You’ll find out how in the download.

Why social media for business

So what are the latest tales of woe you have heard about social media and business? I usually hear, “Facebook Reach is dead”. I’ve heard, “They’ve changed the way posts appear on Facebook”. I’ve heard, “Twitter wants to allow us to edit tweets”. I’ve heard tales of woe about IGTV and stories. I’ve heard grumbles about the increased use of video on LinkedIn. They all complain of the same thing, social media isn’t working for us any more – it’s the technology’s fault.

Hang on just one minute! Have you heard the saying, ‘A bad tradesman always blames his tools’? Sure these platforms are free and we get what we are given. But did you ever stop to think that it’s also a matter of we get what we give?

Here are some other things I’ve heard non-business owners say about social media lately. “I went to restaurant XYZ’s Facebook page, they hadn’t posted in 18 months. I wonder if they’re still around?” “Why am I just seeing ads, I can’t see my friends?” “I always feel like they’re after my money” “I know I saw it here somewhere *scrolls endlessly* but I can’t seem to find it, it was really good but I’ve forgotten where it was from” Think about your time on social media personally, what do you think and say?

Now think again.

Why is your business on social media?

Is it to sell to a person? Yes

Is it to gain new customers (people)? Yes

Is it to educate people about your business so they will either buy from or recommend you? I’d hope so

When you look at these three questions the central theme is PEOPLE. This is ‘why’ businesses get on social media.

Somewhere we’ve lost track of this and focused on the ‘how’. The how being the social media platform.

But there are so many “hows” out there and they change. The why remains the constant.

Simon Sinek tells us to start with why.

Why not focus your social media efforts there first.

Why does the person you want to buy what you’re selling use one social media platform over another?

Why do they use social media at all?

Why would they choose you over any other business and not just your competitors? Why should they spend $20 with you rather than spending $20 on their pet/child/partner?

To reduce customers to numbers, even social media ones, is to turn them into conquests on a bedhead. We are not numbers nor are we conquests. We are people. Just like you.

The skill in this is realising this has nothing to do with you and your business and everything to do with the customer and their “why”. Do not make this about you, remember that you do not have to convince you to buy from you. So make it about them.


Not sure how to do that?

You can read this article.
You can download this free checklist.
You can book a FREE 30 minute strategy session.
You can sign up for my Organic Facebook System and achieve it all in your own time. 
Or if you want something more personalised, we can work one on one in a deep training to help you connect &engage with your client on social media.

What is human-centred social media?

Over the past six months I’ve attended a few social media conferences and there’s one consistent trend – human-centered social media. Now, if you’ve been following me for a while, you will know that this is actually nothing new to me. In fact, I first wrote about this back in 2014. I have to be honest, I didn’t think I was that much of a ground-breaker and I hoped that it would take less time for the idea to filter through. Clearly I was wrong. Anyway, what is human-centred social media and why should we care?

Human-centred social media is more than benefits and WIIFM

Guy Kawasaki quote human centred social media Kara Lambert social media marketing coach psychologySay what now? Ok, so some of you might be surprised and others will be scratching your head wondering what I mean and some will be high five-ing me. Let’s start with those scratching their heads.

WIIFM, or what’s in it for me, is the principle of perspective taking and looking at what the client gets out of the transaction. Benefits are a business looking at the features of their offer and telling clients what they will get out of it. It’s essentially two sides of the same coin. However there is no guarantee that they will match or align in any way.

I have to be honest there are two main flaws in this approach:

  • Who has time to assess benefits against needs as a customer?
  • It seems a little shallow.

The vast majority of the time I hear this, businesses will talk about outcomes and benefits. I really don’t believe that’s putting the client at the centre of their social media, I feel they are putting their offer at the centre. As clients, there is so much more that drives our decision making than outcomes and benefits and in fact, there are a lot of things which go into these alone.

As a customer, when presented with a list of benefits, I still have to match them with what I want to achieve or what I want. I’m still trying to work out if the offer is the right fit for me. I’m not at the centre of this transaction.

At this point, some of you might think that this is awfully self-centred of me. But stop and think for a moment whose money you’re trying to acquire. It’s the customers. Do you want to raise doubt in their mind? Do you want to make it hard for them to part with their money? Then it also raises the question of how you even come to understand them anyway???

Personally, human-centred anything comes back to putting the following at the centre: what drives us to do what we do, know what we want, make a decision, spend money, like/comment/share. I believe that human-centred social media is more than what we are being told it is. In fact, I know that it’s more than what we are being told because there is a whole heap of psychology which drives what we define as a benefit or ‘what’s in it for me’.

Matt Goulart Quote human centred social media Kara Lambert social media marketing coach psychologyI want human-centered business practices, not just social media, to be a strategic focus. I firmly believe that it’s good business practice and not just some fluffy feel good add on or differentiator. We rely so much on people, people power, and goodwill. The thing is, I believe that taking the approach I advocate is a strategic focus as it looks at people at their base level, their psychology and their motivators.

I believe it’s time to move social media marketing away from a focus on the platform and the tools, to the person you’re aiming for who is using the social media. This is human-centred social media. By focusing on the person, the platform becomes somewhat irrelevant. By focusing on the person, we can address them the same way across platforms. By focusing on the person, we can continue conversations more fluidly between platforms and off of them. By focusing on the person, we reduce the overwhelm felt by business owners trying to understand the platforms. By focusing on the person, our message becomes clear. By focusing on the person, they feel understood. By focusing on the person, they don’t have to guess how we serve them. By focusing on the person, they are more closely aligned with our brand. By focusing on the person, they are more engaged. By focusing on the person, they are happier with the service they receive. By focusing on the person, they are more likely to buy from us. By focusing on the person, we grow raving fans.

How do I define human-centred social media? I define it by looking at what motivates us. I believe that there are five key motivators of any and all human behaviour. I’ve put together this 30 minute training package which outlines precisely what these motivators are and from there you can use them in your human-centered marketing to align and motivate your clients to action. You can purchase access to the training through the online shop. If you have any questions or would like to interview me on this, please contact me via email at

Swimming in a blue ocean

For those familiar with the book “Blue Ocean Strategy” by Kim & Mauborgne, you will know what I’m talking about. For those who haven’t read the book, and I have and it’s a slog, a blue ocean is where you are out in a new marketplace/industry. Think of Uber vs taxis and when self-check in came in on flights vs heading to a counter. It’s revolutionising an industry with a new way of delivering the same outcome. I don’t want to regurgitate the book, what I want to chat about is what it’s like to be swimming in a blue ocean, because that’s where I am.

Back in 2014, or sometime before then, it became clear to me that Facebook had psychologists on staff and that they were using social psychology principles on their platform; and I wrote about it. I wasn’t working as a social media coach or consultant then, in fact I was working as a proof reader but I had my qualifications and I was managing 2 of my own Facebook pages. So the psychology of social media was a side interest. The following year I wrote about it more and by then I’d started coaching on some ideas around how to leveraging how psychology works on social media.

I was full of self-doubt about whether niching myself to the psychology of social media was the right thing to do. I turned to a business coach who told me not to speak about psychology because it would just confuse my followers. Try as I might, I just couldn’t. I had to be genuine and transparent to my audience that this was what sat behind it all. That this wasn’t just some other cock & bull, get rich quick scheme and that it was solid science. So I stayed true to me and told my truth my way.

By the middle of 2016 it was clear to me that I was alone in teaching Facebook this way and I got scared.

I was plagued by comparison-itis, where I constantly checked in with what my competitors were doing. It was awful. It filled me with such self-doubt! They were doing so much more. They had more clients. They were successful and I wasn’t. They were making money and I wasn’t. I sucked! Or so I believed.

I told myself that it was ok, I was a relatively new business and it was just the fact that people didn’t know me and that it takes 7 years for a business to really take off. But my competitors weren’t 7 yet either?! I looked at their messages and saw glaring holes in what they were teaching. I saw the same bad advice being passed around by various coaches. Heck, I even got on a webinar on how to be a social media coach to be told, “all you need to do is follow Social Media Examiner and you can do this”! I was a failure!

I have to be honest, up until 2016, I had a constant internal battle between the pull of having to teach people what I saw about psychological theories being manipulated and used on social media platforms and the need to get a J.O.B to help pay the bills. The pull to expose and teach the truth was too strong and the needs of my family came first. I kept treading water in my blue ocean.

Now I’ve told you that in 2017 I hired a business coach, not the one I mentioned earlier. Now one session I was in tears over this and she told me that I had to let go of the shore to cross the sea. I had to stop looking at competitors, stop worrying that what I was doing was different, stop trying to sell what I think my clients wanted but didn’t align with the path I needed to take in my blue ocean. So I let go and swam, not drifted, deep into my blue ocean.

It was lonely.

It was stormy.

Occasionally I saw a distant boat or shore (customer).

But I was living my blue ocean, true to myself and my message.

Here’s the thing. The blue ocean is exactly this. Nothing worth doing is ever easy! When you’re out sailing, all alone, no landmarks, out in the middle of the ocean, you’ve got to set your course and stick to it.


The other thing to remember and to research is diffusion of innovation theory by E.M. Rogers. The theory sits that until you have at least 16% reach into your marketplace, you will be in the blue ocean. That doesn’t mean that your idea or market isn’t worthwhile, it just means that they’re not ready for you.

You have to be patient and persevere. It pays off. The world will catch up to you or your market saturation will hit 17% and it will start to tip and like a boat with wind in its sails, you will take off.

You will take off, at first it might be a small breeze, but it will make those landmarks close in & that is good. I am taking off, unfortunately it has been as a result of some pretty shocking revelations around Facebook & Cambridge Analytica, all the same I am grateful that these things have opened people‘s eyes to the fact that psychology is part of social media. It has meant that I have needed to speak on how this can be done ethically and I worry that when the majority marketers catch on that there will be a flood of them teaching the psychology of social media without truly understanding the mechanism or more importantly that they are talking about people and not technology. I can see that this will become my new blue ocean, but that’s ok as I’ve now become accustomed to being alone & I’m ok with that.

To hear more about how businesses have succeeded, or failed, because of the law of diffusion of innovation, I suggest watching this video from Simon Sinek.

Fear marketing

The other day I sat down with a group of business owners and a number of them said to me that they had an issue with marketing to their customers’ fears. They said that they had paid for marketing advice and been told to market to their ideal client’s fears. But they didn’t like it and in fact, they no longer used that advice. Sound familiar.

This is what annoys me. There is so much information out there which we throw by the wayside but believe it to be true because everyone says it. It’s like learning lemmings. (My Mum would say, if everyone jumped off a cliff would you too?) Ok, so that’s a little harsh but it seems like a big waste of money to pay for advice and not use it because you’re not comfortable with it.

Let’s consider a couple of scenarios.

My toaster broke and I am looking to replace it. Will fear help me in my decision? Generally not. It would be things around the colour, cost, shape, size, how many slices, and if it will toast the tops of my crumpets without burning the bottom. (Boy did I make a poor choice on my last toaster)

I’m looking for a business coach to grow my business. Will fear help my decision? Maybe. In the main though I want to know if our personalities match, if they have had past success, and if they coach how I like to learn. (I made a good choice here)

My kids need to see a physiotherapist. (True story and we found a great one) Will fear help my decision? As a parent, I have enough guilt and if someone tries to tap into my Mummy guilt I’m thinking it’s a low blow. I want to know that they can & will treat kids, they are the best in the area, that their expertise meets my child’s needs, and that my health fund will come to the party in some way.

It’s like saying the only way to motivate a donkey is with a stick and forgetting all about the carrot.

Where does fear sit in my stories? They don’t. I’m pretty confident that I’m not unique in these (especially the toaster one) reasons for making a particular choice. I have to be honest, even the fear of missing out (FOMO) is having less of an effect on people as it is more widely used and people realise that it’s generally fake.

So why fear? It is primordial. It drives our fight or flight reaction, triggering some strong neurochemicals (love that adrenaline kick). It’s what we’ve always done.

I want to crush this as I am tired of business owners being told that things are just one way (Ask me what I think about client avatars) and realising that it just doesn’t resonate personally, fit or work for their business. People are not two-dimensional. We are not motivated by our fears alone, just as what we are is not the only way to define us.

I believe, and teach, that there are five key motivators of human behaviour (on and off line). One of the motivators is fear. Looking into the research, fear is actually a poor motivator. If you use fear to motivate someone, they will comply and follow, they are not making a choice and they are not using their free will. It is also not the way to build trust or grow a relationship. Fear is not an incentive to take action, it’s an incentive not to. Fear is there to keep us safe.

So what I want, if you’ve been told to use fear in your marketing but just can’t seem to do it – I want to applaud you. You’ve made the right decision, to follow your instincts, to listen to your clients, to stick with your values, and to honour yourself. If you’re not there yet and are trying to make it work because you’ve paid for this advice and damn it you will make it work – I give you permission to stop using fear to motivate your clients. If you believe that fear is a great motivator for your clients, I want you to consider how much they trust you and to think about the carrot.

I teach five key motivators to human behaviour. People are multi-faceted and we need to honour that and to meet our clients where they are and not just beat them into submission. If you’d like to learn more, search ‘psychology’ here on the blog or email me at .

Ethics, Psychology, Facebook & Cambridge Analytica

Cambridge Analytica has brought to light the ethics of understanding the data which sits behind Facebook. It has made people aware that Facebook employs psychologists to help them optomise the platform. It has made people nervous. I had intended to write on how data mining is nothing new and that the #deletefacebook phenomenon only scratches the surface and that the sale and scraping of data is rife across the internet. I decided against it. I want to talk about something I fight with most of the time doing what I do.

The ethical use of the psychology behind social media, particularly Facebook.

Back in June 2014 I wrote about some research Facebook participated in. The thing is that the research was conducted in 2012 and I remember being part of it. People’s newsfeeds were altered to see either predominantly positive or negative posts and they measured their reactions and the posts they wrote to see if there was a relationship between the posts you saw and the posts you wrote. There was & you can read what I wrote here.

I can’t exactly remember when I first realised that Facebook had Psychologists on the payroll. I think it was around the time the research was conducted. It made perfect sense to me. It was a social media network and the laws of social psychology seemed to fit perfectly with what I saw.

Through the years, my Psychology Degree has come in handy. It has helped me as a mother. It has helped me through trauma. It has helped me through grief. It has helped me connect with Veterans and the Veteran community in my 12 years of working with them. It helped me in my time supporting the research functions of Veterans’ Affairs. The one place I never thought it would help me was when I moved to helping businesses with social media. Boy was I wrong & I quickly changed my opinion.

I have been on Facebook since 2009 and in that time how I use the platform has changed. I’ve moved from it being purely social to it also being a business tool. I have to admit, there was a time a few years ago where my friends and family couldn’t grasp how I used it as a business tool, but I stuck with it. I could objectively see the platform as a way to connect with clients (this was before ads started).

So what have I learnt about Facebook in the intervening years and how does that apply to psychology and ethical psychology?

I admit, there are times where I feel a little uneasy knowing what I do. The thing is – I’m not alone. When you understand a mechanism behind something and you can project what will happen, it’s like being able to see into the future or predict it and it can be unsettling. Just ask a doctor who is faced with a family member’s terminal diagnosis, it’s sickening to be able to see what will happen before it does. (I’ve been there and it’s the same feeling)

So what do you do? Do you hide what you know and pretend to be ignorant? Do you use your knowledge to help yourself? Do you use your knowledge to help others? All the while knowing that the state of affairs will march forward regardless of what you do.

So I help others.

I can see where things are headed. I can see the social psychology at play. I can understand what happens to our brains when we’re online. I can see the motivators. I also know that I am not the only one who sees them, but I know I’m one of the few who understands why & how they work not just that they work.

Some would say that I should try and stop the use of psychology in social media. It’s too late and it’s innate. We bring these principles to a situation regardless of if there is someone gamifying it. As humans, we have a set of social constructs and norms we adhere to when we are in a group. Social media is no different, they’ve just created new layers where previous constructs never met.

So if I can’t beat them, join them?

No, that’s not my style. I’m not one to have knowledge and not share it. Could that be considered profiteering? I suppose, but if you’re part of my Facebook Group you’d know that’s not the case. That and I don’t believe it’s any more a case of profiteering than seeing a counsellor for any other mental health scenario.

Can you help people to understand the psychology of social media ethically?

Well of course I’d like to think so but let me tell you the premise behind what I teach.

I know that we come to situations with a set of motivators.
I believe that customers want to feel heard, just like anyone with a problem/issue/need.
I know that our brain chemistry changes using social media, I will teach you why so you are more aware of your behaviour online.
I understand the psychology that underpins each of these and I am determined to share this knowledge with business owners so that they can create better relationships with their clients.

If you would like to know more of what I do, please send me an email to or we can organise a time to chat.

Write engaging content customers want to respond to

“Kara! How do I get more likes comments or shares on my Facebook?” This is one of the most commonly asked questions I receive. Essentially, how do I increase Facebook engagement? Most people ask about Facebook engagement because that’s where they hang out. On occasion I’m asked about Instagram engagement and that’s generally the same answer. (And it’s not, I don’t know)

My usual response to wanting increased engagement is the following:

People want to be educated, entertained, or inspired. Do that and ask for the engagement.

Sadly, most businesses are still in the ‘buy my shit’, ‘we are so great’, ‘share and win’ mentality. Now, I maintain that part of that is not knowing any different and part of it is old school marketing in new school technology. The thing is that some business owners are looking for more information on how to improve and they are following, reading, and studying – which is great – but it generally leads to more of the same.

So what have I done differently about engaging social media content?

Anyone who knows me well will know I’ve looked at some research. That’s my thing. I want to know the why behind things. And of course, it’s some psychological research because – PEOPLE.

I will keep coming back to that point again and again.

Social media is a tool to PEOPLE use to connect.

Sadly, I feel businesses are lost in the technology and have lost sight of the people actually using the technology.

So let’s start with the people and how they see brand content

The information in this article is taken from research by Ashley & Tuten (2015) and their analysis of previous research and study of the top 100 branded companies according to Interbrand’s Best Global Brand survey.

The research looked at why consumers use social media. By and large, we use social media to build ‘social capital’, feel better, and communicate to meet our need to be sociable.  The team go on to say that our need to communicate falls into 3 categories: around a topic, around a relationship, and around ourselves. Studies have shown that on Facebook, consumers use Facebook to ‘consciously portray images about themselves’.

The other thing that they discovered was that when a ‘consumer’s knowledge about a brand increases (through social media) so does the emotional attachment to the brand’ and this is regardless to the type of content a brand posts on social media.

However, they mention that engagement is dependent on the consumer’s needs, motives & goals. Their engagement is important as consumers are not on social media just to absorb information, they’re also there to be educated, entertained, or inspired. Unfortunately, brands suffer if the consumer believes that the relationship is one-sided or if it does something that does not match how the consumer sees them and the brand’s identity.

What makes good engaging content?

Consumers can engage with content which falls into one of five categories: values, resources, time/geography, impact, and their goal for engagement (what they want out of a brand). Most of the time, content delivered by brands is ‘form’ or what the service or product is.

Researchers found that consumer values driven content works best for emotionally driven purchases  and for consumers who do not, currently, have a strong relationship with the brand. This content could also be considered as image-driven, where brands meet the desired image of their consumers. This matches where I say that customers use social media to be inspired and relies on a deep understanding of customer values.

This emotional content was also found to be more likely to give an emotional reaction. In Facebook, that would mean that this content would be more likely to receive a Reaction (like, laugh, heart etc) rather than a comment or a share.

On the other end, researchers have found that ‘cognitive engagement’ and ‘functional’ posts, the responses which take a bit more thinking, are related to logical or problem-focused situations and will have a greater impact on consumers who have a closer and more interactive relationship with a brand.

It was interesting to read that consumers were more tolerant of advertising that appeared in games online than they were to ads which appeared on social media. For businesses using the Facebook Ads platform, my suggestion is to include ‘Audience Network’ when setting the placement for the ad.

When looking at the research around Facebook, researchers found that there were only 3 post types which truly drove engagement: image, exclusivity, and incentive. Based on the information above, it means that businesses need to have more posts that align with the values and image the consumer wants to portray on Facebook, that they value exclusivity and they want to receive some incentive to engage on Facebook. The researchers point out that this matches the overall culture of Facebook with our sanitised profiles, desire to have something someone else doesn’t/be the first, and ‘share to win’. A word of warning, remember that it needs balance and that consumers are put off if they feel the relationship is one sided; for example you will lose them if all you post is ‘share to win’, not to mention that you’ll attract people who want freebies.

As stated earlier, researchers found that the functional posts are the most common on social media. They found that these were also the least effective and had no impact on a brand’s social media performance. The most effective posts for engagement were ‘entertainment’ style content.

What does it mean for businesses wanting engaging content?

What this research boils down to is:

Of the three reasons I’ve identified for consumer social media use, entertainment and then inspiration are the most effective post types to drive engagement. Informative posts receive the least engagement.

When developing the inspirational (image driven) posts, businesses need to address and align themselves with their consumer’s values to ensure engagement.

I would add a third point, specific to Facebook, when looking to increase your engagement on Facebook businesses need to consider and leverage the Facebook Algorithm as this is what drives what content  a consumer actually sees in their Newsfeed and then use the above-mentioned content tips to write the engaging content.

Click on the image below to download my checklist for engaged Facebook Posts.


Facebook Explore and the Facebook Algorithm

There is a buzz around Facebook Groups about the roll out of the Facebook Explore feature and how it will kill organic reach in the Facebook Algorithm. If you haven’t heard what the buzz is all about you can read Facebook’s overview here.

What is Facebook Explore?

The thing is that Facebook Explore, at time of writing, is actually two separate things!

The one that people are all up in arms about is that Facebook Explore will take page posts and put it in a separate feed to friends and family posts. This is just a TEST! It is a test in a set of 6 developing countries and is NOT guaranteed to be rolled out.

How do I know this? Well other than the fact that Facebook say it, I’ve experienced something similar.


I am a Facebook Beta Tester, that means that I will generally have a different version (a test version) to the general Facebook User. In fact, at the start of 2016 I tested a categorised news feed where personal posts and pages were separated.

This is what I saw when I went to post on my personal profile. The ability to categorise my posts. The posts then appeared in tabs that were located across the bottom of the screen (unfortunately I don’t have a screenshot of this). Here’s the thing, there was still a Newsfeed and these categorised tabs also included posts from relevant Pages that I hadn’t liked.

Now as a Beta Tester, I am encouraged to provide feedback and I told Facebook that although I didn’t like the Categorised tabs, I did like having new (and relevant) Pages shown to me. So you can sort of blame me if you like.

What does this mean for the Facebook Explore rollout?

Facebook have said that you will still have your normal Newsfeed of friends, groups, and pages – all mixed in together. You will ALSO have a tab where you will see the posts of relevant pages the Algorithm believes you would like to ‘Like’.

Quote taken from Facebook’s announcement 23/10/17

That’s it, no segregation of page and friend. Just an opportunity to add to those pages we like (as if we need that help).

What does Facebook Explore mean for the Facebook Algorithm?

Yes, they need to change the Algorithm. No, no one but Facebook truly knows what’s in it. They have to change the Algorithm purely to populate the Explore tab. It’s that simple. There’s no one person or team of people in Facebook physically moving Pages into your Explore tab and another for me. It’s controlled by AN algorithm.

Does Facebook Explore mean the death of Organic Facebook Page Reach?

Honestly no one can say, other than Facebook. Here’s my take on it as a specialist on Organic Facebook.

Boring posts and pages kill organic Facebook Reach. 

The Facebook Algorithm, as broadly understood by the community is a function of how many people like, comment or share a post, how often you do it, how often your friends do it, and how close you are to your friends. (In the main)

So what is at the core of the Algorithm? People’s reaction to the content YOU publish. So if your content is not relevant to them, doesn’t engage them, then they are not going to react to it and so it will not trigger the Facebook Algorithm. It’s not the Algorithm hiding your content, it’s your inability to engage your audience.

I know that sounds harsh, but when you think critically about how we understand the Algorithm and what drives it, you come to this conclusion that it’s a human reaction to what they see.

So how do you achieve good Organic Reach and be seen on Facebook Explore?

At the core, you need to understand your target audience and you need to explain to them, up front, how you solve their problems and how you can relate to them. We are, at our core, hard-wired for these connections and to solve problems.

This is where I bring in my qualifications in Psychology, over a decade of developing user-centric online content, and seven years of successful Facebook Page ownership and management.

I always bring it back to understanding your target audience and targeting them.

If you’d like to learn my secrets, sign up for the waitlist for my Organic Facebook Course and have the knowledge which saw me ride out all Algorithm changes.

What this comes down to is businesses knowing that they need to be on Facebook but forgetting that it’s merely the medium, they are the ones who have to deliver the content which drives a Facebook user to action.


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