Which is the correct way to bathe? Standing in a shower or sitting in a tub?
We’ll answer at the end of this article. But it’s hot button topics like that one which gets people talking and interacting online. And hot button topics are just the thing you need for a boost in your online social marketing.
But why do these topics get people talking and sharing? And how do you take advantage of controversy without destroying your brand’s reputation?
In the next few paragraphs, we’re going to pull back the veil on hot button topic and how you can use them in your marketing campaigns.
Emotional Reactions on Facebook
The internet runs on emotions. We could almost say that’s a literal statement. Which is kind of scary if you think about it.
Back in 2014, Facebook got caught doing some naughty things. We are playing with our emotions just to see what would happen.
The response blew up the internet! Privacy activists took to the Twittersphere in droves ranting and raving about Facebook’s apparent lack of ethical rationale. And never never apologized for their supposed mistake.
Why did not Facebook apologize? Because they know that at the end of the day everybody will keep using Facebook.
Two questions naturally spring from this news. Why did Facebook experiment with people’s emotions? And why did they even tell anyone?
Facebook’s ad revenue depends on how many people use their services. The longer they are on Facebook, the more they are on.
So, figuring out what makes people tick is a natural and necessary part of running an ad run service like Facebook.
But Facebook can have done that without telling anybody. They had no obligation to tell their customers what they were up to.
But they told the whole world. Why? Because controversy sells.
Facebook created their own hot button topic. And it worked. Where did people go to complain about Facebook?
Yeah, some went to Twitter. But a whole lot of people ironically took to Facebook to complain about Facebook.
And Facebook summarily racked in the cash.
But Why Does This Happen?
Why do we so readily respond to situations like these in such an explosive manner? It all has to do with the brain’s reward center, the nucleus accumbens.
This is the area of the brain that gives us the rewarding feelings when we eat good food, have good sex, make money, or gain social acceptance.
It’s a way in which our brain tells our body to survive. But in the contemporary world, we tend to abuse this survival mechanism. And this abuse is called addiction.
When we get addicted to something, it’s because we’re replacing something else in our lives. When you’re addicted to alcohol and drugs, you’re filling the role of good social relationships with alcohol. They give you the same feelings.
Facebook is like alcohol. It gives you those good feelings that normal social experiences give. When you post something and get your likes or comments your brain rewards you.
When you brain rewards with feel-good chemicals (hormones), you want more feel-good chemicals. So, you go back to social media for more. It’s what we call a feedback loop.
How to Use Hot Button Topics for Marketing
Hot topic buttons feed into the social media addiction feedback loop. The more exciting and controversial a topic, the more people get emotional. And emotions are directly linked to the reward center in our brains.
You can use these hot topic buttons to your advantage in social media marketing. But how?
There are two kinds of hot button topics. There are the aversion hot button topics and attraction hot button topics.
Hot button topics are things your audience or potential customers are interested in. And as a marketer, your goal is to fill some need in the customer’s life. We call this need the pain point.
The aversion hot button topic is controversies that highlight the pain point. These are things you want to get away from.
The attraction hot button topics are controversial things your potential customers want. These are things that will solve their pain point problem.
So, you essentially have to decide how you are going to approach the hot button topic. How are you going to press your customer’s buttons (like Facebook did in 2014).
For example, if you’re a water filtration company, you can bring up all too controversial problem in Flint, Michigan where their water has not been so healthy. This would be an aversion hot button topic.
Get people thinking about your problems and you ‘ll soon have people wanting solutions. These are solutions you offer.