The Cheerleader Effect: Why Social Media Groups Make You More Appealing

The Cheerleader Effect
You can use The Cheerleader Effect to improve your social media marketing.

The Cheerleader Effect occurs when a person is perceived to be more attract in a group than when they’re alone.

You’ve probably seen the effect mentioned in films and on TV. But now it seems that there is scientific evidence that supports the effect.

In the study, both men and women were shown alone and with groups. Individuals were perceived more attract when they were part of a group. It was a small difference, but a noticeable one.

What does this have to do with online marketing and social media?

The online marketing landscape is incredibly competitive. You need every edge you can get to stand out an attract your target audience. You can use the findings in the study about The Cheerleader Effect to your advantage.

Here’s how…

Step 1: Find Complementary Businesses

You can do social media marketing on your own and have success, but if you’re looking for that edge you can get it by finding complementary businesses and associating with them.

You’ll be appealing on your own if you provide valuable content on your social accounts, but to stand out as a brand, your audience needs something to compare you with.

A complementary business is one that is not a competitor, but one that offers something complementary to your product or service.

A wedding cake baker and a wedding invite maker are complementary businesses. They don’t compete against each other, but they share the same target customer. They can work together in many ways to help each other and together they can be more appealing.

A marketing software company and a marketing consultant are complementary. They share the same customer. And they can help each other to get more business in various ways. And they can make each other more appealing.

If you can’t think of complementary businesses for your brand, go to your competition and examine the businesses they are working with. Chances are they follow businesses on social media or have mentioned other brands. These are clues into who might be complementary for you.

Step 2: Produce Content As A Group

Once you identify complementary businesses, formulate a plan for creating content together.  It can be blog posts, emails, ebooks and any other type of marketing content. By creating it together you’re helping each other out in multiple ways.

First, you’re expanding the audience that you can market to. You have your audience. They have theirs. You likely share some of the same people, but you’ll be expanding your reach by partnering.

Second, as one entity you might be appealing, but together you’ll be more appealing. Your quirks and brand identifies will even out thanks to The Cheerleader Effect. You’ll be more appealing in the group of brands providing the content than you would as individuals.

You can start out with something simple. Ask each complementary brand to provide a quote on a popular industry topic. Put the quotes together and publish the content as a blog post.

From there you can expand to create co-created ebooks or even videos.

Step 3: Hold Industry Webinars

The next step up in the content world is the webinar. Many brands are using webinars today to attract new business. The brands that are usually partner with other brands to make the webinars more successful.

Part of the reason for the partnerships is what we mentioned above about extended reach and The Cheerleader Effect. It’s not about looking good physically, but about being an appealing brand.

Every brand has flaws and negative perceptions. They make an individual brand unique and different and that’s good, but those traits can be more appealing if you associate your brand with multiple other brands.

A webinar is a great way to get people to see your brand associated with others in a way that’s actionable in terms of sharing useful content and getting your target customers into your sales cycle.


All the boys in high school look at the cheerleaders like they were all incredible. Just being in the cheerleader group seemed to make any girl more attractive. It turns out that this isn’t just a crazy thought my crazy teens. There is credibility to The Cheerleader Effect.

But we’re not in high school anymore so the effect doesn’t have the same usefulness. But we can use the same psychological finding to our advantage as brands.

Use the steps outlined above to improve your social media marketing efforts. In the competitive world of online marketing it can give you the extra edge you need to find success.

Image: Jeff Hitchcock

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