How FOMO Influences Social Engagement and Experiences

4 min readMar 8, 2015

At Smazing, we know that people love awesome experiences. It’s the first thing you see when you come to our website. We also know that people love to share their experiences with others on social media. However, they aren’t necessarily sharing those experiences directly with your brand or business. Everything we do at Smazing is built on these principals and how brands and businesses can tap into those shared experiences in a better, more strategic way to further engage those individuals, harness and amplify their experiences, to build customer loyalty, and extend the reach via social and word-of-mouth to others. That’s why we were thrilled when we saw an amazing blog post on (Word of Mouth Marketing Association) which talked to just that and actually the science behind it.

The “Fear of Missing Out” (or FOMO) is a very real cognitive experience or even, social anxiety, as the blog post calls it, where people feel like they are missing out on experiences when they see an influx of content about out it on social media. I know I have experienced it. I often feel like I hear of great events and conferences as they happen because people are posting about it in real-time, which is after the fact for me. Its great in that I get to consume the content and knowledge that is coming out of the event, and in some way, participate in the event via the social content. But I still would have rather been there in person to experience it for myself and connect with others.

This FOMO is a driver for people to take action proactively and reactively. It’s a reason why people are so tethered to social media or their cell phones and need to be connected constantly. It’s a reason why people choose to attend professional events and conferences. It’s a reason why people ski or go to concerts, in that it becomes part of who they are and how they identify themselves as an individual and as a group. I know I am an avid concert-goer. I have easily been to over 100 concerts in my lifetime. I am certainly inclined to post a photo to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram or in recent years, check-in to the venue or event even without a clear, call-to-action at the event prompting me to do so. But more than that, I am going to tell about my experiences via word of mouth in the real world to my friends, colleagues, family, and extended network. For brands and businesses that DO have a clear, call-to-action both either in the real world or on social, they can see a dramatic increase in user generated content, customer satisfaction and loyalty, and reach, impressions, and social word of mouth.

The blog post goes on to say how millennials value experiences over products. I would argue that this applies to other generations as well. I see this with the way my parents, who are in their mid-60s, interact with my son and wanting to share experiences with him versus what they can buy him. Marketers can certainly benefit from this line of thinking. Instead of listing features and functionality, they should tell stories about the experience.With an effective campaign-driven, social strategy, including social curation, calls-to-action, and other incentives, your customers can help tell that story through their own experiences and content.

For better or worse, FOMO is a real thing. The negatives of FOMO is if that fear consumes you to the point where you experience nothing and just sit on the sideline and consume others experiences, like Super-Paranoid Rob Lowe. But, I think there are more positives in that the FOMO is really a result of wanting to have as many awesome experiences as possible and not wanting to leave anything on the table. That is a good thing and Smazing would love to help your business enhance and amplify those shared social experiences.

Originally published at on March 2, 2015


SMAZING is a consultancy focusing on authentically amplifying social experiences and driving customer engagement. SMAZING.COM