Are We All Slaves to FOMO?

Fear Of Missing Out or FOMO is an all-consuming uneasy feeling that you are missing out on something your peers are up to.

The concept of FOMO is nothing new. It crosses gender, cultural and generation boundaries – no one wants to miss out. Logging into Facebook and realising you’re missing a party taking place just around the corner is sure to leave many with a sinking feeling. In a business environment, it could be similar to your competitors flying on a new social platform that you are not even sure how to pronounce.

Almost 50% of all millennials check Facebook first thing in the morning, and of that 28% are on the platform before they are even out of bed. Corporates are no better. The FOMO has reached such epic proportions that corporates feel they need to dominate social media in every way possible, with the average large company owning 178 social media accounts to ensure they have a noticeable presence.

It’s no wonder that the word FOMO is quickly becoming part of our vocabulary.

Utilising the fear of missing out

Brands are able to tap into FOMO as consumers spread the word on social networks. Recently Red Hot Chilli Pepper ticket queues spiked at a rapid rate as social networks updated with the bragging rights of those who forked out the cash for a ticket. Not wanting to miss out on the party I soon found myself on the Computicket website trying to get my hands on a ticket. Many, like me, are subscribed to a host of poor email newsletters that we can’t bring ourselves to unsubscribe from, in the fear of missing out on a group deal or new venue launch.

Facebook sponsored stories are an excellent marketing tool in exploiting FOMO. A recent Facebook login displayed an advert showing that 20 of my friends had liked a brand’s Facebook page. It really didn’t matter what the brand was, I was not about to miss out on a page that my friends where on.

There are downsides to FOMO, consumers may get so paralysed that they might not be able to decide what they should be doing at a given moment. Brands are also getting caught up in the hype quickly joining new social media platforms so they are not left behind with little thought behind the value proposition they bring on that platform.

How badly do you suffer from FOMO?