Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Attention Marketers! Here's a Lesson in #Social #Psychology!

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Originally posted on Likeable

As marketing and social media professionals, we understand the importance of using social networking sites to connect with consumers. We understand that we need to produce likeable content that engages as well as informs. But what makes our content likeable? How do we know what appeals to our audience? What tools can we use to ensure that we’re reaching our target audience in the most effective way? Thank you UAlbany, I can finally put my psychology minor to good use! The more I learn about the social media industry, the more I realize that understanding what drives people to act the way that they do can help us build stronger, more effective marketing strategies. It’s not just about what the statistics say: We need to understand why people are influenced by social media and why trends in social occur the way that they do. Social media – BEWARE! You’re about to be psycho-analyzed!

Trends in Social Media

In December, Facebook’s data analysis team analyzed 1 million status updates and came up with some interesting information about its user base:
  • People’s status updates are more positive in the morning. Negative emotions in status updates increase after 10pm.
  • Status updates featuring negative emotions usually receive more comments.
  • References to time peak in the morning (e.g. being late for class, being up late, mentioning how early it is, etc.).
  • Older users tend to compose longer status updates, focusing mainly on religion, social processes, and family.
  • In their status updates, kids often skip articles and prepositions. Younger users are also more likely to express anger, curse, and use the word “I.”
*Takeaways for Marketers: Know your audience! An understanding how your audience behaves on social networks plays a crucial role in creating an effective marketing strategy. For example, if your current marketing strategy includes engaging with middle-aged parents, it might be a good idea to ask your audience about their families.

Why are we addicted to social media?

As social media professionals, we are well aware of social media’s addictive nature. But why is social media so addictive? What keeps users coming back for more?
  • People have a natural desire to compare themselves to others and social media is the perfect tool to help them fulfill their need. Through social networking sites, people can compare physical appearances, favorite products, families, personal lives, and much more.
  • Humans have a natural sense of curiosity and a “need to know” mentality. Social media allows users indulge their curiosity.
  • Since our generation is so fast-paced, people need to be constantly entertained and engaged. Through games, applications, viewing friends’ profiles, searching Twitter, and more, social media helps cure boredom and keeps users engaged.
  • Social media cures loneliness by allowing users to comment on status updates and photos, chat with their friends, @mention others on Twitter, retweet interesting information, join a Facebook or LinkedIn group, and much more. Using social networks, even the most reserved person can have a voice.
  • Social media fulfills the desire to be loved and accepted. For those of us that need a little reassurance once in a while (and most of us do), social media is the perfect solution.
*Takeaways for marketers: Long story short, social media fulfills unmet needs. When creating your marketing strategy, think about WHY people use social media. If users are on Facebook because they’re bored and looking for entertainment, they’re not going to think twice about your brand if your content doesn’t grab their attention. Think about what your audience’s needs are and try to fulfill them!

Does Facebook activity represent who we really are?

The short answer: YES! Psychologist Sam Gosling analyzed the Facebook profiles of 236 college-aged people, who were also asked to fill out personality questionnaires. During this study, Gosling and his colleagues measured trends in openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion and neuroticism. In the end, Gosling discovered that contrary to popular belief, people on Facebook are not portraying idealized versions of themselves. Instead, their depictions are accurate: people present themselves on social networks as they are in real life!

*Takeaways for marketers: Your audience is being real, so you should too! Transparency is an important part of any marketing strategy. Your brand might be great, but your audience knows you’re not perfect. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not: own up to your mistakes and let your consumers know who you really are. They’ll love you even more for it!

Why is the “Like” button so likeable?

Here at Likeable, we’re obviously HUGE fans of the “Like” button. Turns out, we’re not alone! Here’s why social media users are inclined to click “like:”
  • Humans naturally like to praise others: that’s why we clap hands after a good performance, give tips for great service, write recommendations for great workers, etc. If someone does a great job, we like to show our support. Clicking “like” is the least we can do!
  • The “Like” button is social. If your friend “likes” a site, you are more likely to pay attention to it. In this case, users know that hitting “like” is an easy way to make recommendations to their friends.
  • The “Like” button is easy. Sometimes users enjoy content without having the time, energy or right words to formulate a response. The “Like” button is a simple way for users to express themselves.
  • The “Like” button is safe. Users can voice their opinion and give recommendations to friends without having to give any personal information, money, or commitment.
  • Humans have a natural need to fit in and the “Like” button gives users a sense of belonging: If enough of their friends like something, there’s a good chance that he/she will like it, too.
*Takeaways for Marketers: Users are highly motivated to hit the “Like” button, so why not incorporate the “Like” button as often as you can? Include it on your fan page, your website, your featured products, etc. You can even use a “like this” call to action on your status updates! Encouraging users to “like” your content is one of the easiest ways to promote engagement with your brand.

What inspires your users to engage with your brand? How will you use this information to your advantage? How important is it for marketers to understand what inspires their consumers?

What are you waiting for? Leave us your thoughts below!


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