The Psychology Behind Social Media

Updated: May 25, 2010

Because it is still in its infancy, people don't fully understand social media's capabilities yet. You might ask, from a psychological perspective, what people are looking for in social media.

People react to content that touches them on an emotional and/or personal level. If you make sure to offer content that is arranged in a format that is easy to follow, presented clearly and logically and has emotional elements, people will pay attention and will want to continue engaging. Using content that is relevant and has a personal feel to it is a very intelligent choice when it comes to your online marketing campaign.

1. Acknowledgement: All people want to be acknowledged. When it comes to acknowledgement through social media, people want others to recognize that they are thinking and acting in a cutting-edge manner. They also want to feel that they are part of the social media community. It is critical that you acknowledge each and every person with whom you have a connection through social media. That is part of the foundation that you will be laying for your business through your social media marketing strategy.

2. Paying attention: After people feel satisfied that they have been acknowledged, they want other people to pay attention to them. The way in which you pay attention to others does not have to be complicated or time-consuming. It can be as short and simple as a tweet or a short message on the person's Facebook wall. This sets the foundation for ongoing, engaging discussions that will hopefully go on for a long time. From a marketing perspective, your business will never be a success without conversations with other members of your online communities.

3. Approval: Approval is an essential part of your interactions with your potential and current customers. When they begin connecting through social media, many people really know very little about what to do and how to engage others. If you express approval of what they have to say and make them understand that there is value in what they are contributing, your relationship will continue to get stronger and stronger.

4. Appreciation: All people love to be appreciated. It is no different for the people with whom you have relationships in social media. Not only do you need to express appreciation for your customers but you also need to express appreciation for your potential customers. Remember to pay close attention to what is important to them and try to help them find a solution to their problems.

5. Assurance: Making others feel assured is very important. People need to understand that they are saying and doing the correct thing on social media. They need to understand that their communications are accurate and appropriate. This is a very critical step in your social media marketing strategy. You are creating a feeling that if people make the fortunate decision to do business with you, that you will be there for them in whatever way they need you to be.

6. Acclamation: Who doesn't love to see their name in lights? It is very important to give acclamation to your potential customers and current customers. Through your communication in social media, you can show acclaim by highlighting them in discussions with other people and forwarding their words to others and you can respond to them (and include other people in the discussion) so that they understand that you find value in what they say and think.

7. Being a part of the group: One of the main reasons that people decide to connect with others on social media channels is to have a sense of belonging to a community. They want to feel that they are an important part of a valuable group. When you focus your social media marketing campaign on your target audience, your approach should be simple. You need to include them in your communications, invite them to be a part of your relevant and appropriate online communities, ask them to share their knowledge and opinions and engage them in discussions as often as possible.

This will make them feel that they are considered important and they will want to not only be a member of the group but they will be excited about being a contributing member of the group. You will be giving the people the feeling that they are valued and that you want them to be involved in what you are doing.

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