The psychology behind Facebook and Twitter

The explosion of social media over the last decade has been astounding; remember Facebook was only launched in 2004! How brands interact with customers has been transformed, never before has there been such direct access into people’s lives. Now we all know the Fortune 500 companies such as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s attract millions of followers but many small business owners are left feel frustrated and confused on how to leverage social media.facebook

There are hundreds of free guides on the internet on how to use the profiles, discussing different tools, tips and tricks. (Visit HubSpot) Maybe you need to understand the psychology behind why we use social media in the first place to gain a greater understanding of how to engage with your followers.

The psychology behind social media.

If we go right back in human history we  have always existed in tribes, we are hard-wired to operate in a community. In ancient times we needed to bond together for survival, today we still have a deep seated need to belong to a community. We exist in different social groups from the workplace, church, sport teams etc this is why we are so compelled to tweet and update facebook, we crave connection!

If you think of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs once our basic physical needs are met such as water, food, safety and warmth. We move onto to higher level needs which become increasingly psychological and social. The need for love and friendship, personal esteem, feelings of accomplishment, growing and developing as a person become more important to us. Feeling connected to people on social media helps to fulfil these needs, as we feel accepted and cared for when people like, comment and share our content.

“To ask why would anyone think people care about their updates is to ask why do people want to talk andand communicate with others. We’re, after all, social beings who wish to connect with the rest of the world.”

Another interesting point is that we often post updates, photos; make check-ins as a  form of impression management. We portray a certain image of ourselves in a manner we want others to see us in, usually to get people to like us!

“What they post and say is a projection of themselves, their beliefs, their interests, their entire identity.”

How does the psychology behind social media help your business?

Once you understand why so many of us use social media think about why someone would interact with your business? Why do they care? To many small businesses fall into the broadcast trap, businesses first need to listen to their audience, what are they talking about and in what context? Likes and dislikes?  People want to feel connected to your business, ask your audience questions, get the involved, show some personality!

“Too many organisations fail to step away from the brand and look objectively from the outside in, as if through the eyes of the punters they wish to reach….. Understanding what drives, rewards, motivates, entertains and generally stirs an emotional response from people and content marketing can flourish. If you fail to understand what motivates your audience, then you will most likely be left scratching your head.”

Further reading:

http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/psychology-of-facebook/

http://blog.thoughtpick.com/2009/08/why-do-people-really-tweet-the-psychology-behind-tweeting.html

http://www.laymanpsych.com/the-psychology-of-twitter-facebook-and-other-social-networking-devices/

 

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