These 7 Social Media Psychology Lessons Will Make Your Marketing Smarter



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The power and use of social media platforms for spreading communication is not only restricted to our personal life but to our professional life as well. With the burst of internet usage in past few decades, the need for different platforms offering business branding online is growing in trend.

Social Media is one such medium, which is used by social media marketers for promoting your business brand on a wider scale of audience. Apart from the basic social media strategies, there are some new studies which reveal interesting techniques to promote your business through social media. I am going to list some key psychology studies that help us in becoming better social media marketers.

1. Change of Mind Before Publishing Post

Sometime, we feel slightly uncomfortable before publishing a new blog post or comment. There is no specific reason behind this feeling, but this might be caused due to the level of imagination and creativity inside us and this feeling leads to a creative breakthrough as well. For understanding this phenomenon, two researchers at Facebook have conducted a study on self-censorship to know how this feeling affects the posting of updates over Facebook. The research was carried on for 17 days over 3.9 million users and the research reports have presented some surprising facts. According to the reports, around 71% of users typed the post or comment but decided not to post it.

Here is an example, showing the number censored (red) and published (blue) comments and posts during the study

Recent research theories explain another scenario where people prefer to self-censor when they feel their content is hard to define by the audience.

2. Emotions Spread Contagiously Online

It is my personal experience that emotions spread contagiously from person to person. In addition, emotions also spread contagiously online with the help of social media networks.  One of the largest studies conducted on the spread of emotion online was conducted by researchers at University of California, who used software to determine the emotional content of 1 billion Facebook posts published in last two years, especially on rainy days to evaluate the frequency of negative posts.

Below is the chart depicting the total number of negative posts shared by Facebook users on a rainy day within a city spreading contagiously to other cities. You can see that the cities in blue show higher level of contagion:

The weather records show that the rainy day emotions impacting people where it wasn’t raining. You can easily predict that using social media sites, you can easily spread your business brand value among audiences across the world in a very short span of time.

3. Impression is made Within Seconds with Profile Photo

Your profile picture plays a significant role in making an impression. If you have an attractive and clear profile photo, people will tend to know more about you and the services you offer. It means if you own a business page, your profile photo must be the logo of your business or something related with your business to generate interest and raise awareness.

This study published by Psychological Science revealed that most people draw conclusions about a person or his or her business based on the given photo in less than a second. Even tiny variations in your facial expression or the picture used as your profile photo might impact your impression.

Here is an example of an attractive profile photo of a website on Facebook:

You can see that the simplicity and clearness of the profile picture is impressive enough to grab the attention of people over Facebook. It will definitely generate an urge among the Facebook users to visit on your business page to know more about your services.

4. Selective Sharing is Preferred More

Ipsosis, a marketing research firm, has performed a survey, stating that almost one fourth of social media users across the globe share most things online while the other 19% of social media users do not share anything about themselves online. The percentage of users who share the most things changes depending on the country.

According to the Washington Post, there is a clear relationship between the Internet penetration and Oversharing. The countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America have higher rates of oversharing while the countries of Europe have low penetration value.

The chart given below represents the percentage of respondents who share “Most Things” online:


5. Social Feedback Presents a Better Sense of Belonging

Getting social feedback offers a greater sense of belonging among the social media users. Dr. Stephanie Tobin from the University of Queensland has performed a study and found that active participation on social sites presents the users with a better sense of connectedness.

The researchers considered a group of Facebook users for the study, who were actively involved in social media sites, in which half of the users were asked to remain active while the other half were asked to observe their friends activities over Facebook.

Those who were actively involved in posting over Facebook, but were told they would not receive any feedback, felt negative effects on their well being. However, the other half, who were asked not to post anything, also felt negative effects on their personal well being. It is important not only to post over social media sites, but you must give and receive feedback as well.

6. Inspiring Content Improves Social Sharing

Just like emotions are contagious, similarly inspiring content helps in improving social sharing. Jonah Berger conducted a study that presents a theory according to which, emotional arousal triggers our nervous system and sharing offers a sense of closure to this arousal.

This fact is proven by two studies conducted simultaneously over two groups of people. While one group of people is offered to watch an inspiring video, other group was offered to watch a neutral video.

When both groups were evaluated, it was found that the participants who were given inspiring videos were more likely to share while the other group does not shown any inclination towards sharing their video. Therefore, it could be concluded that if we really want to use social media for our business promotion, we must present inspiring content and videos on our profiles to let people share your videos and content.

7. Oversharing Our Thoughts is Best Way for Social Media Promotion

Oversharing our thoughts and experiences is a built in sensation within our minds. Neuroscientists say that sharing our thoughts more and more within our community gives us the same pleasure that we feel when we earn food and money. This drive of human brain can be focused towards social media sites for generating significant results for your online business. Research studies have shown that around 80% of social media posts are related with people’ own thoughts and experiences.

Final Thoughts

In this competitive internet driven environment, social media is a promising and flourishing platform for promoting any business online. However, in taking your time in understanding these social platforms and their use, you will surely expand your reach to new customers and will also be able to establish your identity as a tech savvy leader.

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