What happens when you “like” everything? Rameet Chawla found out: http://fueled.com/lovematically/
He grew his followers by about 30 a day
He got invited to more parties
He got stopped on the street by people who recognized him from Instagram
He got message after message from friends encouraging him to post more. He said it was “almost like they were frustrated, like they were longing for something to like in return”
Social media is changing our brains and our relationships in ways most of us never dreamed were possible. What if we could understand the impulses behind how we behave online. And use that knowledge to bring customers closer, give them more of what they want, and create better relationships?
The first step of social media addiction is admitting we’re powerless over it, and quite often we really are, thanks to 2 chemicals our brains produce: dopamine and oxytocin.
Dopamine causes us to seek, desire, and search. Dopamine is stimulated by unpredictability, by small bits of information, and by reward cues – the exact conditions of social media.
The pull of dopamine is so strong that studies have shown tweeting is harder for people to resist than cigarettes and alcohol. Source: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/feb/03/twitter-resist-cigarettes-alcohol-study
Oxytocin is referred to as “the cuddle chemical” because it’s released when you kiss or hug. In 10 minutes of social media time, oxytocin levels can rise as much as 13% – a hormonal spike equivalent to a groom on his wedding day. Source: http://www.fastcompany.com/1659062/social-networking-affects-brains-falling-love
As a result, social media users have shown to be more trusting than the average Internet user. The typical Facebook user is 43% more likely than other Internet users to feel that most people can be trusted. Source: http://www.pewinternet.org/2011/06/16/social-networking-sites-and-our-lives/
So we keep refreshing, keep updating to see if there are more likes, more comments, more stories for us to consume.
What are we looking for? If we knew more about these choices we every day, could we create opportunities for our customers to make the kind of choices that will bring them closer to us?
Humans devote about 30–40% of all speech to talking about themselves. But online that number jumps to about 80% of social media posts. Source: http://luci.ics.uci.edu/predeployment/websiteContent/weAreLuci/biographies/faculty/djp3/LocalCopy/p189-naaman.pdf
The feeling we get from self-presentation is so strong that viewing your own Facebook profile has been shown to increase your self-esteem. Source: http://www.zdnet.com/article/visiting-your-facebook-profile-boosts-your-self-esteem/
In its #SpeakBeautiful campaign, Dove actively found Twitter users tweeting negative things about their self-image and replied to them with a message of positivity using this hashtag. They took the fact that people are most likely to talk about themselves and made it work for them.
What’s also interesting for marketers is that the most prominent way we tend to work on self- presentation is through things. Buying things and acquiring things that signify who we are.
An experiment showed volunteers two types of photos: the logo for a brand they loved and pictures of their partners and closest friends. Their physiological arousal to the logo was as intense as the arousal of looking at a picture of their closest friend. Source: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mar.20805/abstract;jsessionid=7F023552CB7382017A80428298C36FCC.f02t02
Not long ago, marketing was more about imitation: Seeing celebrities and wanting to wear, drive and drink the same thing as them. Now we want something more than that: Aspiration. We want be part of a community around the things we value.
If we’re makers, we can join the LEGO community of builders who can see their own ideas come to life.
If we aspire to Coke’s values of positivity, we can join the #makeithappy campaign. Brands that can create aspirational ways for their community to interact with them not only create social media opportunities but also the chance to move beyond likes into something lasting.
Passing information on is an impulse that we’re hard-wired with. Just the thought of sharing activates our brain’s reward centers, even before we’ve done a thing. Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23722983
68% of people say they share to give others a better sense of who they are and what they care about. Source: http://nytmarketing.whsites.net/mediakit/pos/
78% of people say they share because it helps them to stay connected to people. Source: http://nytmarketing.whsites.net/mediakit/pos/
62% of people say they feel better about themselves when people react positively to what they post on social media. Source: http://nytmarketing.whsites.net/mediakit/pos/
A brand that really understands and harnesses this is Mashable, which has a velocity graph that shows you at what level each story is being shared. We get an instant look at the perceived value of this content.
A research paper from the 1970s attempts to create a unified theory of what makes something interesting.The author, Murray Davis, says all interesting theories are “an attack on the taken-for-granted world of their audience.” Source: https://proseminarcrossnationalstudies.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/thatsinteresting_1971.pdf
44% of Facebook users “like” content posted by their friends at least once a day, and 29% do so several times per day. Source: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/02/03/6-new-facts-about-facebook/
When we like, we create a reciprocity effect. We feel obliged to give back to people who have given to us, even in a small way. A sociologist sent Christmas cards to 600 random strangers and received 200 in return. Source: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2012/11/26/165570502/give-and-take-how-the-rule-of-reciprocation-binds-us
Most marketers tend to think conversations with customers are hugely important. Customers don’t feel the same way. A survey of more than 7,000 consumers found that only 23% said they have a relationship with a brand. Of those who did, only 13% cited frequent interactions with the brand as a reason for having a relationship. Source: https://hbr.org/2012/05/three-myths-about-customer-eng/
shared values were a much bigger driver for a relationship than lots of interaction with a brand. 64% of consumers who feel they have a relationship with a brand cited shared values as the primary reason. Source: https://hbr.org/2012/05/three-myths-about-customer-eng/
There’s a phenomenon known as shared reality that says our whole experience of something is affected by if and how we share it with others. Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16248713
85% of us say reading other people’s responses on a topic helps us understand and process information and events. This means comments actually have the power to change our minds. Source: http://nytmarketing.whsites.net/mediakit/pos/
polite reviews – even when they’re negative – cause a brand to be seen as more honest and wholesome. Users were actually willing to pay about $41 more for a watch when they saw polite negative reviews than when the reviews were removed. Source: http://phys.org/news/2014-04-online-negative-opinions-boost-sales.html
Basically any comment about you, anywhere online, is to a consumer a reflection of what kind of company you are. It’s not exactly fair, or at all logical, but that’s how our brains work.
The "looking-glass self" is a psychological concept that says that we can never truly see ourselves---we need our reflection from others in order to understand who we are. So selfies can help us understand ourselves better. Source: http://www.popularsocialscience.com/2013/05/27/the-looking-glass-self-how-our-self-image-is-shaped-by-society/
On Instagram, pictures with human faces are 38 percent more likely to receive likes and 32 percent more likely to attract comments. Source: http://www.news.gatech.edu/2014/03/20/face-it-instagram-pictures-faces-are-more-popular
Viewing faces can also create empathy. An experiment added headshots of patients into doctors’ files, and found that seeing photos of patients improved the way they treated patients. Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081202080809.htm
More info on some great selfie campaigns: https://blog.bufferapp.com/psychology-of-selfies
More info on some great selfie campaigns: https://blog.bufferapp.com/psychology-of-selfies
Most of us are not aware of it, but we mimic each others expressions when we’re talking face-to-face. This is emotional contagion, and it’s a big part of how we build connectedness. But online, we’re missing that crucial element of empathy. Or, we were---until emoticons and emoji.
Today, 74 percent of people in the U.S. regularly use stickers, emoticons or emojis in their online communication, and 6 billion emoticons or stickers are sent around the world every day. Source: http://www.statista.com/statistics/301061/mobile-messaging-apps-sticker-emoji-usage/
Scientists have discovered that when we look at a smiley face online, the same parts of the brain are activated as when we look at a real human face. Our mood changes, and we might even alter our facial expression. Source: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17470919.2013.873737?journalCode=psns20&#.Vbd1h-jtmkq
And emoji are changing our speech, too. Instagram, where half of all posts and comments have at least one emoji, has discovered that people are slowly abandoning written internet slang like "bae," LOL, etc. in favor of their emoji counterparts. Source: http://instagram-engineering.tumblr.com/post/117889701472/emojineering-part-1-machine-learning-for-emoji
An analysis of over 31 million tweets found that emoticons were a common factor among influential and popular social media sharers.
And a study that had participants chat online with various types of experts found that participants rated the experts friendlier and more competent when they used emoticons in their communication. Sources: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/0/9/3/2/8/pages93286/p93286-1.php, http://researchswinger.org/publications/tchokni14.pdf
These are some of the most popular emoji hashtags on Instagram as of May 2015. Source: http://fusion.net/story/127904/instagram-hashtags-could-be-the-best-guide-to-emoji-meaning-weve-ever-had/
If you want to dive in really deep, the annotation site Genius has an extensive entry for every single emoji
These are the top emoji for email subject lines, according to Mailchimp’s data. Source: https://blog.mailchimp.com/mailchimps-most-popular-subject-line-emojis/
Brands like Ikea, Coca-Cola, Burger King and Comedy Central have even created their own branded emoji for their fans to share.
Nostalgia is universal across all cultures and it gives us a sense of social connectedness, feelings of being loved and protected.
When people are asked to think about the past, they’re more likely to give money to others and they’re willing to pay more for products. Source: http://www.jcr-admin.org/files/pressreleases/072214080253_July2014Release1.pdf
We like remembering the past and the feeling it gives us, but the digital era can seem really fleeting. It’s hard to hang onto a feeling of the past. On social media, old content falls off the cliff.
So apps like Timehop bring it back to you, and Facebook this spring rolled out the "On This Day" feature that pushes old photos to your news feed daily.
Instagram, on the other hand, creates nostalgia from the minute you take a photo, with filters that mimic the look of old film stock.
Miller Lite introduced its throwback packaging last year, it pushed sales higher for the first time in seven years. Source: http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2015/01/21/throwback-cans-drive-first-boost-in-miller-lite.html
Penguin re-launched the Mad Libs app by turning up the nostalgia factor and saw sales increase 74 percent with over 5.5 million downloads.
Urban Outfitters is now selling vintage Lisa Frank stickers and notebooks from the 80s and 90s. Yes, the ‘90s are vintage---that’s how fast nostalgia moves now.
If we’re really going to talk about the psychology of social media, we can’t ignore the studies about its negative effects. Some say it’s making us more lonely, more isolated, more depressed.
social comparison: we all have a tendency to assess our worth by comparing ourselves to others. Source: https://www.humanscience.org/docs/Festinger%20%281954%29%20A%20Theory%20of%20Social%20Comparison%20Processes.pdf
a survey of 7,000 U.S. mothers revealed that 42 percent have “Pinterest stress”, they worry that they’re not crafty or creative enough. Source: http://www.today.com/news/pinterest-stress-afflicts-nearly-half-moms-survey-says-1C9850275
A survey by the Girl Scouts showed that 74 percent of girls agreed that other girls try to make themselves look "cooler than they are" on social networking sites. Source: http://www.girlscouts.org/research/pdf/gsri_social_media_fact_sheet.pdf
This cheerful photo of twinkling lights is the last image 19-year-old college student Madison Holleran posted on Instagram, an hour before she killed herself. Her friends weren’t aware of her depression; they saw her cheerful photos on social media and assumed she was fine. Please read this: http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/12833146/instagram-account-university-pennsylvania-runner-showed-only-part-story
Our brains betray us sometimes. They make us think it’s easy for everyone else, and we’re the only ones struggling. Social media can make it worse. But social media can also unite us.
spending time using social networks is correlated with virtual empathy, which carries over into the real world. Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rewired-the-psychology-technology/201207/the-power
Have you ever wondered why animals are so popular on social media? An interviewer asked the Buzzfeed editors who work on these stories why animals go so viral, and they said it’s because these stories are often not really about animals at all. They often show humans at their best -- rescuing, fostering, caring. Source: http://www.gq.com/story/buzzfeed-beastmaster-profile-march-2014?currentPage=1
Social media can gnaw at our insecurities and suck us in, but at its core, it’s about the good in the world: seeing it in ourselves, recognizing it in others, passing it on.