Amp Agency - The Psychology of Social - February 2012


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Once  considered  a  fad,  social  media  has  become  the  epicenter  of online experience.  Many  social  media  users  express  a  profound  connection  to  sites  like  Facebook  and  Twitter,   while  others  prefer  smartphone  apps  like  foursquare.  Understanding  and  exploring  why  social  media  has   such  strong  behavioral  and  psychological  connections  with  users  can  help  marketers  better  identify strategies for outreach, interaction and content creation. In this report, AMP's Insights Lab has partnered with a team of psychologists and consumers to explore the behavioral and psychological philosophies that bond consumers to social media and then translate those principles into business strategies.

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Amp Agency - The Psychology of Social - February 2012

  1. 1. 1                                                                                            
  2. 2.                              right  way  to  do  things,  and  there  never  is.      Robert  M.  Pirsig                                             2    
  3. 3. Overview   Once  considered  a  fad,  social  media  has  become  the  epicenter  of  experience.  Many  social  media  users  express  a  profound  connection  to  sites  like  Facebook  and  Twitter,  while  others  prefer  smartphone  apps  like  foursquare.  Understanding  and  exploring  why  social  media  has  such  strong  behavioral  and  psychological  connections  with  users  can  help  marketers  better  identify    has  partnered  with  a  team  of  psychologists  and  consumers  to  explore  the  behavioral  and  psychological  philosophies  that  bond  consumers  to  social  media  and  then  translate  those  principles  into  business  strategies.      With  great  gratitude  to  our  contributors:  Dr.  Alex  Jordan,  Psychologist  Dr.  A.  Jackson,  Neuropsychologist    Dr.  Lisa  Farley,  Developmental  Psychologist                                   3    
  4. 4. Contents      Executive  Summary  .......................................................................................................................................  5  Introduction  ..................................................................................................................................................  6  Defining  Social  Media  ...................................................................................................................................  7  Forming  Connections  &  Attachments  ...........................................................................................................  9  The  Role  of  Psychology  and  Sociology  in  Social  Media   ..............................................................................  17   .Applying  Psychological  and  Sociological  Theory  in  Everyday  Social  Media  Interactions  ...........................  25  Conclusion  ...................................................................................................................................................  26    ...........................................................................................................................  27                                   4    
  5. 5. Executive  Summary    businesses  are  well  entrenched  in  the  realm  of  social  media.  Countless  news  and  media  sources  life  is  like  without  Facebook.     Awareness  of  social  media  is  at  an  all-­‐time  high,  but  few  users  and  businesses  understand  how  to  define  social  media.   dia  rather  websites,  software,  applications  and  other  elements  that  allow  consumers  to  upload,  download  and  share  information  across  Internet-­‐enabled  devices.  This  cross-­‐collaboration  of  information  sharing   -­‐channel  ability  to  share  information  addresses  the       At  the  core  of  the  social  media  ecosystem  are  content  consumers  and  content  publishers  that  both  display  traits  of  advocacy  for  different  types  of  information.  The  disciplines  of  content  creation  and  content  propagation  will  be  explored  in  this  report,  allowing  the  reader  to:   Understand  what  drives  and  motivates  users  to  engage  in  social  media   Understand  how  social  media  affects  people  psychologically  and  sociologically   Develop  a  compelling  content  strategy  for  social  media  based  on  what  connects  users  to   social  media                           5    
  6. 6. Introduction     Analysts,  marketers,  reporters  and  consumers  all  express  a  profound  fascination  with  social  media.  All  want  to  learn  to  harness  its  power  and  reach  to  build  relationships    whether  personally  or  professionally.  In  the  world  of  business,  marketers  are  quickly  trying  to  understand  what  it  takes  to  build  relationships  with  consumers  and  help  to  develop  brands  through  the  use  of  social  media.  In  order  to  understand  those  relationships,  it  is  important  to  understand  the  psychological  and  sociological  principles  that  surround  consu the  principles  and  theories  that  connect  consumers  to  social  media  on  a  psychological  and  behavioral  level,  we  will  be  able  to  devise     This  report  seeks  to  provide  further  information,  explanation  and  guidance  on  common  questions  and  inquiries  about  social  media.  All  of  the  theories  are  supported  using  first  person  accounts  from  psychologists  working  in  different  aspects  of  behavioral  sciences,  or  are  based  on  historic  psychological  and  sociological  findings  on  what  drives  and  motivates  human  Determining  what  manifests  the  psychological  and  behavioral  connection  to  social  media  will  undoubtedly  help  uncover  the  best  possible  chance  of  success  when  developing  or  enhancing  a  social  media  presence.                                 6    
  7. 7. Defining  Social  Media     Social  media  is  an  innovative,  exciting  and  sometimes  challenging  entity  to  understand.  By  definition,  social  media  is  the  web-­‐based  tools  used  for  common  and  often  communal  interaction  between  people  and  brands.  These  new  avenues  of  outreach,  interaction  and  communication  create  a  wealth  of  opportunity  for  brands  and  users  to  learn  to  harness  the  power  of  social  media.   When  it  comes  to  leveraging  the  power  of  social  media,  kthe  battle.  Hundreds  of  millions  of  online  conversations  give  users  the  opportunity  to  join  the  discussion  and  engage  with  other  users  on  a  personal  level.  Effective  and  relevant  social  media  engagement  starts  with  listening  to  your  audience  and  understanding  what  motivates  them  to  take  action.  Determining  the  psychological  and  sociological  motivations  of  using  social  media  is  the  basis  of  this  report.     Not  surprisingly,  the  past  five  years  have  generated  unprecedented  interest  in  social  media.  The  adoption  of  social  technologies  has  been  rampant  with  consumers  and  marketers  constantly  pursuing  great  demand  for  information  related  to  social  media.  The  diagram  below  shows  the  exponential  growth  in   social  media  related  news  and  internet  search  volume  via  Google.    Social  Media  Search  Volume  and  News  Reference  Volume:  2006-­‐Present    Source:  Google  Trends,       7    
  8. 8. The  growth  of  social  media  has  also  necessitated  the  need  to  compete  and  innovate  within  the  space.  Below  is  a  chart  that  shows  how  many  patents  have  been  applied  for  and  granted  as  it  relates  to  social  media.  Growth  In  Social  Network  Patents    Source:  M       Implications  for  Brands:     Social  media  growth  is  exponential     Social  media  is  not  a  fad   Social  media  growth  is  still  in  its  infancy                       8    
  9. 9. Forming  Connections  &  Attachments     In  stride  with  climbing  search  volume  for  social  media,  participation  rates  and  integration  of  social  media  into  digital  best  practices  has  grown  exponentially  over  the  past  several  years.  Social  media  has  reached  critical  mass  as  social  media  properties  continue  to  grow  in  popularity,  international  appeal  and  practical  usage.  Both  brands  and  consumers  can  use  social  media  to  build,  develop  and  maintain  connections  to  other  people  and  brands.  Understanding  what  drives  and  motivates  social  media  usage  may  be  expressed  most  simply  by  the  principles  of  the  famous  Psychologist,  John  Bowlby.      in  the  1960s  explored  human  connection    trying  to  understand  what  drives  and  motivates  humans  to  engage  in  certain  behaviors.  His  research  showed  that  all  humans  share  a  universal  need  to  form  close,  affectionate  bonds.  He  determined  that  it  is  how  we,  as  humans,  form  attachments  to  one  another.  In  present  day,  these  connections  and  attachments  can  be  facilitated  through  social  media.       According  to  Dr.  Alex  Jordan,  Psychologist,  the  human  need  for  connection  is  rooted  deeply  in  our  development  as  a  species:  Anthropological  evidence  suggests  that  humans  evolved  in  social  groups  of  approximately  100 200  people.  People  needed  to  band  together  and  build  alliances  in  order  to  hunt  successfully  and  defend   d  reproducing,  and  so  people  evolved  a  strong  motivation  to  build  meaningful  social  connections  with  to  groups  larger  than  themselves.    The  trouble  i  the  evolutionary  past,  many  people  are  having  trouble  meeting  their  needs  for  social  connection.  A  recent  national  survey  showed    single  close  confidant  in  their  lives a  much  higher  proportion  than  even  two  decades  ago.  Using  Facebook  and  other  social  media  might  be  one  means  by  which  people  can  try  to  compensate  for  the  reduced  face-­‐to-­‐face  social  intimacy  of  modern  life.   Despite  the   superficiality  of  most  social  media  engagements,  they  still  satisfy  a  basic,   -­‐fold:  social  media  satisfies  both  internal  needs  for  emotional  connection  and  external  demand  for  attachment.     Dr.  Alex  Jordan  also  had  this  to  share  in  regard  to  the  connectedness  felt  through  social  media:  A  recent  experiment  published  in  the  Journal  of  Personality  and  Social  Psychology  found  that  disconnecting  from  Facebook  for  only  48  hours  cconnectedness  to  other  people.  Apparently,  social  media  can  be  highly  reinforcing  and  even  addictive  for  at  least  some  individuals.     9    
  10. 10. The  rampant  growth  of  social  media  is  likely  magnified  by  the  psychological  needs  of  connection  and  attachment.  The  early  adopters  of  social  media  influenced  their  friends  and  family  to  get  involved  with  websites  like  Friendster  and  MySpace  felt  connected,  they  became    them.  Although  older  social  media  websites  have  grown  passé,  new  iterations  (e.g.,  Facebook)  continue  to  satisfy  the  needs  of  connection  and  attachment.    Social  Media  Need-­‐State  Fulfillment     According  to  Dr.  A.  Jackson,  Neuropsychologist,  we  can  see  how  formation  of  attachment  development: Attachment has long been considered a major determinant ofwell-being. From the research of Bowlby, Harlow, and Ainsworth, it has been shown that infants seek outattachment and security from caregivers. Through this contact, we develop patterns of attachment andinternal working models that guide our behavior in future relationships.More recent research has shown that attachment is not only important for relationships, but for braindevelopment as well. The right hemisphere of the brain is responsible for the perception of visual andauditory stimuli, spatial manipulation, the perception of faces, and artistic ability (Kandel, Schwartz, &Jessell, 2000). It is also important in developing attachment to others, processing social-emotionalinformation, regulating body and emotional states, and controlling vital functions that support copingwith stress (Schore, 1994; Wittling & Schweiger, 1993). The right hemisphere is intimately tied toemotional and social intelligence, which are believed to be developed through the initial attachment todevelopment that is important for our future relationships.Socialization represents a basic human need that is important in the healthy development of brainfunction. From birth, we are conditioned to value attachment to others and this need continuesthroughout the lifespan. Continued social experience helps to hone these particular brain functions,especially as we navigate through adolescence. Through social interaction, we learn how to cope withstress and conflicts, which is important for healthy overall functioning.       10    
  11. 11. The  rampant  expansion  of  social  media  also  seems  to  conform  to  the  standards  of  the  Diffusion  of  Innovations,  developed  by  Bohlen,  Beal  and  Rogers  in  1957.  The  standard  bell-­‐curve  of  adoption  mirrors  the  same  adoption  standards  of  social  media.  As  new  social  mediums  are  developed,  they  are  generally  adopted,  tested  and  made  valid  by  a  select  few  users.  It  is  not  until  further  adoption  occurs  that  critical  mass  adoption  begins  to  occur.  These  principles  are  not  different  from  the  growth  patterns  seen  through  various  social  media  websites  or  smartphone  applications.    Technology  Adoption  Lifecycle    Comparison  of  Trending  Data  and  Technology  Adoption  Lifecycle             11    
  12. 12. Based  on  the  adoption  of  and  interest  in  social  media,  it  can  safely  be  assumed  that  social  media  interest  and  usage  is  in  the  Early  Majority  stage.  This  early  majority  phase  has  taken  several  years  to  develop,  thus  it  can  be  expected  that  the  Late  Majority  and  the  Laggards  will  come  to  join  the  ranks  of  social  media  users  over  the  next  2 3  years.  This  trend  will  likely  apply  to  both  businesses  and  consumers.    as  well  as  data  from  Pew  Research  Center,  65%  of  adults  in  the  US  use  social  media.  We  can  assume  that  when  the  Late  Majority  and  Laggards  start  to  use  social  media,  adoption  rates  should  reach  80 85%  of  all  American  adults.       Source:  PEW  Research  Center,  December  2011                       12    
  13. 13. The  following  statistics  illustrate  the  profound  use  and  adoption  of  some  of  the  more  popular  social  media  entities.    Eight  Wonders  of  Social  Media     -­‐ -­‐blo ;  Paul  Allen,  Google+,  "Google+  Growth  Accelerating.  Passes  62  million  users.  Adding  625,000  new  users  per  day.  Prediction:  400  million  users  by  end  of  2012,"  December  2011     13    
  14. 14. online  presence.  When  we  look  at  the  demographic  makeup  of  Facebook  users,  we  can  see  that  the  adoption  is  split  rather  evenly  between  males  and  females,  and  there  is  a  fair  amount  of  distribution  among  ages.  Although  impossible  to  know  the  exact  demographics  of  users  who  engage  in  social  media,  it  is  interesting  to  see  that  the  national  profile  is  very  similar  to  that  of  Facebook  users.  Overall,  there  is  relatively  even  distribution  among  age,  gender  and  other  variables.  Of  course  there  will  be  deviations  in  demographics  based  on  the  targeting  of  a  specific  social  media  utility  (e.g.,  foursquare  vs.  Waze),  but  in  general,  the  pool  of  potential  social  media  users  is  large  and  diverse.  Total  Facebook  Users,  United  States,  March  2011     Source:,  2011                           14    
  15. 15. User  Demographics:  Social  Media  Users  in  the  United  States     Source:  Pew  Research  Center,  2011   connection  to  social  media  sites  like  Facebook  and  Twitter,  Dr.  Alex  Jordan,  Psychologist,  had  this  to  share:  In  general,  social  media  such  as  Facebook  and  Twitter  offer  one  way  for  people  to  meet  their  fundamental  need  for  social  connections  and  interactions.  Social  media  also  provides  a  way  for  people  to  compare  themselves,  their  lives,  and  their  preferences  to  those  of  other  people.       15    
  16. 16. Beyond  these  broad  generalizations,  different  consumer  groups  might  use  social  media  for  different  purposes.  For  example,  psychological  research  suggests  that  younger  people,  who  have  an  expansive  view  of  their  futures,  are  motivated  to  broaden  their  social  networks  and  constantly  gather  new  information  about  their  social  worlds.  On  the  other  hand,  older  people,  who  have  a  sense  of  more  limited  time  in  their  futures,  are  more  likely  to  focus  on  meaningful  interactions  within  already-­‐established  relationships,  which  will  be  more  consistently  emotionally  rewarding.  Therefore,  younger  people  mighacquaintances  and  even  celebrities  with  whom  there  is  no  personal  connection,  whereas  older  people  might  be  expected  to  be  more  likely  to  use  Facebook  and  Twitter  to  enrich  the  intimacy  of  their  pre-­‐existing  relationships  with  close  family  or  friends.           Implications  for  Brands:     Social  m   for  connection  and  interaction     Social  media  growth  mirrors  the  Technology  Adoption  Lifecycle,  implying  that   Social  media  growth  is  in  the  Early  Majority  phase  of  social  adoption       users  to  feel  attached  and  connected  to  other  users                               16    
  17. 17. The  Role  of  Psychology  and  Sociology  in  Social  Media     When  trying  to  understand  the  elements  that  go  into  creating  an  effective  social  media  presence,  we  first  need  to  define  how  to  measure   ness Effectaction,  whereas    emotional  influence  of  an  action.  In  the  case  of  social  media,  it  is   nfluences  those  who  use  it.  When  developing  a  social  media  strategy,  it  is  important  to  not  only  understand  what  you  want  the  end  result  to  be  (i.e.,  effect),  but  also  how  you  will  impact  people  on  the  way  to  the  result  (i.e.,  affect).  Often,  social  media  users,  understand  the  psychological  or  sociological  impact  they  are  making  on  those  2  million  Facebook  users.    Thus,  when  trying  to  measure  the  outcome  of  a  social  media  campaign,  one  should  understand  the  affect  on  users,  versus  solely  trying  to  measure  the  actions  users  are  taking.  done  by  Psychologist  Abraham  Maslow  in  the  1950s  and  1960s.  Maslow  focused  his  efforts  on  understanding  positive  human  engagement  and  its  impact  on  human  achievement.  His  most  famous  piece  of  work,  known  as  the  Hierarchy  of  Needs,  creates  an  interesting  parallel  to  the  emotional  affect  that  social  media  can  have  on  users.  using  social  media.  Maslow  defined  base-­‐order  to  survive.  The  journey  from  the  bottom  to  the  top  of  the  hierarchy  looks  at  various  need  states   -­‐ ysiological  needs.   When  exploring  the  idea  of  social  media  connectedness  as  expressed  through  the  eyes  of   Dr.  Lisa  Farley,  Developmental  Psychologist,  had  this  to  share:  Connecting  with  others  through  social  networks  can  very  well  be  related  to  the  basic  human  needs   -­‐actualization  may  be  seen  as  an  unattainable  status  that  many  individuals  strive  for  their  entire  lives  without  completely  fulfilling  their  desired  level  of  acceptance.  The  goal  of  achieving  that  of  self-­‐actualization  may  parallel  a  need  for  that  of  social  actualization.  Individuals  who  use  social  media  networks  for  self  promotion  may  be  driven  by  obsessions  and  compulsions  influenced  by  intrinsic  and  extrinsic  factors.  Most  behaviors  are  modeled  and  shaped  by   .engage  in  that  behavior  which  promotes  responses  from  others.  These  responses  then  feed  into  the  obsession  which  promotes  them  to  continue  to  engage  in  a  compulsive  behavior.  These  interactions  are  influenced  by  the  needs  of:  attachment,  belongingness,  narcissism,  self  promotion  and  self  esteem.         17    
  18. 18. Social  networking  can  continue  to  thrive  due  to  individuals  insatiable  need  for  self  gratification  and  social  connectedness.  Social  networking  sites  allow  individuals  to  self  promote  which  in  return  enables  feelings  of  admiration,  recognition  and  social  reward.   For  the  majority  of  users,  social  media  allows  users  to  develop  feelings  of  belongingness,  which  in  turn  helps  build  esteem.   s  theory  complements  the  findings  of  John  Bowlby,  who  stated  that  feelings  of  connectedness  ultimately  foster  states  of  attachment.  theoretically,  the  most  influential  and  heavily  affected  users  of  social  media  might  be  able  to  achieve  states  of  self-­‐actualization  through  the  use  of  the  medium.       Social  media  aides  in  satisfying  mostly  Love/Belonging,  Esteem  and  Self-­‐Actualization  needs.  However,  the  personal  relationships  built  and  supported  using  social  media  could  easily  satisfy  Physiological  and  Safety  needs,  although  that  is  not  the  primary  role  of  social  media.  The  ability  for  social  media  to  bring  together  like-­‐minded  people  with  similar  value  systems  can  magnify  the  impact  on  us .  Overall,  the  more  niche  the  mindset  or  cultural  values  (e.g.,  a  group  of  teens  rallying  around  a  local  band)  the  greater  the  emotional  connection  and  psychological  impact  social  media  can  have.  The  sense  of  belongingness  and  esteem  generated  by  those  niche  connections  can  set  strong  emotional  bonds  among  users.   When  looking  at  the  ways  that  social  media  can  magnify  a  sense  of  belongingness  or  help  build  users al  Psychologist,  shared  some  thoughts:  belongingness  to  others.  The  idea  supporting  this  theory  is  that  individuals  witness  social  and  interpersonal  behaviors  of  others  as  a  tool  to  monitor  their  own  thoughts,  feelings  and  behaviors.     18    
  19. 19. systems.  When  explorinidea  of  attachment  as  being  influential  to  one  drive  or  motivation  may  also  reflect  individuals  lack  of  appropriate  attachments  causing  them  to  feel  connected  through  social  networking  opposed  to  face-­‐to-­‐face  interpersonal  relationships.  Insecure  attachments  which  are  primarily  formed  during  the  early  stages  of  life  can  influence  the  ways  individuals  attach  or  connect  to  others  perpetually.  Using  social  media  may  contribute  to  placating  feelings  of  insecurity  or  a  need  for  belonging  as  a  way  of  self  promotion  and  self  fulfillment.  Those  who  experience  insecure  attachments  combined  with  social  anxiety  may  be  able  to  communicate  more  easily  through  social  networking  as  a  way  to  monitor  and  control  the  information  that  is  being  representative  of  themselves  rather  than  their  true  selves.     ghts,  Dr.  Alex  Jordan,  Psychologist,  had  this  to  share:  A  distinction  that  might  affect  what  consumers  seek  in  their  social  media  use  is  the  degree  of  individualism  or  interdependence  in  their  culture.  In  a  highly  individualistic  cultural  context,  such  as  that  of  middle-­‐class  European  Americans,  people  might  use  social  media  such  as  Facebook  to  fulfill  their  need  to  differentiate  themselves  from  others  and  express  their  self-­‐identities.  The  brands  and  products  that  a  user  icharacteristics  to  peers.  On  the  other  hand,  in  a  more  interdependent  cultural  context,  such  as  that  found  in  some  Asian  countries  and  among  working-­‐class  Americans,  people  might  place  more  emphasis  in  their  Facebook  use  on  identifying  and  expressing  those  things  that  they  have  in  common  with  peers  and  that  therefore  help  to  bind  them  to  a  larger  group  and  reinforce  their  social  roles  and  relationships.     Overall,  purveying  ones  thoughts  via  social  media  helps  to  build  esteem  and  connectedness  for  the  user.  Long-­‐term  use  of  social  media  and  high  levels  of  content  propagation  allows  users  to  develop  rapport  and  affinity  with  other  users,  further  contributing  to  feelings  of  esteem.  There  may  be  a  direct  correlation  between  high  esteem  and  high  levels  of  content  creation  or  influence.  In  effect,  building   .   Dr.  Alex  Jordan,  also  had  this  to  share  in  regard  to  the  connectedness  users  feel  to  Twitter,  as  well  as  what  drives  content  propagation  on  the  website:  Beyond  the  simple  distraction/entertainment  angle,  Twitter  provides  a  way  for  people  to  feel  as  if  they  always  have  social  company  in  their  daily  activities even  when  more  and  more  tasks  might  in  fact  be  carried  out  physically  alone  in  modern  society,  from  telecommuting  to  online  shopping.  Via  brief  140-­‐character  tweets,  users  can  instantaneously  share  their  day-­‐to-­‐day  minutiae  with  all  their  closest  friends  and  even  with  favorite  celebrities.       19    
  20. 20. The  principles  of  content  propagation  can  also  apply  to  businesses  that  produce  social  media  content.  Businesses  that  are  supported  by  consumers  via  social  media  and  achieve  high  degrees  of  positive  feedback  and  strong  followings  may  have  the  ability  to  continue  to  produce  content  that  leads  to  continued  involvement  and  connection  from  consumers.  The  connection  between  building  consumer  esteem  (i.e.,  positive  chatter)  in  exchange  for  content  propagation  (i.e.,  spreadability)  presents  two   Brand  Esteem .    As  illustrated  in  Maslo catalyst  between  mediocrity  and  greatness.  By  measuring  Brand  Esteem,  we  can  assess  all  of  the  elements  that  go  into  understanding  what  builds  a    esteem.  Brand  Esteem  measures  impact  on  Validation,  Recognition,  Distinction  and  Achievement.  Businesses  and  consumers  have  the  ability  to  establish  a  baseline  of  these  measures  based  on  their  current  social  media  efforts.  Continued  monitoring  of  growth  in  these  areas  will  assure  that  all  aspects  of  Brand  Esteem  are  being  leveraged.  The  more  Esteem  a  brand  or  consumer  builds,  the  more  likely  they  will  have  an  influence  on  other  users.  Brand  EsteemTM:  The  New  Measure           20    
  21. 21. In  order  to  maximize  Brand  Esteem,  experiments  with  content  can  prove  valuable  in  generating  positive  growth  in  esteem  areas.  The  most  affective  social  media  content  is  rarely  developed  on  the  first  try.  It  is  usually  honed  over  time  leveraging  user  input,  user  reactions  and  spreadability  to  determine  which  content  elicits  the  strongest  reactions.  This  trend  illustrates  that  content  creation  is  more  of  a  science  than  an  art.  Theory  on  Content  Creation    positive  growth  among  social  media  users  is  entirely  dependent  on  content  and  its  effect  on  esteem.  Shifts  in  content  creation  can  elicit  positive  growth  and  sustained  following  from  users.  To  develop  content  that  resonates  strongest  with  users,  consider  the  following:   1. Experiment  with  producing  different  types  of  content  relevant  to  your  personality/brand   2. Monitor  positive  feedback  and  increases  to  consumer  support  (e.g.,  likes  or  followers)     3. Determine  which  style  of  content  generates  the  most  positive  feedback  or  spreadability  and   continue  creating  similar  content   To  help  determine  which  type  of  content  might  be  most  helpful  in  influencing  esteem,  it  is  important  to  understand  the  content  needs  of  different  consumer  psychographics.  By  delivering  content  that  is  geared  towards  different  psychographics,  it  is  possible  to  satisfy  social  media   short-­‐term  information  needs  (i.e.,  Ma while  building  relationships  for  the   TMfuture  (i.e. ).  Identifying  Content  Needs     In  the  short-­‐term,  consumers  are  looking  to  establish  connections  to  each  other  and  to  brands  by  expressing  themselves  and  their  thoughts  through  simple  and  basic  social  media  content.  However,  long-­‐term  connections  require  a  deeper  and  more  committed  connection  through  content.  Delivering     21    
  22. 22. different  types  of  content  can  help  build  affinities  for  both  short-­‐term  and  long-­‐term  need  states  over  time.  Satisfying  both  levels  of  needs  will  increase  the  loyalty  a  user  feels  towards  a  social  media  presence,  due  to  a  principle  called  Social  Capital.  Social  Capital  refers  to  assets  or  relationships  attained  in  a  sociological  setting  that  allow  people  to  develop  a  stronger  sense  of  identity,  self-­‐esteem  and  personal  network  resources.  Social  Capital  can  be  established  through  the  delivery  of  social  media  content  that  tries  to  establish  connections  with  consumers  and  further  make  those  consumers  feel  connected  to  the  content  producer.    Social  Capital  Need  States:   1. Short-­‐term  Need:  Establish  Connections   Share  experiences     Establish  community  presence   /followers   Look  at  pictures  or  videos   Share  personal  perspectives  or  comments   2. Long-­‐term  Need:  Feel  Connected     Read  news  and  updates     Look  at  pictures  or  videos    After  short-­‐term,  Social  Capital  need  states  are  fulfilled,  the  details  of  the  relationship  will  ultimately  determine  whether  the  social  media  connection  will  be  short-­‐lived  or  long-­‐lasting.  Long-­‐lasting  relationships  meet  two  needs    emotional  needs  or  rational  needs.  In  some  cases,  relationships  can  satisfy  both  need  states.  The  amount  of  satisfaction  derived  from  meeting  emotional  or  rational  needs  determines  how  the  relationship  contributes  to  an  individual     onship  provides.  Whether  that  relationship  is  rooted  in  delivering  information,  financial  reward,  emotional  support  or  satisfying  another  need,  all  of   .  A  social  media  relationship  will  not  last  unless  some  level  of  survival  support  is  being  met.           22    
  23. 23.     When  asked  about  the  concept  of  developing  and  supporting  relationships  through  social  media  content,  Dr.  A.  Jackson,  Neuropsychologist,  had  this  to  share  in  regard  to  user-­‐based  social  media  content  creation  and  how  it  supports  development:  Social  interaction  is  a  basic  need  for  humans,  and  as  technology  advances,  we  have  found  ourselves  faced  with  new  means  of  communication.  Despite  ever-­‐changing  technology,  the  drive  to  socialize  and  develop  relationships  remains.  Research  has  shown  that  the  ability  to  adequately  establish     23    
  24. 24. relationships  is  dependent  of  proper  attachment  in  infancy  and  the  continuing  development  of  relationship  skills  during  childhood  and  adolescence.      One  of  the  major  goals  of  adolescence  is  to  develop  an  identity;  and  this  process  is  influenced  by  a  variety  of  sources  including  family,  friends,  and  environment.  Danah  Boyd,  a  Senior  Researcher  at  Microsoft,  hypothesizes  that  teenagers  incorporate  the  use  of  social  networks  to  facilitate  identity  formation,  establish  social  status,  and  as  a  means  of  communication.  Even  in  creating  a  profile,  Boyd  points  out  how  teens  are  working  towards  establishing  an  identity  and,  once  the  profile  is  established,  teens  monitor  its  contents  to  manage  its  (and  their)  appearance  to  peers.    Among  college-­‐aged  individuals,  Ellison,  Steinfield,  and  Lampe  (2007)  found  that  use  of  Facebook  was  associated  with  measures  of  social  capital.  Social  capital  is  the  accumulation  of  resources  through  relationships.  Social  capital  is  associated  with  psychological  health  and  well-­‐being,  as  well  as  life  satisfaction.  As  with  adolescents,  social  networks  are  a  means  of  social  voyeurism,  whereby  individuals  examine  the  social  lives  of  others  around  them.    There  is  likely  a  multitude  of  reasons  why  consumers  choose  to  use  social  media  and  the  specific  amount  and/or  reasons  for  usage  likely  varies  between  individuals.  It  is  clearly  a  means  of  communicating  with  friends  and,  sometimes,  strangers.  However,  it  is  also  a  means  of  developing  and  maintaining  an  identity.       Leveraging  these  thoughts  on  content  creation  to  develop  target-­‐specific  interactions  can  help  any  user  or  business  make  a  bigger  impact  through  social  media.  However,  social  media  was  never  designed  to  cure  all  of  the  ails  of  branding  and  personal  relationships.  It  is  important  to  understand  when  social  media  is  the  answer  and  when  it  is  not. Implications  for  Brands:   Long-­‐lasting  and  meaningful  social  media  engagements  are  rooted  in  a  user   ability  to  feel  connect content   Social  media  content  needs  to  be  tailored  to  user  demographics  AND   psychographics   Measuring  the  impact  of  social  media  should  combine  traditional  analytics  with   an  assessment  of  Brand  Esteem             24    
  25. 25. Applying  Psychological  and  Sociological  Theory  in  Everyday  Social  Media  Interactions     Although  inarguably  popular,  dynamic  and  long-­‐lasting,  social  media  is  not  a  magical  elixir.  Simply  creating  a  social  media  presence,  like  making  a  Facebook  page,  will  not  necessarily  spark  new  interest  or  strong  emotional  following  from  users.  Many  of  the  brands,  social  groups  and  users  that  have  been  deemed   social  media  successes  have  been  able  to  successfully  translate  the  real-­‐world  emotional  value  of  their  brands  into  a  digital  form.  Creating  a  social  media  identity  is  easy.  Creating  a  compelling  social  media  identity  is  difficult.  Developmental  Psychologist,  had  this  to  share:  Advertising  and  marketing  strategies  may  consider  focusing  on  the  extrinsic  factors  such  as  social  status  and  recognition  which  then  reimburse  intrinsic  factors  such  as  self  esteem  and  social  connectedness.  Consumers  want  products  that  allow  them  to  fill  their  insatiable  need  for  self  and  social  actualization.  Products  are  more  appealing  if  advertised  in  a  way  that  influences  the  consumer  to  believe  that  it  is  capable  of  enhancing  themselves  or  their  quality  of  life.     If  the  purpose  of  social  media  is  to  help  build  esteem  and  connections  through  the  exchange  of  information  and  dialog,  it  seems  intuitive  that  the  content  shared  should  have  implied  longevity  and  depth  to  keep  users  engaged  over  time.  A  brand  or  user  may  experience  significant  short-­‐term  growth  in  likes  or  followers,  but  long-­‐term  engagement  comes  in  question  if  the  producer  of  the  content  eventually  runs  out  of  dynamic  content.    affinity  toward  starting  Facebook  and  Twitter  accounts  is  rampant.  There  is  no  shortage  of  small,  independent  businesses  that  feel  compelled  to  start  a  Facebook  or  Twitter  account  because  content.  Quite  simply    if  a  brand  or  user  cannot  provide  the  content  users  want,  there  is  no  need  to  create  a  Facebook,  Twitter  or  other  social  network  profile.  There  may  be  initial  success,  but  followers  will  wane  or  stop  interacting  over  time.  Before  committing  to  an  initial  social  media  strategy,  consider  the  following:   1. Do  you  have  a  clearly  defined  set  of  goals  that  you  want  to  achieve  using  social  media?   2.  Can  you  produce  enough   relevant  content  to  keep  people  interested  and  engaged?   3. Will  you  stay  committed  to  maintaining  your  social  media  presence  for  the  rest  of  your   life?     -­‐approach  your  strategy.  Social  media  is  a  long-­‐term  commitment  that  requires  dedication  and  determination.     25    
  26. 26. Conclusion     Leveraging  all  of  the  principles  discussed  so  far,  there  seems  to  be  precise  parameters  upon  which  to  build  content  that  will  likely  resonate  with  social  media  users.  By  considering  the  psychological  and  sociological  benefit  to  end-­‐users,  brands  and  consumers  can  better  determine  how  to  create  compelling  content  strategies  that  will  resonate  with  users.   Considering  the  complexity  of  digital  relationships  and  the  intricacies  of  engaging  in  valuable  interactions  that  are  addressed  in  this  report,  there  are  four  main  takeaways.  If  you  remember  nothing  else,  remember  this:     1. Social  media  interactions  may  seem  superficial,  but  there  are  deeper,  more  profound   psychological  and  sociological  principles  taking  place,  such  as  attachment  forming,  connection   development  and  esteem  building.   2. Success  in  social  media  means  creating  content  that  resonates  with  users    and  creating  that   content  is  no  easy  task.  Brands  need  to:   Understand  motivations  and  behaviors  of  their  social  media  users   Evaluate  media  channels  and  tactics  that  are  likely  to  influence  consumers   Develop  content  based  on  consumer  needs     3. Measuring  the  impact  of  social  media  means  understanding  a  combination  of  vital  statistics  and   Brand  Esteem  measures.   4. Long-­‐term  success  in  social  media  takes  dedication,  understanding  and  constant  interaction  and   validation  from  users.   We  are  only  in  the  middle  of  the  mass  growth  phase  of  social  media.  Over  the  next  three  years,  as  social  media  grows  and  continues  to  take  the  majority  share  of  Internet  interactions,  users  and  businesses  will  be  forced  to  understand  and  embrace  the  science  behind  these  interactions.     Despite  the  complexities  of  social  media  interactions  and  understanding  the  psychological  and  sociological  impact  of  content,  achieving  great  affect  is  not  unattainable.  Utilizing  a  test-­‐and-­‐learn  approach,  combined  with  patience  and  interaction  with  users  will  help  to  set  a  user  or  brand  up  for  success.  Great  achievement  is  rarely  attained  overnight;  social  media  should  be  approached  with  the  same  discipline  and  learning  process  applied  to  other  marketing  and  advertising  mediums.  Set  attainable  goals,  stay  committed  and  do  everything  possible  to  understand  the  affect  of  your  social  media  presence  and  you  will  be  set  up  for  success.           26    
  27. 27.    The  Insights  Lab  is  dedicated  to  uncovering,  understanding  and  leveraging  the  best  ways  to  connect  brands  with  consumers  through  the  use  of  technology.  The  Lab  consists  of  three  diverse  groups  of  people  who  bring  new  perspectives  on  the  consumer  experience  within  the  digital  space:   A  cross-­‐disciplinary  team  of  experts  from  within  AMP  Agency     External  experts  from  different  aspects  of  the  digital  world   Consumers  that  have  real-­‐world  experience  with  technology                         technology,  in  which  hardly  anyone  knows  anything  about   science  and  technology.    Carl  Sagan                                     27