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Psychology Behind Social Media


So it’s finally time to leave work, you’ve finished your shift and you’ve accomplished another long day of staring at your computer screen. You walk through the front door to be greeted by another one of your favourite bottles of bubbly. You sit down on the sofa, put your feet up, and then tweet to your friends how lovely it is to sit down and relax. But why? Why is it so much easier to communicate through a computer than face to face?

When we communicate with someone we are continuously processing wordless communication. We are communicating via body language, facial expression, tone, eye contact and physical distance. We can determine how someone is feeling by the way they are standing or moving. For example, if someone is slouched in their chair with their arms relaxed and has intermittent eye contact with a placid tone, they are most likely to be relaxed. Whereas if I went to speak to a colleague with my arms waving around and a short distance between me and them with a raised tone I would most likely be angry. Emotion is required through face to face communication, the non-verbal communication is how others can tell how we are feeling, and they add another level of depth to our conversations.

This extra effort in face to face communication can be stopped by online communicating. Our emotions can usually be found on the keyboard with the extra exclamation marks you may have received on your last email or the ‘kind’ removed from ‘kind regards’.

Social media facilitates a virtual form of interaction – it is not real. Through social media we can experience all emotions but can never actually be physically injured. We do not need to waste time showing the nonverbal communication used in everyday life. That ‘ping’ we jump to every time our phone lights up is the desire to know who wants us, we are not bothered about the content. However, we seem to continuously seek uplifting content on social media that is going to make us feel better. If things are posted on social media in a negative way our mood mirrors this.

We can incorporate psychology behind social media into our business marketing. In 1915, researcher Edward Thorndike discovered something called the ‘Halo Effect‘. It is the theory that if a person believed another to have one strong positive trait – like being helpful, this would automatically lead the person to evaluate the other to have further positive qualities – like intelligence or perhaps a good work ethic. But how can I incorporate this theory into my business? By gaining a good reputation with your clients, producing high end products, interesting articles and having consistent good communication with them; they will believe you excel at numerous other things within your business as well. Businesses that understand this theory will do well to weld this into their social media and marketing.

You need to understand your audience before you post anything on social media. You need to have a thorough understanding of what the client is expecting from your page and why they’re there. Studies show that 60% of users are interested in learning about your organisation, whilst 38% just want to have a look at your services – are these pages therefore easily accessible? How your clients view your content is what you should be looking at when developing your social media further and deciding what information you want to send out and develop on.

Do you get frustrated at all the sales messages across the internet when you are just trying to find information without being pressured into buying something? This is the number one rule, try to steer away from sounding like a sales person. Whilst social media is good for getting information about your organisation out there, you should never try and pressure your viewers into buying it.

Another way to get interactions on your social media posts is with your colleagues. Nobody wants to be the first person to click on something, they want the post to have engagements first so they know if it something worth reading. Your colleagues can boost your posts by liking, sharing and clicking on them on their personal accounts.

In conclusion, it is important to remember that social media isn’t about technology. It is about viewers and understanding how their minds work and what they need to view – in order to develop your social media and gain a larger client list.

If you enjoyed reading this click here to see our blog about Bebo and Myspace.

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Human psychology represented by two heads filled with cogs