The Science Behind Our Social Media Obsession

Modern Marketing
Social Media Marketing


Aug.17.16

Marketers everywhere will be happy to know that social media is not only here to stay, but it’s an obsession with which consumers cannot get enough! Everyone is obsessed with social media and the fixation is only growing.

While concerns for this online dependence are real, science and the human brain have a lot to do with it. Want to know why we’re all obsessed with social media? Read on to find out why we do the things we do online.

Every Generation Uses Social Media

Let’s be honest, technology has had a huge impact on our society and individual behavior in recent years. According to Psychology Today, the majority of Millennials, Generation Z and Generation Y are Facebook users, but almost 40 percent of Baby Boomers have a Facebook account; proving that just about everyone is on social media. Particularly, Facebook.

Studies find that the majority of social media users are on a smartphone and using it at work or school. The most common activities are reading through friends posts and clicking “Like.” From the Psychology Today’s study, “it appears that people are using their technology for a combination of gaining some pleasure and from avoiding anxiety about not knowing what is going on at every moment on every electronic communication platform including social media.”

A Sense of Unity & Community

Social media influence isn’t always a bad thing. One of the positive outcomes of why we all love social media so much has to do with being part of an online community. We’re social beings by nature and crave that interaction with each other.

It’s comparable to how our culture is obsessed with reality TV. There’s something intriguing and interesting to the human brain that makes us want to know what other people are doing. Social media has the power to unite us and divide us all at the same time. Other research has shown that like-based communication actually decreases the feeling of loneliness, as it conveys a sense of empathy and caring.

Positive Feedback

The meaning of a “like” on social media has such a deep connection with users that it can boost or shatter their ego. Through a series of experiments, Harvard University researchers learned that the act of disclosing information about oneself activates the same part of the brain that is associated with the sensation of pleasure, the same pleasure that we get from eating. Likes are a social currency that affect the way others perceive us and how we feel about ourselves.

How it Applies to Marketing

In recent years, the ability to like something has expanded outside the boundaries of Facebook to other platforms and websites. Whether it’s a news article, movie, product or opinion, you can press like and let the world know how you feel about a topic instantly. In these examples, liking a post communicates that a consumer is satisfied with the content. This allows people to signal to other virtual users who they don’t even know, how they feel about a brand, experience or merchandise.

I think we can all agree that consumers and your customers are active participants online. In fact, they’re slightly obsessed with the whole phenomenon. Make sure your marketing strategy includes tactics to not only be online, but to engage and gather feedback about your customers, brand, products and content. In fact, leverage your customers and turn them into a voice for your brand. Have them use their influence to become brand ambassadors.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that we use technology to reduce anxiety and reinforce positive attitudes. People can’t get enough social media and the studies continue to prove this true. Instead of taking advantage of users, use social media platforms to connect, engage and have authentic conversations with your customers.