Many companies have a difficult time understanding why something like social media or Twitter is relevant to their business, and many are wisely reluctant to pour money into anything that they don’t know how to use. It wouldn’t be smart to jump into social media without a broader strategy of how you will leverage it. But unfortunately, it is the first thing that often happens when B2B brands decide they “need to be active in social media.”
It is important to understand what has made social media so incredibly popular. People join social media because of their need to be social. This sounds simple, but it is much more than that. In 1943, Abraham Maslow defined a hierarchy of needs in his greatly influential paper “A Theory of Human Motivation.” The basic premise is that after our most basic needs like food and water have been met, we are driven by motivations that are rooted deep in our psyche. Among the most powerful of these are the need for love and belonging, and the need for esteem and self-respect. These are powerful human motivators, and social media is a direct source of feedback that can satisfy or exacerbate these needs. That is why it can be compelling to the point of addiction. It’s like heroin for needs that come closely behind food and water.
If your company is going to be successful building a presence on social media, this is an incredibly important perspective for you to understand because you need to exploit the psychology of it. You can learn to tap into the undeniable, selfish and innately wired motivations of social media users.
It sounds evil, but it’s not. It’s actually learning to contribute to the community in a way that adds value. Your customers will even thank you for it. We all have a psychological need to share things that will make us look better to other people because it helps us feel loved and respected. We can’t help it; it is part of being human.
When companies post in social media, they should think about the motivations of social users and reward them. Think about what you have to share, not what you want to sell. Think about what your company does for its customers and identify the things will make them smarter or more helpful to their friends and associates. Find the things that are at the nexus of the things they care about, and the things they want their friends to know they care about. If you can’t do this and you still feel the need to be on Facebook, just buy some ads. They will sell them to you and there are some pretty smart ways to target… But that is a post for another day.
If you enjoyed this post and want a few more ideas on how to improve your content. Stay tuned for our next post: Five Venn Diagrams Guaranteed to Improve Your Social Media.
– Scott LoSasso, President