What do President Obama, Lady Gaga, and Cristiano Ronaldo have in common? They are all on the list of the top 20 most followed on Twitter. Twitter and Facebook are two of the fastest social networking platforms, providing real-time updates of what is trending around the world—Jack Bauer would be proud. Social media has played a key role in such newsworthy events as the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street movements, as well as the media frenzies over Charlie Sheen’s “Winning” season and Anthony Weiner’s… well you know.
Businesses can incorporate relevant ideas found in social psychology to improve the effectiveness of their online marketing and social media strategies. Social psychology explores the ways in which people are influenced by their perceptions of the thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and behaviors of others. Here are five of these principles that provide greater insight into consumers’ thoughts and behaviors. Applying these concepts will enable your business to maximize the effectiveness of the content in your social media initiatives. Let’s take a closer look at why they work and how your business can implement these successful strategies.
Why is Everyone Singing “Call Me Maybe?”
We often compare ourselves to others in order to assess our own abilities, strengths, thoughts, and feelings. In psychology, this is known as the . We socially compare ourselves to others when there is no precedent as to how to behave in a particular situation.
For instance, individuals may be inspired to post a Facebook status that refers to events they are attending if they observe that their friends have posted about the event. It’s always easier to admit you’re listening to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” when you know you’re in good company. Socially comparing ourselves to others is an automatic process that occurs quickly, without much thought; therefore, we tend to compare ourselves to anyone who may be around, rather than to people with whom we share similar backgrounds and comparable experiences. However, once we’ve made this initial judgment, we take a step back and determine if this comparison is helpful.
Businesses use social comparison to benchmark and surpass the competition, as well as social media endorsements, some of which incorporate celebrities, to provide sincere testimonials about the product.
It’s common practice to examine the competition; however, those that are cognizant of the benefits of social comparison go beyond noting similarities and differences. In order to become the paradigm user of social media, these companies need to establish themselves as early adopters and trend-setters. For example, if a website designer is deciding whether a Facebook format should be switched to a timeline format, he or she might examine a competitor’s website to review its profile layout. After comparing the formats, the web master might elect to switch designs to highlight the company’s history and provide easier access to past events for its fan base.
However, the true trend-setters are forward- thinking and drive innovation, rather than react to what their competition is doing. Social comparison can be used not only to keep up with the competition, but more importantly, to stay one step ahead of them. Users of social media pride themselves on staying current by being aware of what is trending at any given time. Want to know who to thank for the whole world singing “Call Me Maybe?”
One viral video from the Biebs and quite a few Disney stars, followed by reposts from their friends and followers, started this trend and jumpstarted Carly’s career. The listening and viewing habits of people are greatly influenced by what they perceive everyone else as doing. Celebrities with a huge fan base are often the most influential, as was the case with this song.
Users often adopt the preferences of their “friends” as their own. Integrating fresh and relevant content will attract consumers interested in boosting their social media influence. These consumers are applying the principles of social comparison when they advance the trending content of businesses to increase their social media presence… a win/win situation.
People who share common views are drawn to one another, so content should be updated to reflect the interests of the target market. Do some research! Check out the profiles of those who are following and friending the company’s social media profile and tweak the content to create a profile that appeals to and personifies typical followers and customers. This process may prove time-consuming; however, the results will reflect the additional effort. More people will be drawn to the profile and view it more frequently. This additional viewership should ultimately translate into more conversions.