Let me start off by saying our agency talks a lot about social media, and I mean a lot. I would say in an average day our team discusses social media more than we are on social media. Since the average person spends 3+ hours of their day on social platforms, that's a pretty insane thought. The one thing that comes up regularly in conversation is how baffling it is that most brands simply don't get social media.
Start with the "Get"
Most business owners have heard of the TED-God Simon Sinek and his Start With Why philosophy. If you haven't, it's life changing. Starting with the "get" is my humble attempt to explain the fundamental problem with brands in social media today. Understanding your fans and customers and learning why they are on social media in the first place is fundamental in reaching them. If you run an ad or post stating to "buy a car for $29,995, 0% APR, special once in a lifetime sale" (that will, surprise, surely happen again next month). Even if you are car shopping, you are likely not in the mental state to have someone throw a marketing message down your throat. If you are a brand, stop flipping doing it.
What's The Psychology of Social Media, Really?
In order to market properly on social media, we need to take a deep dive into this world and explore it in detail. Side note: There are some pretty amazing discoveries and thoughts on the psychology of the social media user out on that thing called Google. If you're a science geek like me, it's pretty awesome stuff.
I'm going to give you the blatantly obvious everyman perspective that is so shockingly slap-you-in-the-face apparent. People want a break from their everyday routine. They work from 9-5, go to the gym, eat dinner, spend time with family, watch Netflix, go to bed and repeat. For most of us, this is a pretty good example of our everyday lives. Social media enables us to enjoy the pleasure and connect with the pains of our friends and families. It allows us to be part of the global community in an instant. At its very core, social media is a way to escape reality and share your thoughts with the world. So, does that mean there's no place for a marketing message? Of course, there is.
If you have ever seen Tron, you know users are humans who control the computer in the real world. They enact progressive change in the digital landscape. This isn't an overly insightful thought; however, it's exactly like the social media user of today. In Tron, users have special abilities that the programs do not. The best social media personalities like Gary Vaynerchuk have these Tron-like abilities. The rest of us tend to try, but guess what? We are all users, so with one clever thought you could be the next GaryVee too. You can never predict what will actually go viral but you are in control of making a valuable connection with your customers.
From the marketing side, explore how your user acts and behaves and determine what he or she wants then give it to them. Some dedicated thought to finding out what they want is what modern marketing is all about. The most successful marketing today is user-centric.
To continue the car sales motif, if your user is a 24-year-old college graduate looking to buy a car, don't post a sales flyer on Facebook, post an article on how awesome self-parallel parking cars are for city living. Make the introduction with a piece of content that they would really love to read, and solve an everyday challenge of theirs. Trust me; they will get to the part that you are selling the $29,995 car that self parks.
If you Get your user and make some simple judgment calls on the content they want to see when they are enjoying their 3+ hours of social media each day, your company will stand out and create a lifelong customer.
Some Inspiring Content
A good next read if you want to learn more about social comes from our CSMO, Megan Cornell: 2017: The Social Marketing Revolution.
If you want to dive deeper into the science of social media, check out Courtney Seiter's blog on The Deep Impulses That Drive Us Online.
*Average social media time spent source: Marketing Charts Report