“On engagement, we’re already seeing that mobile users are more likely to be daily active users than desktop users. They’re more likely to use Facebook six or seven days of the week.” – Mark Zuckerberg, Founder, Facebook
Like it or not, social media has become the addiction of techno choice for the conceivable future. People are plugged in at work, at home, on the go, with strangers, and out and about with friends.
Any day, at just about any hour, if you take a look, you’ll find many people physically, metaphorically, mentally, and, well, downright literally hooked into their laptops, mobile phones and iPads. One way or another, we’re hooked.
Name your poison: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, Tumblr, Google+, apps, games and pretty much anything else connecting us to some kind of software and throught them to other people. It’s good, it’s bad and, depending on the user, it can get ugly.
The best part of the internet is that everyone has access to it. And the worst part is also that everyone has access to it. But we tend to love it for the most part—it’s connected us with so many like-minded souls from one end of the globe to the other. What did we do without them?
And what would many entrepreneurs and businesses do with them?
Social Media Dealers
Despite all of this, I find many entrepreneurs asking me the same questions: How do I make the best use of it? How do I even find the right customers via social media? How do I come to understand their needs? And how can I facilitate their needs to my business?
That’s the ultimate goal of your brand’s marketing team: how to score some serious social media addiction from others. As all reliable social media content junkies knows, you want to offer something that keeps them coming back for more.
But what makes them come back for more? Simple—something that inspires people to part with lots of time and attention, and hopefully, money.
Here’s my quick guide to your average social media addiction:
- Vine and Instagram = Social Media Light Beer. Videos and pics are easily found, cheap, and don’t last long—people always want more. A few quick hits per day, and your good to go
- Facebook = Social Media Wine and 10% Beer. It lowers inhibitions, inflates reality and makes people talk nonstop. A marketing party dream!
- Twitter = Social Media Hard Drugs. This one is considered the narcissists main jolt. Addictive, self-centered, quick, brief and wears off just fast enough to need another dose.
- Google+ = Social Media Marihuana. Depends on how deep you take it all in.
- Pinterest - If anyone figures this one out let me know.
Understanding Why People Get Hooked
Some time ago, I interviewed Dr. Pamela Rutledge, and she explained:
“Social validation is important; a Facebook like is a social signal. It affirms our existence the same way that someone nodding at you on the sidewalk does. We have a tremendous double standard about what’s ok.
“Sharing inconsequential events is superficial; liking 'likes' is dangerous; if you post a selfie you’re a narcissist. All these worries reflect a level of moral panic or techno-fear about relatively new technologies.”
It’s more important than ever for brands to realize that they no longer hold the reigns as to what people want to see, think or buy. Understanding this shifted balance can make or break your social marketing campaign.
Another sage piece of advice: how social media works is not very important. It’s what drives people to use it and how they use it that counts the most. That’s why, when we make a purchase online, it follows us everywhere. People’s needs and wants drive social media. Never forget that.
Five Traits That Drive Social Media Use
1. Fear of Missing Out
The love of being connected is a trait more than any other that has led to the curse of “fear of missing out” (FoMO). Hardly a new “fear,” but it’s a biggie on social media. (Check your FoMO ranking here.)
Easily the best tool for social media analytics. But marketers have largely ignored the underlying motives. Consider this: every Tweet, Linked In, Facebook and Twitter share amounts to personal branding. We don’t care if others engage so long as they share it.
3. Perceived Value
I’ve said it more times than I can recall: Perception = reality. regardless of how poor the person’s receptors are. At the very least, a successful social campaign delivers one thing: incentivized value, one that meets the needs of the customer base.
In Seth Godin’s book, We Are All Weird, he said:
“As soon as consumers enter the marketplace, they gain power, because power comes from choice. Consumer power is a brand new force, and it’s growing exponentially as a result of more affluence running in parallel with more choice.”
5. Social Comparison/Self-Esteem
In order to assess feelings, strengths, weaknesses, abilities and perspectives, people often make comparisons (again, it doesn’t matter how wrong they might be). Social comparison also relates to people’s self-esteem.
Dr. Rutledge said: “It is not surprising that people might experience an increase in self-esteem after having their social connections (and support) reaffirmed. Social connections are a valuable asset. That’s why we call it social capital.”
Getting Social Media Junkies Hooked
So now you want to earn people’s time and attention. Good. That means your branded content has to be leveraged across the right social media channels. In other words, you can’t wait to be found. Like working out so as to build muscle, you gotta push it. And in this game your one of two things: the dealer or the producer.
- Dealer. You supply the content people need, and along the way, advertise other things they might need. You’re slapping your brand name on user-generated content in exchange for time and attention.
- Producer. You create the content and control the user experience. Videos, games, audios, entertainment, apps, whatever. Anything that might get them hooked on your brand. This also ensures they recommend your brand to their friends and followers.
Time and experience has given us a better level of understanding about social media than we had five or even two years ago. Whether or not you go with the same flow as the next best content creator, or create an innovating stream of content, the best advice anyone can give you is to blend in and become a part of the crowd you want to impress.
Just one word of caution: Don’t become a social media narc. People will turn off even faster than they turned onto you. And you don’t want that—do you?