Social media actions: Why we post, share, like and comment

Next, let’s look at some of the major activities we do online and find out what psychological strings are being pulled with each of them.

Why we post

t’s not news that we love to talk about ourselves.

Humans devote about 30–40% of all speech to talking about themselves. But online that number jumps to about 80% of social media posts.

Why? Talking face-to-face is messy and emotionally involved–we don’t have time to think about what to say, we have to read facial cues and body language.

Online, we have time to construct and refine. This is what psychologists call self-presentation: positioning yourself the way you want to be seen.

The feeling we get from self-presentation is so strong that viewing your own Facebook profile has been shown to increase your self-esteem.

What’s also interesting for marketers is that the most prominent way we tend to work on self- presentation is through things—buying things and acquiring things that signify who we are.

Think: Clothes, games, music, the logo on your laptop right now.

The intensity of emotion people can feel for their favorite brands as a result of this is incredible. An experiment showed volunteers two types of photos: the logo for a brand they loved and pictures of their partners and closest friends.

Their physiological arousal to the logo was as intense as the arousal of looking at a picture of their closest friend.

Things—and by extension, brands—are a huge part of who we are.

What I take away from this is to work really hard to figure out what is aspirational about my brand that my customers can identify with.

Brands that can create aspirational ways for their community to interact with them not only create social media opportunities but also the chance to move beyond likes into something lasting.

Why we share

If we like talking about ourselves so much, what would make us share something of someone else’s?

Passing information on is an impulse that we’re hard-wired with. Just the thought of sharing activates our brain’s reward centers, even before we’ve done a thing.

Self-presentation, strengthening relationships

First, it comes back to our own self image: 68% of people say they share to give others a better sense of who they are and what they care about.

But the biggest reason we share is about other people: 78% of people say they share because it helps them to stay connected to people.

Experiments have shown that the best predictors of contagious ideas in the brain are associated with the parts that focus on thoughts about other people.

This means content designed for social media doesn’t need to appeal to a large group or an average group. it just needs to appeal to a specific person.

Social currency

And when we share the right type of content, we gain social currency—our stock goes up. 62% of people say they feel better about themselves when people react positively to what they post on social media.

How can brands create social media currency? By having something interesting to say.

Jeff Goins wrote on our blog about this little-known research paper from the 1970s that attempts to create a unified theory of what makes something interesting.

The author, Murray Davis, says all interesting content is “an attack on the taken-for-granted world of their audience.”

Like “the dress,” things that are interesting deny our assumptions in some way; they shake us up.

Why we like

44% of Facebook users “like” content posted by their friends at least once a day, and 29% do so several times per day.

We do this because we want to maintain relationships. When we favorite and like each other’s posts, we add value to the relationship, and reinforce that closeness.

We also create a reciprocity effect. We feel obliged to give back to people who have given to us, even in a small way. We want to even up the scales.

A sociologist sent Christmas cards to 600 random strangers and received 200 in return. That’s the power of reciprocity.

You see reciprocity in Snapchat, where receiving a snap makes you feel compelled to send one back. And anytime you receive a like, you’ll probably feel a little pull to reciprocate in some way, whether it’s by sharing something in return, signing up for an email list, etc.

Why we comment

Most marketers tend to think conversations with customers are hugely important. That engagement—interacting as much as possible—is what builds long-term advocacy.

So it’s surprising to find that customers don’t feel the same way. A survey of more than 7,000 consumers found that only 23% said they have a relationship with a brand. Of those who did, only 13% cited frequent interactions with the brand as a reason for having a relationship.

Consumers said shared values were a much bigger driver for a relationship than lots of interaction with a brand.

This is not to say that comments aren’t powerful. In fact, they can be incredibly so—there’s a phenomenon known as shared reality that says our whole experience of something is affected by if and how we share it with others.

85% of us say reading other people’s responses on a topic helps us understand and process information and events.

This means comments actually have the power to change our minds, and science backs this up.

  • A study on news sites showed that comments that simply attack the author, with no facts at all, are enough to change our perception of a topic.
  • On the other hand, polite reviews – even when they’re negative – cause a brand to be seen as more honest and wholesome. Users were actually willing to pay about $41 more for a watch when they saw polite negative reviews than when the reviews were removed.

Basically, any comment about you, anywhere online, is to a consumer a reflection of what kind of company you are. It’s not exactly logical, but that’s how our brains work.

This means being actively engaged in the comments section of your blog and with the customer reviews of your product is crucial, not so much to the person you’re responding to but for everyone participating in the shared reality of comments and reviews.

4 new rules for multicultural marketing

Jul 24, 2015

When it comes to multicultural marketing, brands are facing some of the biggest challenges they have ever experienced, as technology changes consumer behavior.

Developing brand affinity and maintaining loyalty, especially amongst Latino consumers, is becoming the holy grail of growth and success, as those once classified as minorities become majorities. In order to connect with the U.S.’s largest and fastest growing consumer group, brands must develop better marketing tactics.

1. Make your marketing bilingual



Today, six in 10 Hispanic adults living in the U.S. speak English or are bilingual, Pew Research reports. Hispanics in the United States break down into three groups when it comes to their use of language: 36% are bilingual, 25% mainly use English and 38% mainly use Spanish. Because Latino consumers are bilingual, creating campaigns in both English and Spanish that speak to their values will help brands make the connections they seek.

“English is the language of business and entrepreneurship; do not market to Latinas/Latinos exclusively in Spanish,” says Nely Galan, founder of the Adelante Movement. “Brands are missing the boat, as the number one goal of this consumer group is to be empowered — to build themselves, their families and their communities.”

Using both languages will enable brands to establish better connections. Galan advises them to be careful to use a voice and values that are authentically portrayed.

“While many Latinos/Latinas love Sofia Vergara and Charo, most of us don’t look or sound like them,” she says. “They are unique talents not to be manufactured and cloned over and over to serve a vision of Latinos to non-Latinos.”

“By not taking language and cultural values into context, we will not marginalize Latinos,” Galan adds.

2. Make sure digital marketing tactics match values and behavior

Latinos will choose which brands to give their money to based on a brand’s ability to effectively communicate in ways that appeal to their lifestyles and cultural values — especially across digital channels. When it comes to in social media, mobile and e-commerce, Latinos lead in the adoption of new platforms or technology.

In a recent study, BIA/Kelsey found that 

Latinos outpace non-Hispanics in the use of social media.

Latinos outpace non-Hispanics in the use of social media. The survey also found that Hispanics over-index in using mobile devices for local shopping: 23.6% of Hispanic consumers say they use tablets and 48.5% of Hispanics report using any kind of mobile device.

When it comes to social media channels that Latinos regularly use, 73% of them use Facebook, 34% use Instagram, 25% use Twitter, 21% use Pinterest and 18% use LinkedIn. Just like any consumer group, Hispanic consumers don’t want to be sold to. When brands leverage social media to connect with Hispanic consumers, they should do so in engaging ways that play to cultural relevancy and heritage. Marketers need to ask themselves questions such as:

  1. How does will resonate with the family values of my audience?
  2. How will my audience feel like this a product/services/brand that will help them accomplish their goals?

Marketers must then go one step further and answer how those questions play out across video and mobile platforms. Then, take it another step further and develop a SEM strategy that leverages YouTube’s Hispanic audience targeting and capitalizes on the growth of Spanish language search.

A great example of this was Hispanicize’s partnership with Wells Fargo to develop a YouTube series on Hispanic journalists. They produced the sessions with Latino students from the Miami Media School.

“This ongoing series on media entrepreneurship resonates strongly for Hispanic journalists at a time when many of them are literally redefining their careers and even experimenting with new business models,” says Manny Ruiz, founder of the Hispanicize event and a former journalist turned media entrepreneur.

3. Use entertainment and music as marketing tools

Last year, I wrote about how music is a critical millennial marketing tool. It’s no different with Latinos, except when it comes to the genre.

For Latinos, there are several genres that marketers may focus on, but hip-hop is number one.

“Hip-hop has been a key part of our success,” Potter says. “For Hennessy, we’ve continually created partnerships with culturally relevant influencers such as Nas and Manny Pacquiao.”

Marketers should note that Moët Hennessy’s campaigns have continually been devoid of traditional consumer segmentation. From their “Never Stop to Never Settle” to “What’s Your Wild Rabbit?” campaigns, the group has bridged generational and cultural divides by leveraging hip-hop influencers such as Nas, Common, Jermaine Dupri, Swizz Beatz and Erykah Badu in order to connect with millennial audiences.

Nas’ narration of the story of Malcolm Campbell, a caucasian 1930s car racer with a dark side, was one of the most successful components of the “What’s Your Wild Rabbit?” campaign, Potter says. This iterated the importance of taking the issue of race out of the equation and focusing on the mediums that will drive the message, thus bringing about engagement.

“Hip-hop is big with Latino millennials,” Galan adds. “Latino youth are looking for inspiration and stories, and they find a lot of resonance with hip-hop culture, as well as our own Latino music, world and culture.”

4. Develop cohesive content and programming

Content and programming are critically important when it comes to effectively marketing to Latino consumers at a point where their shopping and digital behaviors are so intertwined. In fact, 

Hispanics are 25% more likely to follow a brand and 21% more likely to share content of a brand they trust

Hispanics are 25% more likely to follow a brand and 21% more likely to share content of a brand they trustPew reports.

“Content is a relatively untapped space and brands have an opportunity for creating meaningful content that speaks to the Hispanic audience,” says Nonie Carson, a marketing specialist at Performics. “More so than language, one of the most important factors in reaching U.S. digital Hispanics is connecting advertising content to culture.”

In the past, programming has largely been dominated by broadcast media. To circumvent this, creators turned to digital channels. In 2012, for instance, Latino-focused content producers arrived in full force, gaining massive traction with online viewers. Groups like MiTu, a multi-channel YouTube network, and Young California, a West Coast network of DJs and content creators focused on hip-hop, have developed loyal following with Latino and other communities.

While digital is starting to gain traction with millennial Latinos, other mainstream broadcast giants have already taken note of catering general programming to Latino audiences as well.

“We’ve seen the commercial success of series Modern FamilyCristela and Jane the Virgin,” Galan says. “We’ve also seen the success of brand integration like the one Target did with Jane The Virgin. Latinos don’t feel there’s enough content out there for them and they’re asking, “Where can we get it?”

Galan’s advice for brands that create or integrate into Latino-focused programming is to make sure that they don’t strip out cultural value. She also advises them to create content that is creative and resonant with Latino Americans, not to Spanish culture as a whole. Many marketers make the common mistake of thinking that Latino Americans are the same as Hispanic cultures found in Brazil or Spain.

“There’s a difference between Latin and Latin America,” Galan says.

“There’s a difference between Latin and Latin America,” Galan says. “A chicano in East Los Angeles will trash something if it’s not made for them.”

Shifts in perception

As the influence of Hispanic culture grows, it’s clear that marketers must make drastic shifts in their perceptions about how to market to groups that they may have once singled out as minorities. What’s more, they must learn to build their marketing plans based on a series of cultural values and insights instead of more linear forms of data.

The evolving behavioral complexities of consumers across the U.S. is going to lead us to create deeper, more meaningful strategies that translate into successful consumer relationships across all product and company categories.

South Dakota tries new branding message: We’re better than Mars

South Dakota’s way of attracting millennials is, let’s say, out of this world.

In an attempt to re-brand the state, South Dakota’s government — with the help of a marketing firm — has launched a new ad campaign with a simple, albeit bizarre, message: Moving here is better than moving to Mars.

“Mars. The air not breathable. The surface: cold and barren,” the commercial begins. “But thousands are lining up for a chance to go there and never come back.”

But wait just a minute, would-be Mars rovers. Have you considered South Dakota?

The narrator makes the pitch: “South Dakota. Progressive. Productive. And abundant in oxygen. Why die on Mars when you can live in South Dakota?”

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 4.57.22 PM

While the ad is raising eyebrows, the Argus Leader detailed the painstaking process that went into this approach.

The goal of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development was to attract young people to a place deemed “boring.”

Commissioner Pat Costello said the “hook works” with the younger generation, whom they are trying to attract.

“You can live a life here. You can have fun here,” Costello told the newspaper. “You can have a great job and go fishing and biking and hiking. The opportunities are abundant.”

And hey, it’s better than Mars.


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