The Psychology of Social Media – Part 1

SOCIAL media has integrated itself into everyday life seamlessly. From catching up with old friends to entire marketing campaigns launched online, social media has affected the way we interpret, digest and handle information and connections. From personal lives to the business world, the online domain of social media is an important one. This does not look like it will be changing anytime soon, so for many professionals – journalists, advertisers and marketers to name a few – making the most out of social media is imperative.

This two-part blog post will look at some of the psychological traits that have found their way into social media. From a business perspective, knowing how your audience will interpret what you have to offer can help you tailor your message. These insights are here to help you make the most out of your social media strategies online, as well as to help you understand your own audience a little better.

The human brain is a fantastic, dynamic beast that is constantly changing its behaviour when a new experience arises. As social media has made its way into everyday life, our brains have adapted accordingly. In short, there are two major things that social media has changed in our brain behaviour. We now have, by and large, shorter attention spans and a greater ability to multitask.

Knowing this, marketing can be tailored towards the short attention spans that are now prevalent online. In order to get a message across, it must be quick, memorable and easily digestible. This can often present itself with snappy tweets or conveying a general message through little bursts of engagements.

Along with our shortened attention spans, social media has helped us become much more adept multitaskers. Social media has, by its nature, trained our brains to constantly shift over from one article to a conversation to a funny gif image. For a marketer, this means donning many hats and trying to get messages out across different platforms. Social media strategies are being devised not just with a PC in mind, but your smartphone, tablet and laptop, too.

The study of neuroeconomics brings together a trifecta of professions in economics, psychology and neuroscience. For marketers, this field has become a major focus on how people make decisions as well as their thought processes when buying something. By looking at what the brain is doing during a transaction or browsing a shopping list, marketers can determine exactly what it is that makes someone ‘pull the trigger’ and buy something.

Part two of this guide will look into some more psychological concepts that are geared towards social media, including transactive memory and the fear of missing out.