In a talk to MSc eMarketing students at Oxford Brookes University, Paul Fennemore defended that any Social Media strategist needs to master certain aspects of human behaviour if they are to make informed choices. This post explains, in very basic terms, 6 such key drivers: altruism, hedonism, homophily, memetics, narcissism and tribalism.
Social Media may be a relatively recent technological phenomenon, but the behavioural drivers that explain why and how the various platforms are used are old. So old, that you would be a fool to ignore them.
Here is a very brief explanation of 6 of those drivers – presented in alphabetical order – and how they apply to social media.
Definition: Unselfish devotion to the welfare of others
Application: Social network users readily share information with other users. They share information because they believe it may be helpful to the other users. This behaviour occurs even when the users do not know who benefits from the information being shared. [Example]
Definition: Belief that pleasure is the main – or only – good in life
Application: Hedonism can affect social media in two ways:
1) People use social media because doing so is an enjoyable activity. [Example]
2) People use social media because it is provides a novel way of accessing activities that give them pleasure, such as meeting people. [Example]
Definition: Tendency of human beings to associate with others similar to them. May be encapsulated in the saying that ‘birds of a feather flock together’.
Application: People tend to join social networks whose users share similar interests or beliefs. [Example]
Definition: the replication of ideas, habits and beliefs across individuals
Application: For a marketing message to go viral, it will need to exhibit the following characteristics: 1) be assimilated by a social media user; 2) be retained in that user’s memory; 3) be replicated by the user in a way that is observable by other users; 4) be transmitted to other users (who, in turn, assimilate, retain and further replicate the message). [Example]
Definition: Excessive fascination with oneself
Application: Social networks provide an outlet for individuals to engage in self-promotion. Specifically, research suggests that Facebook users are more likely to be extraverted and narcissistic. [Example]
Definition: A person’s strong feeling of identity and loyalty towards a specific group (the tribe), meaning that the person derives social value from participating in that community.
Application: Social media enables continued interactions between supporters of a brand, and between the consumers and the companies, thus increasing engagement. [Example]
What other key drivers of human behaviour would you add to this list?
PS – I am compiling a list of classical texts that any marketer should read. What are your suggestions?