Something you may not know about social media
The fact that there is such a thing as social media should come as no surprise. What is surprising, is how confused some people still are about the role of social media in the development of a brand.
Clearing this matter up will, no doubt, happen once society has expunged those who believe that advertising is merely a means of pushing people to make a specific purchase decision-a notion that is widespread thanks to the overabundance of manipulative messages and persuasive pitches that came out of the “golden age” of advertising.
In the past, “media” was a term that referred to a place where products were promoted. These days, media itself is its own product category. Clearly, the fact that the term media has been attached to social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, causes some people to think of it as an advertising platform first. Which is the first and biggest mistake an advertiser can make when it comes to incorporating social platforms into a brand’s marketing mix.
Some marketers think of social platforms as “virtual campfires,” “cyber coffee shops” or “online cocktail parties.” These are good, real-world analogues. But they fall short of providing an understanding as to why people engage in social activity in the first place.
In the animal kingdom, being “socially” connected to others is essential to the survival of a species. According to recent discoveries in neuroscience, the same is true for human beings. In fact, numerous studies in brain function, as it relates to human behavior, make one thing clear. The brain is a social organ that is wired to respond to two things, threats and rewards.
Reams of evidence show that the brain’s “threat and reward” responses are the catalyst for most human behavior. From choosing a brand of clothing to “friending” (or “defriending”) people on Facebook, most of the actions we take daily stem from two of the most basic and fundamental human needs.
Intrinsically, people want to live. And while they are alive, they have a constant need to know that their existence matters. Everything else is, as they say, icing on the cake.
No one really wants to buy stuff, let alone be sold.
What people want is to feel necessary—important. If your brand gets them there, and you can show them how, you won’t need to “sell” them anything.
When you think about social media, think social first. And maybe forget the media part altogether.