Five Insightful Social Media Studies and Takeaways
For technology companies like Google, hotel chains like Four Season Hotels, or even local restaurants here in Santa Barbara, social media is becoming one of the most cost-effective lead-generating tools. How can you better use this tool to market your business? Let’s learn from these five social media studies.
1. People often change their minds when posting on social media.
You might be familiar with the slightly uncomfortable feeling right before you publish a status. That’s right— that feeling sometimes causes people to edit, delete, or even not publish their status updates at all. Two researchers at Facebook tracked the activity of 3.9 million users and discovered that, 71 percent of users typed out at least one status or comment and then decided not to submit it. On average, they changed their mind on 4.52 statuses and 3.2 comments.
Your takeaway: just because you don’t always hear from your audience doesn’t mean that they are not listening. Maybe they just changed their minds.
2. Emotions shared online are contagious, especically positive emotions!
You may have read about the social media tip that positive emotions outperform negative emotions in terms of customer engagement. Well, here’s some scientific evidence.
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, used software to examine the emotional content of one billion Facebook posts over two years. They found that negative posts prompted about 1.29 more negative posts from friends, while positive posts prompted an average of 1.75 more positive posts.
Another explanation for the difference is that social media has made it so hard for people to show disapproval, with all the +1, like, thumb-up buttons.
Your takeaway: Keep your positive emotions on social media and deal with customer complaints quickly so that they do not spread online.
3. Your profile picture makes a big impression in a slit second.
A picture is worth a thousand words. A recent study published in Psychological Science discovered that we draw conclusions about people based on a given photo in less than a second. The study showed that even tiny variances in facial expression in a headshot can lead to wholesale changes in the way the image is perceived. Generally, they found that profile pictures with a smiling face are perceived more positively regarding trustworthiness.
Your takeaway: Pick a few profile pictures and ask your colleagues and friends to see which they like the most, or A/B test your profile picture before you put it on your social media.
4. Getting feedback leads to a greater sense of belonging.
A study by Dr Stephanie Tobin from The University of Queensland’s School of Psychology found that active participation on social media sites gave users a greater sense of connectedness.
Another study had participants post to social media but made sure that they received no responses or feedback—those participants, too, felt negative effects on their self-esteem and well-being.
Your takeaway: Always be there for your customers. Respond to their comments and questions and help them build a sense of community.
5. Arousal leads to social sharing.
We know that content that arouses stronger emotions are more likely to be shared. Why?
Researcher Jonah Berger provides a theory: Emotional arousal activates our nervous system, getting us all fired up. Sharing can provide a kind of closure that releases us from this state. In his study, aroused participants were more than twice as likely as the control group to share an article. Dr. Berger further explained: “Arousal is an aversive state, so people want to get out of it by sharing,” Mr. Berger said. Misery loves company, and so does any sort of deeply affecting feeling.
Your takeaway: Personalize your social media messages and shows strong emotions and feelings, such as happiness, excitement, and sincerity, so that your messages are more likely to be shared.