Trend Report: The Psychology of Social Media


Disclaimer: This article is an excerpt from our second issue of our e-magazine, Crunch.

preston-social media

Photo Credit to our ChurpChurp Alpha @prestonles

Is this situation familiar to you? You go to work and spend 8 hours on a laptop, go home, kick off your shoes, take a shower and then face another device yet again. In our fast-paced and quick-changing times, it is almost impossible to detox from social media. We always need to keep up with the why, the what and the how of the day or the week. Why do we do that?

When we think about the likes, the shares and the comments on pictures, they might come off as inconsequential but they actually matter. WHY? Because they are every element that make us human- they spell our addictions, our desires, our anxiety and our joy. All put together, they are essentially made up of two very basic neurochemicals in our brains, namely dopamine and oxytocin.

Dopamine creates the “WANT” reflex; desires which seek unpredictability and reward cues in us. Research actually found that people found it harder to resist tweeting than smoking! WOW.

The oxytocin in our brains on the other hand, is the “cuddle chemical” that is responsible for the feeling of trust in social media users. Did you know that 43% of Facebook users are more likely than other internet users to feel that people can be trusted?

Updating on social media

So why do people update their social media about themselves so very often?

One of the more prominent ways we portray ourselves is through things and they have to signify who we are. That would then create the intensity of how some people would feel for their favourite brands. Some research done in the past found that social media users have the same amount of psychological arousal to logos shown to them as to when they were shown a picture of a loved one or best friend.

If you like talking about yourself, why share a brand?

Many of us are unaware that we are hardwired to pass information around. Did you also know that 68% of people share the brands and things they love with people around them because it helps others perceive them and what they care for better? People share with others because they want to self-define, have self-fulfillment and to share the “causes”that they believe in. Hence, when creating content on social media about a product, it doesn’t have to cater to the masses but only to specific people.

While it is quite normal that your brand(s) would want product awareness to reach the masses, try consider targeting a certain age group, gender or even race that you would want to reach. Doing so will allow for the correct audience to react to your brand presence instead of an audience that your product does not cater to.

Using social media to your advantage


Photo Credit to our Nuffie @nicolevalerietan

There is just so much happening online. What should you keep track of?

Comments are an important and powerful assessment of the credibility of a product. Comments are also known as a “shared reality” as consumers shared how reading another’s response would help them understand their thought processes.

Your brand might have a few positive and negative comments from users and these can’t be controlled. So try considering that while negative comments do exist, they have already created interactions and talk about the product(s) you are offering!

One key takeaway for you and your brand is that you have now created a platform for discussion among your users that you can use for your benefit – product improvement!

2. Selfies
Selfies are the “in thing” right now and rightly so. “Why?” you may wonder. It is because humans in general pay attention to a person’s facial features more than anything else in a picture. When a picture has someone’s face in it, it is 38% more likely to receive likes and 32% more likely to receive comments.

If you want to focus on brand advocacy, then a selfie or a photo with both a person (the influencer) and the product would work best. However, it is recommended to avoid “in your face” hard sell product placement that is off tangent to the influencer’s organic content, otherwise it might have a negative response instead.

3. Nostalgia
Nostalgia is a universal feeling that we all can relate to. When people think about a past experience or a good time they had, they are more willing to spend on products that represent that time frame of their life.

How can you use this to your advantage? Try selling your product with a throwback post about how it was used during a significant time of an influencer’s life and how that would make it best for future use. Another way nostalgia plays an important role can be through touching on experiences that your target market might share with someone they look up to, e.g., influencers. An experience from childhood times, a community event or even a personal life experience.

4. Colour Usage
Are you one of those marketers who fancy adding just about any colour to your ads? Maybe you’ll reconsider this as many consumers make decisions based on the colours portrayed alone. A brand should pick colours that support the personality they want to portray through their products.

Some colour pairings for your consideration: blue, to represent calmness and innocence; mint green, to give the feeling of freshness; and red, to reinforce boldness.

5. Emotional Triggers
There are just so many tricks used as conversation starters when a conversation takes place face-to-face, so why not through an ad as well? Brands can consider using humour in comment replies, photos and video captions. Humour shows enthusiasm that brands put into their products and has been shown to drive social media engagement as it appears to be more engaging as well.

Take for example Wendy’s Twitter account that replies to countless customers’ tweets with so much humour that it often goes viral! A small gesture goes a long way, so next time you see a fan’s tag, take notice and put aside time to reply.

Whether you are a client, an influencer doing branded content, or even just participants of the social media community, you are always an active participant instead of a silent listener, so make it count.

Written by Samantha Keo

If you need any help in creating ideas for your campaigns for the new year, you can reach out to us at and we will be more than happy to advise you!

For more interesting content like this one, do check out the second issue of “Crunch” here

Melissa Kartini
Nuffnang Community Team

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