Social Media Marketing-The Psychology of Social Media-The 7 A’s

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Over the last 4 years, I have been quietly observing a lot of different folks in social media, from Chris Brogan, to Robert Scoble, Brian Clark, Darren Rowse, Mari Smith, Shama Hyder, and the list is almost endless. How they operate. what they say and do. And of course there are hundreds more that could be listed.

But I have learned an immense amount of good stuff from each. It is like going back to University.

I have found though that psychology plays a HUGE part in the social media marketing world. It plays a bigger part them most people realize due to the newness of social media and the power behind it’s capabilities.

There are what I call “Tier One” social media rock stars, (The term used by everyone today)  and the “Tier two” participants. These 2 “social media zones” are interesting to observe from a marketing process, and also from a human standpoint.

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Over the last 3.5 years, I also have been studying the Psychology of Social media and why people are into it, what their goals and reasons are, what they are looking for, and many other focuses just for myself, as being a marketer.

I found some interesting things during this.

Today, I want to quickly go over what I call the “7 Psychological A’s of Social Media” and the different needs that are a part of this growing social venue. It is what I have observed, and consistently found as part of this awesome new online world.

Ok …what are they? What are people LOOKING for in Social Media from a psychology standpoint?

1) To be Acknowledged.

I have observed that the first thing most people want and need are ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. They want to be acknowledged that they are now on the social media scene, and simply, ‘Hey I am here!” There hand is raised and they simply want to be noticed and felt welcome. No one does this better than Chris Brogan, who really is a prince and powerhouse in the social media zone. He acknowledges EVERYONE- as busy as he is. That is why folks really love this guy. He is REAL In social media marketing, and being REAL is one of the 7 anchors of social media-some call it AUTHENTIC.

Simply letting people know that they are welcome and acknowledged makes a HUGE difference to people that are new in social media. Take the time to acknowledge…it will bless the other person immensely.

2) To Gain Attention.

People once acknowledged, desire some form of attention-as simple as responding to a follow on twitter , or a post on a blog, or friends on Facebook. Simple. To the point. But when attention is given to someone beyond “hello”, it really does make a lot of potential conversation down the road. And if you are a marketer, conversation is critical in the social media zone.

Conversation rules. So does acknowledging folks new to the party.

3) To Be Approved Of.

People LOVE to be approved of-especially when they have put themselves out in a world they know nothing about, and trying to contribute to the conversation. A simple “Thank you for the message” or a “great share!” will go a long ways to drawing that person into your sphere of influence and world.

Most people have not so good self images, and we can help them in social media by approving, encouraging, and letting them know that we not only approve of them, but “thumbs up” to their efforts in the contribution to the conversation. Darren Rowse  is really good at this on his blog. He will simply mention some one’s efforts on his blog, and that shows the person that they are on the right track, and keep up the good work. Again, this is critical to marketing online today if you are going to be a social media marketer.

Approve of what your prospects are doing and saying. Build the relationship.

4) To Be Appreciated.

People in social media love appreciation. Who in this world does not? We all do! There are those rare individuals though that give an immense appreciation to the party. Take Zna Trainer.She has got to be one of the most appreciation showing people I know out in the social world. She takes the time to let people know that they are appreciated for their work, and for their tweets, and for their facebook notes, and again the list is long what she does.

The same thing with Carrie Wilkerson.She is a breath of fresh air when it comes to letting people know she appreciates people’s efforts. She is a rare person, like Zna, and both bring an immense value to social media, not only in their ideas, writings and posts and tweets, but just who they are.

Appreciation also must go to prospects as well. Let them know you appreciate their social media efforts and also them as a person. This is what being REAL is about.

5) To Be Acclaimed.

People love to see their name in lights- and there are 2 different ways that can happen.

a) Being answered or featured in a conversation.
b) Being retweeted, featured, or talked about in a conversation.

Acclamation is important to people that are getting their brand out in social media. Being acclaimed-even slightly says, “GREAT JOB!” and “KEEP IT UP!” Who does not love that type of acclaim? And again, there is no one better who acclaims others than Mari Smith.She really puts people in the spotlight-even unknowns, for a job well done. She is so good at it, as well as being the facebook maven!

That is why she has been blessed with success, along with so many others. Psychologically, people love acclaim, and when that happens, they have a tendency to also acclaim the acclaimer! (Is that a word?) Find good stuff and share it. Good posts on blogs. Good notes on Facebook. Good tweets on twitter. Good writings in journals. Good articles found in directories. Good attempts at sharing. All these are critical in the big plan of social media.

6) To Feel Assured.

People today in social media want to be Assured that they are doing the right thing, being the right person, and taking the right actions. As simple as this seems, people need it. In this social media zone, assuring people that they belong, they are needed, and they are growing, is another critical factor. It may or may not mean much to the person that doing the assuring, but in marketing, it is one of the most critical factors in the process. Assuring people that you are going to be there for them if they do business with you, that customer service is there for them and you will be there for whatever reason-if they have a challenge.

Now THAT is reassuring the prospect of a good decision and good move. Brian Clark,  “copyblogger” fame is GREAT at reassuring his readers. He does it often, and does it well. “You can do this,” is a simple but yet profound message in all his posts. THAT is also a reflection of the character that he and so many others share in the social media zone.

People also want to know that they are relevant and needed. Assure people that what they are doing, writing, saying, or sharing is helping you. Go out on a limb and say it. “Great job and thank you for sharing this blog post- it really helped me.”

Goes a long way.

7) To Be A Part Of.

People in the social media zone want to feel a PART OF something that is happening and bigger than they are. Marketing to these folks on social media is simple.

Include them.
Invite them.
Impose upon them.
Engage them.

They not only will be feeling a part of something, but also wanting to contribute to the whole that will help everyone. Yes, I know there are exceptions, as there are everywhere else. There are always those slimey types that try and break the system.

But you be the person that people want to be around and connected to because they like how they feel about themselves when they are connected to you and your company. When they read your stuff. When they are on one of your  sites. When they see you constantly bringing Value to the conversation.

Make people feel a part of what YOU are doing, and they will spread the word-and quickly. isn’t that what marketing is all about? Not just people talking about you-but people talking FOR YOU?

These are the 7 A’s in the Psychology Social Media Marketing Zone. Hopefully this helps explains some things that impact your efforts in your social media marketing.

blessings..doug firebaugh
(c) 2008/all rights reserved

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Doug Firebaugh
Doug Firebaugh is an in demand speaker, trainer, author, and successful entrepreneur that has, along with his wife Jodi, dedicated his life to helping people radically accelerate Success in their life. His training articles, blogs, and e-zines are read by more than one million people a month. He has helped over 10,000 people reach an annual income of more than $50,000 a year. His training products are shipped all over the world and he stays on the road every weekend teaching the Success Passion Message God has put in his heart. He is endorsed by Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, among many others and has shared the stage with a literal whose-who of the speaking industry, including Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, Mark Victor Hansen, Denis Waitley, Tommy Hopkins, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, Les Brown, Brian Tracy, to name a few. A born again believer, Doug and Jodi give all the credit for any accomplishments to God. They live in Birmingham, Michigan.
Doug Firebaugh
Doug Firebaugh

13 thoughts on “Social Media Marketing-The Psychology of Social Media-The 7 A’s

  1. Doug, this is great and you’ve really hit the nail on the head, however, whats interesting, is that, at it’s core everything you’ve mentioned is about satisfying the ego..but even moreso, its all about communicating.

  2. Doug,
    I think this is a good list of the benefits of online interaction that can accrue to users who participate actively. But I do think there are many social competencies online, and some of them serve psychological “needs” indirectly — contributing to wikipedia, filesharing, reviewing, inviting, and so on.

    I agree with you that much of online interaction serves the purpose of obtaining, or seeks, the “stroke” — a term taken from Transactional Analysis. And that this can come in multiple forms. But I think there are different kinds of users, some self-focused, some other-focused, and some activity-focused. And that for each type there are different interpersonal and social competencies — skills, if you will, and styles of using personal resources to “satisfy” psychological needs and interests.

    There are a few “needs”-oriented strategies you didn’t mention but that would fit. One is “giving” — users who get by giving. Another is lurking — users who are shy but who do liked to see that they have been viewed/seen. Another is “contributing to the common good” – users who believe in collaborative spaces. And another is mediating — the mavens, hubs, and connectors who need less direct recognition but do get fulfillment from connecting people.

    Check it out:


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  6. I just discovered your blog and enjoyed your post.

    I’ve noticed that, when it comes to social media, most people tend to focus on technology. “What’s the hot new app?” But I think an understanding of human psychology (how we behave individually) and sociology (how we behave in groups) is just as necessary.

    Just because people “can” (new technology) doesn’t mean they “will” (human psychology). After all, people can still read newspapers. They just choose not to.

    Where natural human inclinations intersect the technology that constrains or enables those inclinations is where the magic happens.

    Spread the fire. GS

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