Free Candy: Understanding the Psychology Behind Social Media Marketing


When you think of social media marketing, resources such as Twitter, Facebook, hashtags, and clever quips typically come to mind. In fact, many people simply think that social media marketing is a free, simple tool to better brand and market their business.

While that’s true, there’s actually a science behind social media marketing strategies: social psychology.

Dave Hawley writes in a Fast Company article about how the inner workings of the human brain contribute to the successes, or failures, of social media campaigns.

Why do we share things? Why do we click those links? Why do we obsessively check our news feeds? Simply put: brain candy, according to Hawley.

Consumers find pleasure in sharing, viewing, and browsing topics and content that fit their personalities and interests. While this might sound deceptively obvious (and it kind of is), achieving those brain candies in your marketing campaign means that you need to have more than just witty hashtags and a deep understanding of how to YOLO.

Understanding your active consumer base and the consumers that you’re striving to reach as you scale your business with that baller marketing strategy means that you and your marketing team have to invest some time in consumer research.

Tools such as big data, trend analysis, and consumer satisfaction responses can all play a part in developing your marketing campaign, but to truly understand the psychology of the user, you need to also think like a consumer.

Simple questions such as “Would I buy that?” or “Would my neighbors share that?” can only get you so far. Diving deep in to big data sets and consumer psychology can give your business a deeper understanding, and a better starting point for your strategy, than simply having a twenty-something from marketing bang out a witty Tweet.

Appealing to your customers’ personalities means understanding the demographic your products and services appeal to in majority. Obviously, no one marketing campaign can please 100% of your consumer base, but a smarter, psych-savvy campaign can probably net you a hefty percentage.

Check out Hawley’s entire article on social media marketing brain candy and why consumers share it at FastCompany.

About The Author

Laura Whitener is the managing editor of Firmology, technology focused news and insight for small business owners and online entrepreneurs. Laura graduated from DePaul’s notable Master of Writing and Publishing program in Chicago. She survives on coffee, apples, and Pandora.

When she isn’t editing or writing, Laura enjoys knitting, adding to her massive book collection, and culinary adventures.

You can find Laura on Twitter and LinkedIn.