Friday, April 24, 2020

Social Media and Emotions... Do You Feel It?

Social media is a huge part of our everyday life.  We login to see the news, check in with friends, and even look at past posts we made from years ago.  May it be for the information or connections, social media platforms are waiting for us. 

The posts waiting for us are sure to be a mixture of boring, thrilling, emotional, and not.  With over 3 billion users worldwide, posts are seen over and over again (Brady, Gantman, & Bavel, 2020).  Studies have been done to find out why posts that are emotional grab attention more than neutral text. Brady, Gantman, & Bavel (2020) found that moral and emotional text rank on the same level as eye-catching.   Adding a picture or video will make it even more appealing to readers.   Between a picture and an emotional story, you’ll have the readers hooked!  Since everyone has emotions, a person feels more connected to an emotional post or story.  

These studies also found that once a post is popular and getting attention, more people will be interested because others thought it to be interesting (Brady, Gantman, & Bavel. 2020).  The more likes or retweets not only tells the algorithm to show the post to more people, it shows the readers that other readers find that information valuable.  This is further proof that we care about what everyone else is doing and thinking.  

Playing on emotions helped a Girl Scout Troop sell over 1,200 boxes of cookies in 3 days this past March.  With Coronavirus closing everything down, the girls were not able to work their regularly scheduled cookie booths on their last weekend in sales.   The leaders got permission to post via social media.  A story about how the girls would not make their goal of sold boxes for their trip to Disney World tugged at the hearts of many neighbors.  Miraculously the troop sold out of their stock of cookies and continued to sell for other troops in the area.   I am comfortable saying the emotional side of the social media post is what made the readers purchase cookies. Other troops who took to social media with basic info about having cookies and the price but did not sell many boxes.  Maybe they should have put a little more heart into it! 

Securing constant social engagement on social media helps to ensure that posts are seen (Hall-Phillips, Park, Chung, Anaza, & Rathod, 2016).  As mentioned before, the more people who interact with the post, the more people will see it.  Building a brand and staying with that brand will help keep social engagement up.  Being consistent with posting and being real in those posts help readers connect.  Readers want to feel like they know the person behind the brand.  Emotionally, the connection is important. 

As you see, social media platforms and posts are waiting for the next time you can log in.  The information changes with each moment.  The posts you see can be straight forward or full of emotion, either way, you are drawn in.  Next time, might you consider leaving a heart to engage?

Brady, W. J., Gantman, A. P., & Van Bavel, J. J. (2019). Attentional capture helps explain why moral and emotional content go viral. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 1–11.

Hall-Phillips, A., Park, J., Chung, T., Anaza, N., & Rathod, S. (2016). I (heart) social ventures: Identification and social media engagement. Journal of Business Research: Volume 69(2) p. 484-491.

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