The psychology of social media - the relationship between our customers and their social media profiles

Anastasia Lloyd-Wallis


Social media has taken over all aspects of our lives. It influences our friendship circle, who our role models are, and ultimately how we buy products and interact with brands.

Retailers find it difficult to understand which social media platform they should be utilising and how to connect effectively with their customers. To recognise the optimum social media strategy, we must first know our customers and their personality types, then we can reveal what drives them to use social media.

There are three dominant reasons that drive people to interact on social media;

  1. We want to be the centre of our social world, gain adoration and be a trendsetter.
  2. Hunger for knowledge – using social media as a method to educate and develop skills, whilst also showcasing your knowledge to a wider circle.
  3. Social media is a security blanket – Our friend’s actions on social media act as a benchmark and gives reassurance that we are living our lives “correctly”. Social proof that we are purchasing the “right” product or have the “right” interests.

Retailers need to understand who their customers are and what personality types they have. What emotional drivers are influencing them to be social media.

Once you know WHY they use social media, you can then determine how to connect with them, what platforms to utilise, and how your brand should talk to them on social media.

Let’s look into each platform on a deeper level:

Firstly – Facebook, users are looking for security, trust and reliability. They discuss things with their peers and friends, whilst receiving honest reassurance and approval.

Then there’s Instagram, which is used very differently. Customers on this platform desire to be seen and to be the centre of their social circle. The goal is to earn status from their friends and even strangers online. It is all about fun and expression.

The growth of YouTube is another key area for brands to consider. Customers are drawn to this platform for knowledge. With emotional drivers being efficiency and precision, they want to discover information that is educational. Even using YouTube to follow celebrities is building customer’s knowledge that they often share with others.

Pinterest is a very different platform. We see customers using this platform when they’re looking for inspiration, pleasure and fantasy. It is about creating an experience to inspire customers to interact with your brand.

Then we have the new kid on the block, Tik-Tok. it’s all about new, fast and entertaining! Driving emotions of curiosity, spontaneity and impulse. Customers are on Tik-Tok because they want to be surprised and want a timeout from their lives.

As we can see each social media platform evokes different emotions within the human brain. We know different personalities seek different emotional experiences and therefore each platform can be used to target a different customer.

After understanding your customer, their personality types and their emotional drivers for social media, you can then pinpoint the social media platforms best suited for your brand. The next step is to create content that will resonate with your customers and influence them to interact with your brand.

To understand your consumers in detail, their emotions and why they behave the way they do get in contact at anastasia@retaildoctor.com.au.

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