Behavioral Psychology and Social Media Marketing

Behavioral psychology is one of the first things that they teach you when you go into college. It’s introductory psychology, and it’s pretty simple to understand. behavioral psychologyPeople are peculiar. Trying to understand what makes them behave can drive you absolutely batty so you may as well give up on that. Trying to figure out why you didn’t make the sale or what causes people to bounce right off of your site can be balanced in the confines of using behavioral psychology in your social media updates.

Ok, Psychology 101. Pretty simple, and, if I had half a brain I would have started all of these social media psychology posts with this one, but I didn’t. Alas, it was not to be. However, I can make up for it by showing you some pretty neat things that you can do to determine someone’s behavior in social media that will drive traffic right to your site.

What Is Behavioral Psychology

I’ll start with this:

“Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select — doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors.”
–John Watson

John Watson believed that behaviors could be trained or changed given a certain time limit and scenario that he could control.  Behaviorism also known as behavioral psychology, is a theory of learning based upon the idea that all behaviors are acquired through conditioning. Conditioning occurs through interaction with the environment. Behaviorists believe that our responses to environmental stimuli shapes our behaviors.

I believe that this is the key to someone who is looking to attract traffic from social media.

So you’re not getting that much traffic and people aren’t noticing you right now on social media?  By using conditioning methods you can grab people’s attention over time.  That person that never knew you existed 3 months ago, just by seeing your updates on a regular basis, can become conditioned to visit or share because when they actually see you over and over on a social platform, that means they are interacting with your environment.  Maybe they’re not actually interacting with your updates, but they ARE seeing them.

Conditioning variables like these prove that, over time, people’s behavior’s can change.  That person that never gave you a second glance 3 months ago, could start to interact with you by sharing.  Perhaps a couple of months after that (and maybe not that long), that person will eventually become a regular visitor and share-er to your site.

That’s the softer side of behavioral psychology.  On a stronger note, studies have shown that you can change the way someone does a task, ie, sharing a post and interacting, and even purchasing something from you, regardless of their personality or thoughts.   It just takes conditioning.

Remember Pavlov’s dog?  NO, I’ve got one better…remember that show on The Office where Jim would turn off his computer and it would make a dinging noise, and every time the computer dinged, he gave Dwight a mint?  After many different times of doing this, Jim finally turned his computer off, it dinged, and, because Jim had changed his behavior, Dwight automatically stuck out his hand for the mint that wasn’t there.  He even told the camera that his breath felt bad!

That’s conditioning.  Over and over.  Repetition.  This is also called classical conditioning, and one I want to focus on today.

Classical Conditioning & Social Media

Having no other option but repetition, your social strategy can be stripped down to something as simple as this. Now you don’t have a bell, or a mint to give them when they hear the bell, but in a sense, you have something similar.

The Bell & The Reward

The bell is the thing in social media that will get their attention. As you already know, if you’ve read my social media psychology posts, that getting the attention of the potential visitor is key to driving traffic. The reward is great content.

I see classical conditioning at play every day in social media. A great guy and my new friend, Mark Traphagen, displays this every day. What I mean is, people of his status on social media didn’t get there overnight. Even though Mark has only missed the first 3 days of Google Plus, it’s pretty safe to say that he didn’t get the interactive social media following overnight.

It comes with consistent posting and consistently providing great information for the followers. The result, happy and interactive readers that literally jump to talk to this man because of his expertise.

Can you create authority? Sure. Many people have done it. You can create authority on social media one of two ways. You can be a great content marketing curator, which basically means you search for great content that others have written, or you can be the content manufacturer. Either way, you still end up knowing your stuff. Although the content manufacturer usually ends up with the bigger following, there is no demise in sharing someone else’s articles that you feel are worthy of sharing.

The End Result

Using behavior in social media is simply taking advantage of the bell. It’s already there. There are social platforms all over the internet that have created a personalized soap box just for you to shout from. It’s just up to you on what you shout. Make it good, make it consistent, and give it time. You can’t change someone’s behavior overnight. With time, trust forms and contacts are made and friendships are formed. That’s when authority evolves. In all actuality, unless you’re a superstar already, the authority doesn’t come from the website itself, but the social platform. Make what you say from it count.

My name is Wade Harman. I’m a full time blogger with a degree in Psychology. I show you how to spark an emotional reaction, get people’s attention, and encourage them to take action!

Let me help you drive targeted traffic through social media strategies that I have researched and use myself!

Let me coach you and see how my strategies in social media can help YOU drive targeted traffic!

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  1. When you would like to convert number of things in favor of you then you will need to do all things polity because behavior is playing a vital role in any kind of business and if you will have good behavior then you can convert number of things in favor of you in less time.

  2. Hey Wade,
    I love the idea of Behavioral Psychology in Social media marketing, but i have to disagree with you on the “how to” part, how this is achieved.
    i don’t think it’s about consistency and consistently providing great information for your readers, i don’t even think it’s about quality of the information at all, i strongly believe it has everything to do with the quantity of your posts and how much you share,
    if you have great info but you post once per month, you’re gonna have a hard time just for being remembered, the quality of the posts can be improved over time, the most important thing is to get people to know about your name, if you just show up and show up long enough it will be imprinted in their minds.
    For example, Think of all the famous laundry detergents that their ad’s content have no value or quality for you at all, but you know them and they’re stuck in your brain because how much and how often they advertise! ???
    You know what i mean ??
    Many thanks, and Best Wishes!

    • So you don’t feel that consistency and quality are major players even from the start? I know for a fact that when you share too much on G+ people will delete you. There is a fine line between too much sharing and sharing the quality content that people want to see. It’s all about quality and consistency…all the time.

  3. Marketing is all about your way of behavior dealing that needs consistency, it’ll help to built the customer relationship strong. I agreed with you, its up to us what message we convey.
    Thank you for sharing the nice post.

  4. Wade, I started following you on Google the other night after reading another interesting article. I too have a Psych degree & was wondering how I could integrate it w/my blog. You’ve made me see the possibility. And while I won’t comment on G+ live I will share w/the Psych circle I’m apart of. You’re really on point here…it’s not rocket science though some sm marketers/strategist would have you believing it is. Thank you for sharing your insight/wisdom!

    • Thank you for coming Rose! Psychology can be used in everything! From selling to greeting that new neighbor. People don’t understand that they do it anyway, I’m just showing them what they are doing and what can work. Check out the “Psychology” tab at the top to see more.


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