The Hierarchy of Needs For the Social Media User

How many needs can you satisfy yourself? How many of your needs can be met without the support and help of others? Social media proves that people need to be needed, to be loved, to be paid attention to. It’s not just about marketing all the time, it’s about attention and the need or want to be a part of something bigger than yourself.

How does one actually build a marketing strategy around social media unless they fully understand the psychology behind what makes that person live and breathe, nay, what makes that person strive to another level of greatness within themselves. What prompts that? How can one build on a foundation of psychology the attempts and desires of someone else without fully understanding how a person lives?

You can’t. However, you can learn why we do the things that we do. Every action on social media has a meaning. Why someone interacted on that post rather than interact on your post, that had a significance behind it psychologically. Whether they understood that it did or not is irrelevant, but the fact that action was made on something…that is what we need to learn more of.

Does a person simply work hard, gain a lot of social followers, and, in the end, is rewarded with lots of interaction because they simply have 30K people following them on G+? I think that eventually, when you get a lot of followers, interaction is inevitable. But I’m always curious to see how it works for the person without the large following. Those are usually the people that need the most help, and that’s what I want to focus on.

Understanding the “Person”

In Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs you can see that the normal human has a list of things that we need to feel self-actualization from.  See below:

Maslow's Hierarchy of needs

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Abraham Maslow concluded in his theory that says the needs that are the most important to a person are from the bottom to the top of the pyramid.  So, physiological things like food, water, and shelter are our primary needs.

The basic principle I found while studying this post was the fact that people are always needing things.  While the need to click on a social update that you send out isn’t even close to being the most important thing in a person’s every day life, I have created something similar to the effect of showing you the Heirarchy of Needs in Social Media pyramid.  Let me show you that image and then I’ll explain: (Remember that the most important goes from the bottom up)

my hierarchy of needs for social media

My hierarchy of needs for the social media user *Patent Pending

First of all, the average joe in the social media world needs social media because it gives them a voice to be heard.  A soap box to shout their woes from, and a place that people could interact with their everyday lives.  When asked, 76% of the United States population said they couldn’t do without Facebook for even one day!  They had to be connected to their social world.

The second need is the need for friendships and connections.  Just as above, people have a need to see what others are doing.  These days a message on Facebook is more likely to come than a phone call.  Social media has single-handedly taken away some of the purest forms of communication that we have relied on for all these years.  Social media has become the place where people gather.  Whether it’s to market a product, or to talk to a friend, people are there because of their connections.

These first two are the average, every day needs in an ordinary social media users wants in their social life.  The next one comes into play in the form of attraction. 41% of social users expect to be sold to in a recent poll. So they ARE looking for something of interest.

However, they’re not going to come to you. You have to leap out and grab them! If you would read my social media psychology posts, you will see the basis in the laws of attraction on social media. How to get their attention with your social media update and how to drive traffic.  Attraction is expected by consumers on social media.  Everyone wants to learn how to get rich on the internet, and if you play your update right, you can drive them right in with the right wording.

It’s All Downhill from here:

Since they’re expecting you to “Wow” them, once you get them to pay attention to your update, make sure that your update makes them inquisitive enough to click through to your website.  Have a great idea on how to grab more traffic from Pinterest?  Great!  Show them that they won’t be disappointed in clicking through to your website and learning more.

Most people already know that content should be the most important thing, but in most of my scenario’s, while I do put content at the top of the list and make it important, I don’t crown it king.  Sure, if you’re already teeming with social followers you only have to watch your content, however, when you start out with nothing, the social media update is king to you.  No one knows you, and no one has any reason to go to your site unless you grab them at your front door…the social update.

Let me explain:

Before any of you blow a gasket and cuss me out in the comment section, please know that content IS king in your territory.  But when you go behind enemy lines, you can’t fight that battle with good content when no one knows you.  Fight it with catchy update titles and text.  Word play and saying things that will peak the interest of the reader will always get them coming to your site.  Once they get there, they’re on YOUR territory where content reigns supreme.

That brings me to the content aspect of the hierarchy of needs in social media.  Once you peak their interest and they click through, all you have left to do is to better educate them with your content.  Sell the product there, or get the subscriber or potential rss reader too.  Remember that education is always necessary, in my book, even when you’re trying to sell something.  The better educated they are and the more information that they have about something will give them the confidence to do the final thing that they need in the social hierarchy.

Lastly, A Confident Reader

The last thing that a social media user needs, and something everyone is looking to accomplish online is to become self-aware and better educated about the product.  Because of your informed post they have an improved ability because they learned something new, which gives them a desire to try it out for themselves.  That focuses mostly on product pricing and sales, or simply, try something new that you have written about that they have never heard of before.  And, if you did it right, they will have a need for more information on what you have told them, which, in turn, creates a faithful reader to your site.

Final Thought:

Not everyone on social media says to their friends, “Hey, I hope someone sells something to me today”.  However, everyone is always wanting to become better educated about something of interest.  Find out what that is through asking or polling of your connections.  That’s the easiest way to do it.  Find that out and you will start seeing what the following that you have really needs.

**Note: I did not create Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  I DID however do my own research on my own pyramid of what people expect to need on social media.  This is called the Hierarchy of Needs For The Social Media User, simply worked on an already great idea.

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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Google+ Comments


  1. Good Job Wade.
    Clearly Clearly stated.
    When one learn WHAT your market wants and learns to deliver Business cannot help but grow

  2. This is a nice research when you can apply the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs into something new and interesting. I think the most important part to a successful business is to give people a chance to grow their inner self, to be ” a better guy”.

    Thanks for your info Wade !

  3. Hey Wade, very interesting parallel here. There certainly is a need hierarchy going on in SM. People behave and interact in very predictable ways, for the majority. And to put it on paper is great! It really helps us see the wood for the trees. Let’s face it there are lots of trees. Thanks