Monday, 2 March 2009

Social Media predicting human behaviour

One of the great advantages to social media is that it is social. The rules, norms and activities are similar to our everyday life. It is about meeting, sharing, building relationships and generally following basic forms of etiquette. This provides social media experts a wealth of established scientific information to draw upon from the fields of psychology and sociology. Coming from a behavioural psychology I immediately picked up on this in the early days. Whereas, human behaviour appears to be somewhat unpredictable it, in fact, can be very predictable. At a minimum we have well established guidelines to follow that allow us to manage expectation on what people may or may not do.

What I see for many social media campaigns is unrealistic expectations towards consumer contributed content. It appears that many establish their campaigns around having lots of consumers upload, comment, rate or do some other activity. When in fact research holds true that, in general, people are not that participatory unless pushed. The chart below of a recent study reinforces that only about 9% of consumers contribute as much of 80% of the content and the rest tend to watch.

Social media is able to create impressive amount of consumer interest. However, people will be people and setting expectations realistically will help both consumers and business achieve a more satisfying experience.

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