Tip of the week: Psychology of Facebook Likes

Understand your Facebook audience and create better content. 

People spend a considerable time on Facebook these days – 50+ minutes on average, to be exact. Almost a compulsive habit for many, looking through and interacting on our news feed has become part of our daily lives. Whether for work or for play, marketers alike know how compelling the social site is at boosting visibility and conversation for brands.

But as content creators and users ourselves, do we know what makes us tick? We get the low down on the psychology behind Facebook interactions, and how brands can achieve content that will get users talking. In the first of this series, we explore the nuances behind ‘liking’ on Facebook. 

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Why do we ‘Like’?

We tend to ‘like’ content more so than sharing or commenting. Perhaps its the simplicity of the function – You don’t have to think or do much – that makes it easier to engage in the act. But what actually compels our decision to ‘like’ a particular post over others? Here are some reasons:

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1. A show of support for others and ourselves

In many situations, liking can be a fast, yet effective way to display solidarity and empathy for others. But it is more than just about being –  its about ‘looking’ supportive too. Engaging in the act helps us stake a claim in our online presence. It’s a way of saying, “Hey, I’m on Facebook!” in a relatively effort-free manner. Liking also helps us raise our online reputation and increase chances of reciprocation. By staying visible and communicating with others about common interests, users may be ‘liking’ in the hope that the same courtesy will given back to them in future.

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2. A search for identity 

We are also more likely to ‘like’ content that speaks about our personality or identity to others. Like many other social media platforms, Facebook is just another way for people to talk about themselves. Similarly, ‘liking’ something that we feel applies to us is just as powerful as posting a status about our thoughts; Researchers at Cambridge University were even able to successfully predict undisclosed personal information from 58,000 volunteers, such as their sexual orientation and family background, based on just their ‘liking’ history.

3. A source of practical benefit

If you haven’t noticed, there has been a trend behind our reasoning for ‘liking’ posts: It is all about us. Often, we ‘like’ something when it brings us some form of reward, tangible or otherwise. This is especially so, when it comes to brand pages or content. Take for example a branded link to a helpful article, or a contest that requires you to ‘like’ a page; Your ‘like’ would have been readily given, for whatever benefit the content has and might bring you.

In fact, such is the case when it comes to why people choose to ‘like’ brand pages. According to a study by Syncapse, most users ‘like’ a page for practical advantages – Such as to receive updates, learn more information, or discover news about discounts and contests.

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So, how does this apply to marketers?

Easily obtained, ‘likes’ may only be hints that your content is heading in the right direction. But if done consistently, they definitely pave the way towards sustained, more valuable interactions on Facebook. Brands can address these psychological insights in their Facebook content by:

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Photo Credit: Flickr

  • Seeking Opinions – Everyone has something that they believe in, or viewpoints that they share with other similar individuals. Create content that reels the viewer in by asking them what they think about a particular issue. For instance, brands can post an A or B? post, inviting users to ‘like A’ or ‘comment B’ for whichever choice they prefer. Not only does it activate their desire to show support for their cause, it is also a quick way to survey your audience preferences in a non-committal, speedy manner.

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Screenshot of Zodiac Signs’ Facebook post 

  • Profiling Personalities – Those viral zodiac posts you see on your Facebook posts get tons of likes for a reason. Sometimes, talking about your users is more effective than talking to them. Personality-based content is always a hit, because it helps us make sense about ourselves and the world. Businesses can ride on this ever popular format by producing brand-related info that double as personality profiles to indirectly garner interaction and interest.
  • Being Useful – Beyond creating fun, entertaining stuff that will rake in those thumb-ups, your brand’s content has to be purposeful. How will it benefit the user who is following your page? Study what are the current consumer needs, and what gaps your audience is currently facing. Inspire them with innovative, unique content they can’t find anywhere else, or give them an incentive – such as providing exclusive brand information, promotions or even events. When users feel that they have gained much from your brand’s resource, ‘likes’ will follow, and perhaps, they might just stick around.

Written by: (www.script.com.sg) 

Edited & Illustrated by: Script Consultants Pte Ltd

 

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