Why do people do certain things

The psychology behind social media

The social media. We all know them. We all use them. But, do we know how they actually work? Are we influencing or influencing social media? The following blog post looks at the psychology associated with our posts, likes, and comments that we share on the social web every day.

Table of Contents

Communication in the social web vs. communication in real life

Are you not self-centered? Don't you like to be the center of attention? Are you just your average socializer? Even so, like most people, you too will likely talk about yourself about 30 to 40 percent of your time (says science - honestly). And, you think that's awesome? The whole thing looks different online: here, around 80 percent of the posts deal with the posters themselves.

That sounds like huge egos at first. But why are we actually doing this? In fact, engaging in face-to-face conversations is more emotionally demanding and challenging. In real life, for example, we don't have time to polish a cool, quick-witted answer before we present it to the other person.

In addition, not only what is said is perceived by our interlocutor, but also our facial expressions and gestures are scrutinized. Quite exhausting. The whole thing is different in the online world. There we have time to think of a quick-witted answer. Don't worry about where to look or what to do with our hands. In short: it is made easy for us to present ourselves as we would like to be perceived by others.


Social media as an ego booster

Here many would probably raise their hands defensively - “that doesn't apply to me” - but it has actually been scientifically proven that a look at our Facebook profile is a real ego booster for us. Our own self-portrayal on the social media platform triggers emotions in us that strengthen our self-confidence. Interesting or very questionable? Always important for marketers who want to market their products via social media, as the following section shows:


Social manipulation?

More athletic? Or just the business type? Is everything in pink or is pastel your color of the season? Marketers who are already successfully marketing their products on social media have recognized that the most important way of self-expression is through the things we consume and own. Through them we show others who we are.

Can you imagine that some people feel a similar emotional connection for their favorite brand as they do with their family or their partner? While it may sound absurd, it has emerged from scientific studies. This aspect is essential for companies. You need to know which products and aspects of your brand your customers identify with. These can be used specifically for advertising purposes, especially on social media platforms.

By restricting target groups when displaying ads on Facebook or presenting a product by influencers on YouTube or Instagram, for example, marketers have great opportunities to advertise their products effectively. Especially because this type of advertising doesn't feel like advertising to many users.

In addition, the emotional connection to a social media platform itself has an influence on the advertising and the products advertised. If a user is in a familiar and, above all, loved online environment, he is more open to advertising and more likely to trust product recommendations than, for example, an advertisement that is played to him on an unknown website. He connects positive aspects and emotions with the social media platform, which he unconsciously transfers to advertising placed there.


That's why we share social media posts

Using his hierarchy of needs, the American psychologist Abraham Maslow showed as early as 1908 where our need to communicate with others stems from. The ultimate goal is therefore: self-realization. Nothing has changed to this day. We tell and show our social environment who we are and what interests us.

This is also reflected in the sharing of social media content: 68 percent of Facebook users state that they share content in order to better convey who they are and what interests them to the outside world. In addition, almost 80 percent of Facebook users share content because it helps them stay in touch with others.

What we don't publish

Do you know that, too? You write something on Facebook, but then delete it before the first one can even see your post. We all know this inhibition that keeps us from communicating certain things to others via our social media profile. This can take the form of sharing, commenting or liking. Something is holding us back. We don't dare.

This imposed “self-censorship” goes hand in hand with the problem that the corresponding post may not match our desired self-image. What could the others think? How could the image I created of myself be distorted?

Maybe you feel the same way we do after reading this and from now on you will remember these words every time you post or don't post ;-)


The power of comments

Comments are a phenomenon of shared reality. This means that the entire perception of an experience is influenced by whether and how we share it with others.

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For example, many social media users state that other people's reactions to a particular topic help them better understand information and events related to it. In short, comments have the power to influence our opinion.

For companies this means that - regardless of where such a comment can be found - it depicts what type of company it is. A company can be trustworthy or offer poor service. Of course, such a comment doesn't really have to be truthful, but it is as true as it is understood by readers.

Consequently, this means that a company needs to be aware of the power of comments and not underestimate them. Everyone who is part of the comments and thus part of the shared reality of the comments and ratings also determines the image of a company. By intervening at an early stage and actively participating in the interaction with users, a company can determine a large part of this reality itself. In other words: you determine with your posts and comments which image your company conveys to the outside world. In this way you actively influence the truth that is presented to the users.



Whether consciously or unconsciously - social media have found their way into many areas of our lives. Particularly in the areas of communication and advertising, these can have a great psychological impact on users without them actually being recognized. At the same time, users determine the rules for dealing with social media with their behavioral patterns, which are given by nature. Our boules for recognition and the creation of a certain self-image for the outside world play a decisive role.

Companies have to recognize that social media is not a sure-fire success, but has to be actively managed in order to be used efficiently for marketing purposes. If you let go of the hustle and bustle on social media, it can quickly backfire and the reputation of a brand suffers from negative comments from users. The image of a brand is drawn as negatively or as positively by the users as it is permitted by a company. Knowing how, however, social media can be used successfully as a marketing tool due to certain psychological patterns that every user functions according to.


Posted in Social MediaTagged Facebook, Instagram