28th July 2015
Spiders, Webs and Tweets. Organic Minds Harnessing Inorganic Entities
This blog seeks to remind us of our roots. At the end of the day, we’re all human. Yet we’ve created a solely inorganic space to interact in what most of us consider to be an organic way. The irony speaks for itself.
However, although this initially seems somewhat disconnected from where we started out (7 million years ago), the link is actually a lot smaller than you think. Online marketing plays to very typical human traits, and so its effectiveness and popularity really is of no surprise.
I’ll start with sociability. Communication is something humans pride themselves on. We’re the only species to use language as coherently as we do – although it is definitely worth mentioning that language is not a specific human trait. Written language is perhaps more exclusive to humans, and it is with this written language that we predominantly choose to communicate with online. Obviously I’m excluding video calling and generalising slightly, but bear with me. This makes the online world exclusive to humans and opens up a whole new culture that for an Anthropologist like myself is pretty fascinating. It serves to prove that human behaviour and consequently, culture, is an ever evolving mechanism that makes for an interesting study, and hopefully, for your sake, an interesting blog!
So let’s think about the online world we have created, and seem to be thriving in. There are many different online platforms to communicate with, so could this be considered as different cultures? Let’s talk about social media – Facebook and Twitter seem to dominate the game right now so I shall use these as my examples.
Extensive reading about fundamental skills behind social marketing shows each of these, and many more, to follow different rules when it comes to communicating on them in the most effective way to promote your business. However, few rules remain the same – the pressure of the writing engaging original content that people actually want to read, timing of posts, and my personal favourite – stay human. It seems that regardless of the fact we’re communicating solely online within Facebook and Twitter, an incredible amount of pressure is put on brands to ‘remain human’. No one wants to be interacting with a robot…but hang on, isn’t that exactly what we’re choosing to do? Please don’t say it’s just me that finds this entertaining! I guess in a way it’s a compliment to how we crave real human interaction, and thus we still want to be treated as people – hypocritical? Perhaps. What’s even more entertaining to me is the science behind these platforms. Your newsfeed is a compilation of trending updates and content relative to your likes and dislikes, all thrown into advanced algorithms to produce a newsfeed displaying content specific to you. A more personalised user experience created solely by numbers – it’s just beautiful isn’t it?
For many people, Facebook is the only online social network in which they choose to participate. It has many privacy and visibility settings that users can use to opt-in or opt-out of to create a more personalised experience, and this no doubt instils a great deal of trust into Facebook. Content is of huge importance, and success is based on being able to judge who your audience is to try and encourage engagement and therefore promote your brand. According to MOZ’s guide to social media, posts with photos get on average 39% more engagement than posts without photos. When you post is also hugely important, and success can hinge on knowing when your audience is most active. It’s also worth mentioning the lifetime of a post of Facebook is much greater than that of Twitter, and updates can remain on your newsfeed for a couple of days, especially if they’ve be subjected to a significant amount of positive interaction by your audience.
Twitter is a more recent platform, and updates are limited to 140 characters making it more of a ‘real time’ newsfeed than that of Facebook. Even the demographics of those that use these two platforms differ. For example, 72% of active users on Twitter are between 18 – 49 years old, whereas on Facebook, 65% of users are over 35. Maybe this explains the faster pace of Twitter?! Apologies to the older demographic that may be reading this blog!
So, hopefully I’ve been able to show the subtle but important differences in the behaviour protocols required to interact successfully on Facebook and Twitter, proving that different rules apply if you’re going to be taken seriously online. Think of it like this, traveling often requires a quick mind and being able to understand what’s acceptable and what’s not when it comes to interacting with the ‘native’ population. So in the online world, why should the rules be any different? We’re still human at the end of the day.
With human behaviour actively changing and evolving, it begs the question as to where we’ll be just 10 years from now. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to watching it all unfold! Keep your ears to the ground to make sure you’re keeping up with the online culture changes. But if you need any help, start with SilverDisc.