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Science Behind Marketing on Social Media Platforms

Science Behind Marketing on Social Media Platforms

Marketing is an essential and crucial part of any business and must be done prudently. In present times, marketing has taken a totally new trend and it is almost totally digital than traditional. Social media platforms are major players in the digital marketing strategy. For successful marketing on a social media platform, a business must ask good and pertinent questions. Some of the questions and their answers are as follows.

On the social media, some images are more likely to go viral than others. Is this simply a case of emotional reaction or there is science behind this?
Yes, there is a science behind social media success. To understand this, we first need to know about Temporal Parietal Junction (TPJ) and how it works?

Temporal Parietal Junction (TPJ)
Liking or sharing of content on the social media is a result of psychology and not just emotional reaction of the user. Content must appeal to the specific part of the human brain, this special part is situated at both sides of the brain behind the ears and named as TPJ. A unique human trait is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, which we call empathy. So, why empathy is important in the success of a digital marketing strategy? TPJ is acting behind empathy and makes a viewer like a comment or share specific content.

Is there any scientific research which supports the theory behind the working of TPJ?
Yes, research by the University of California at Los Angles supports the theory behind the working of TJP. Matthew Lieberman, author of the book "Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect" and a UCLA professor of psychology and of psychiatry and bio-behavioral sciences conducted research addressing questions like “How do ideas spread?” and “What messages will go viral on social media and can this be predicted?” Sharing, liking or commenting by a user on specific content on the social media has strong reasons. Specific regions of the brain are associated with being a good “idea salesperson” and psychologists call this the "salesperson effect." So, what really matters in the spread of an idea or a content to go viral on the social media? Perception about what appeals to others is more important than the quality of the content itself. Therefore, sharing, liking and commenting on specific content on social media is a function of intuition and understanding. This leads us to the concept of social proof.

What is the concept of social proof?
The concept of social proof can be seen working all around us in the day to day life. To do a challenging and presumably impossible task, hardly anyone wants to be the first. But, once someone does a challenging task then the peoples’ mindset is “me, too” or “I can also do this.” Once, some brave person did something which was almost unimaginable then everyone started to think and believe that it is doable. This is known as ‘the principle of social proof’ and this also works for social media marketing. Viewers are more likely to share the content which was shared by someone they trust and believe.
Theory of social proof states that if the majority of the people are doing something then the rest of the people feel and more likely to do the same. No one wants to be an exception and majority of the people want to be with the mass where they feel a sense of belonging.

Are there some laws and principles working behind this science?
Gestalt was a German philosopher who believed that human behavior can not be understood in part and we must look at the whole picture. This principle applies to social media marketing through following sub-laws.
Law of Pragnanz:
The human brain loves simplicity and it is easy for us to process simpler patterns, orders or ideas. Our brain can process simple concepts faster and effectively. For example, the logo of Apple, Target, Volkswagen, FedEx, Windows, etc.
Law of Continuity:
Visually aligned objects are easy to perceive and process by our brain. Therefore, visuals with a linear alignment of elements are more effective.
Law of Similarity:
Similar items, colors, shapes or sizes are perceived as a group and very useful for creating groups and relationships in digital marketing content. So, we should use this principle to make tables, visuals, and contents easier to perceive and understand.

What is the psychology behind sharing on the social media and how we can use this to design a successful digital marketing strategy?
By knowing the psychology behind sharing, working of TPJ, the concept of social proof, and Gestalt laws we can design our digital marketing strategy and create sharable and likable content. Marketing strategies with high tendency of sharing and liking will be effective to increase the social presence and brand value of the business, which will show influence in the sales of the products and services.


Written by: Dr. Parmod Kumar, Senior Associate Faculty at the Regenesys Institute of Management. You can reach me at parmodk@regenesys.in.