Tag Archives: Twitter

Social Networks Satisfy Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

23 Feb

Over the past ten years, our perception of social media has transformed from a seemingly useless fad to an integrated way of life. As over a billion people worldwide use social media every day, we can recognize how it is becoming a vital channel in society. It is now second nature for people to search Twitter for the news, connect with an old friend on Facebook, or seek a job opportunity on LinkedIn. Not only do we desire the luxury of these tools, they have become a necessary aspect of our lives. As different needs develop, social media finds a way to fulfill them. It is easy to see how each successful social network strategically establishes a specific need for its users.

According to a blog post from All Twitter, social media may even play a role in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a psychological theory that addresses the stages of growth in humans. Facebook and Google+ help us maintain a sense of belonging through connections to friends and family. Twitter is good for our self-esteem, because it empowers us to reach out to others and self-promote, while keeping us informed. LinkedIn satisfies our need for safety, by providing security in employment.

With this realization in mind, we can see why some social networks are successful, while some are never adopted.

  • When Facebook launched in 2003, it was exclusive to large groups of people in college. It gained popularity through social proof and eventually people everywhere joined the network because they didn’t want to feel left out.
  •  A more recent addition to the digital world, Pinterest, saw the need for connectivity and sharing that social media users crave. Pinterest’s popularity sparked because it is integrated with Facebook. When a user joins they are automatically shown which of their Facebook friends are on Pinterest, revealing several accounts full of interesting and exciting pictures to “pin”. Once a user “pins” a picture, it can easily be shared through Facebook as well.  Pinterest also fulfills a need by sharing photos that inspire a call-to-action- whether it is a recipe or a home decorating idea.
  • Other examples include Foursquare’s ability to make location relevant online, Google+’s integration with the world’s largest search engine, Twitter’s ability to spark creativity with the #hashtag, and LinkedIn’s discovery of a professional way to interact online.

Additionally, the more these social networks integrate with brands, the more useful they are to businesses and customers. Brands can create fan pages on Facebook, have Twitter chats with their followers, pin their products on Pinterest, track their customers on Foursquare and increase their search engine optimization with Google +. Also, LinkedIn is known as the best social network to generate business leads online.

If a social network can satisfy an individual’s needs, it is essential for companies to take advantage of these platforms.  Have you capitalized on your business’ need to be socially available?

(originally  published on eZanga.com: http://www.ezanga.com/news/2012/02/22/social-networks-satisfy-user-needs/ )


Pinterest Captures Visual Learners: New Marketing Tool for Businesses

17 Jan

Pinterest, a hot-new social networking site that everyone is talking about (and many have spent hours fawning over), has cracked the current list of top 10 social networks, according to Mashable. An invitation only site, Pinterest takes social sharing to another level,  acting as a platform to organize and post interesting or inspiring online images. The images are referred to as Pins, which users assign to specifically themed Boards. Popular themes for the 4 million users on Pinterest are interior decorating, wedding planning, and recipes. Thus, a bride-to-be may have a Wedding Board, and post pins of her dream dress, ring, flowers, decorations, etc. As simple as this may sound, there are a few key factors of Pinterest that have determined its success and make it a viable candidate for business marketing.

Viral Sharing: Pinterest encourages users to connect their accounts to their Twitter and Facebook pages, along with personal websites. Account widgets for these sites appear below a user’s profile bio, and individual Pins can be shared through each network. An important feature of Pinterest is the “Pin It” button, which can be added to a user’s “bookmarks bar” on their computer, allowing them to pin interesting images they find anywhere online to their Pinterest Boards.  Businesses can also add a “Pin It” button to their websites, allowing visitors to share something they find to their respective networks.  All of this online connectivity makes Pinterest convenient and relevant to already developed social networks, allowing companies to further increase their reach through new and exciting content. One example of marketing used through Pinterest is a “Pin It” contest that Samuel Gordon Jewelers did.  In order to win Honora Pearls, Samuel Gordon encouraged people to visit their website, pin photos of the jewelry to their personal boards, and share with their networks. The viral effect of this contest was huge, because of its simplicity and incentive.

Valuable Tool: Besides the fact that pinning random cool pictures all day can be very entertaining (cough, all I did yesterday: www.pinterest.com/swight), Pinterest can actually be a very valuable tool for someone with a specific purpose in mind. For example, some people create a Board for each room in their house and then pin decorating ideas for that room. Cooks can keep an online recipe box and students might create a shopping list of things they need to buy for school. Therefore, because people can create a variety of purposes for the site, and it’s geared towards actual online images that can potentially lead to product purchases, it is a key marketing tool for businesses to pursue.  Even though I created my profile for fun, it has prompted me to buy ingredients for multiple recipes, including a honey facial, day dream about my future honey moon in Bora Bora, check out the spring line of Stella & Dot jewelry and shop online at Nordstrom.com. Oh and not to mention the idea I found about putting a dollar in a jar every time I work out so I can splurge on a manicure every now and then. Talk about a call to action!

Visual Branding: According to a blog post on SpinSucks.com, a professional development website for PR pros, 84% of people are visual learners. Pinterest heavily feeds into this and creates a simple way to connect and group images to portray a sense of who you are. For example, let’s say I am developing my personal brand through Pinterest. I have chosen to emphasize my desire to travel, my sophisticated appetite, my appreciation for humor and romance and my dedication to fitness and appearance.  My Pinterest is a very clear and quick way for me to show potential friends, employers, in-laws, etc. what I encompass as a person. A company can market themselves on Pinterest in a very similar way. Not only can they post images of their products (with witty descriptions), they can personalize their brand by interacting with other users, and revealing their interests and ideals.  A really good example of this is Whole Foods Market– they don’t just market their products and they paint a picture of everything they stand for.

Image from their “Edible Art” Board

People use social networks to stay connected with friends, keep informed and engage with others. They don’t go on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn to read a bunch of advertisements and buy products. Pinterest is a space where people can create a virtual wish list, without any pressure to buy products or services or a time share in Thailand (although a girl can dream). It’s simply a place to post your cravings, goals and ideas that define who you are or wish to be. Meanwhile, it’s a subtle way for companies to display products that line up with your desires, without pushing a sale. Seems pretty perfect to me!

(*Side note: the use of V’s was a coincidence but I guess now I can call it the 3 V’s of Pinterest!)

The Reality of Senior Year

8 Jan

For me, and many other soon-to-be graduates that I’ve talked to, senior year has turned out to be way more stressful and less “college” than expected. When catching up with an old friend recently, I said I wished I had prepared more for this year and paid more attention to my career goals, etc. throughout college. However, she said she’s glad she was able to live her underclassman years with a carefree attitude and certain oblivion that has begun to disappear as graduation approaches. I completely agree; last year when I thought about graduation, I looked at it as a faraway place I wanted to avoid for as long as possible. I thought senior year would be full of reminiscing, having fun and dreading my life after. Although the stress that comes with entering the real world is unpleasant at times, I feel ready for it, and am looking forward to the next stage of my life.  My advice to the underclassmen who are still living in the somewhat carefree oblivion of college- enjoy it while it lasts. To those who feel the wave of maturity beginning to hit- doesn’t it feel surprisingly nice?

Applying to jobs takes a lot of time, hard work and planning, but setting goals for yourself and recognizing the rewards of your actions is very satisfying. Working on my resume, cover letter or researching different PR firms is actually enjoyable to me now. Every time I post something on Twitter that’s career related I feel a sense of accomplishment. What’s even more revealing of my growth as a soon-to-be PR professional is that I truly enjoy my internship projects.  When I interned during the summer after my freshman year, and even after my sophomore year, I avoided working extra hours and probably did the minimum of what was expected. Now, interning at Maier & Warner PR/Marketing, I like going into the office, accomplishing tasks, taking on challenging projects and learning from the experienced professionals I’m surrounded by. Thankfully, I know I chose a career path that is going to suit me well.

To summarize, I’d rather spend the day getting my life together (aka meeting PR professionals, editing my writing samples, or beefing up my resume) than sitting around watching Teen Mom. I’m assuming this means reality has set in and the façade of college is wearing off- just on time. It is honestly a relief that my natural ambition has set in, and I’m looking forward to life after college.

Unfortunately, it’s a little late in the game to have just started a blog, but writing for The Black Sheep publication kind of delayed my Word Press creation. However, as my job search continues, and I take on spring semester and an interesting digital internship before graduation, I hope to blog about relevant topics that will reveal my passions as I enter the real world.