The Needy Social Media User and How To Approach Them


social media

social media

How many needs can you satisfy yourself; without the support and help of others? Social media proves that people need to be needed, to be loved, to be paid attention to. It’s not just about marketing all the time, it’s about attention and the need or want to be a part of something bigger than yourself.

How does one actually build a marketing strategy around social media unless they fully understand the psychology behind what makes them live and breathe, or, what makes that person strive to another level of greatness within themselves? What prompts that? How can one build on a foundation of psychology the attempts and desires of someone else without fully understanding how a person lives?

You can’t. However, you can learn why we do the things that we do. Every action on social media has a meaning. Why someone interacted on one post rather than another, there is a psychological significance behind that. Whether they understood the psychological aspect or not is irrelevant, but the fact that action was made on something…that is what we need to learn more about.

Does a person simply work hard, gain a lot of social followers, and, in the end, be rewarded with lots of interaction because they simply have 30K people following them on G+? I think that, eventually, when you get a lot of followers, interaction is inevitable. But I’m always curious to see how it works for the person without the large following. Those are usually the people that need the most help, and that’s what I want to focus on.

Understanding the “Person”

In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the normal human has a list of things from which they need to feel self-actualization.


Abraham Maslow concluded in his theory that says the needs that are the most important to a person are from the bottom to the top of the pyramid.  So, physiological things like food, water, and shelter are our primary needs.

The basic principle here is that people are always needing things.  While the need to click on a social update that you send out isn’t even close to being the most important thing in a person’s everyday life, I have created something similar to the effect: the Heirarchy of Needs in Social Media pyramid. Remember that the most important goes from the bottom up –


First of all, the average Joe in the social media world needs social media because it gives them a voice to be heard; a soap box from which to shout their woes; and a place where people can interact with their everyday lives.  When asked, 76% of the United States population said they couldn’t live without Facebook for even one day!  They had to be connected to their social world.

The second need is the need for friendships and connections.  Just as above, people have a need to see what others are doing.  These days, a message on Facebook is more likely to come than a phone call.  Social media has single-handedly taken away some of the purest forms of communication that we have relied on for years.  Social media has become the place where people gather.  Whether it’s to market a product or to talk to a friend, people are there because of their connections.

These first two are the average, every-day needs ordinary social media users wants in their social lives.  The next one comes into play in the form of attraction: According to a recent poll, 41% of social users expect to be sold to. So, they ARE looking for something of interest.

However, they’re not going to come to you. You have to leap out and grab them! If  you’ve read my social media psychology posts, you’ll notice the laws of attraction on social media – How to get consumers’ attention with social media updates and how to drive traffic back to your website as a result. Attraction is common on social media.

It’s All Downhill from here:

Since consumers expecting to be “wowed” by brands, once you get them to pay attention to you, focus on being inquisitive enough for users to click through to your website.  Have a great idea on how to grab more traffic from Pinterest?  Great!  Show your audience  they won’t be disappointed in clicking through to your website and learning more.

Most people already know that content should is important, but in most scenarios, while it is significant, I don’t crown it king.  Sure, if you already have a large social following, content is very important, however, when you start out with nothing, your social media presence is king. If no one otherwise knows you, no one has reason to go to your site unless they’re grabbed at your front door.

Let me explain:

Before you blow a gasket, please know that content IS king in your specific territory.  But when you go behind enemy lines, you can’t fight that battle with good content when no one knows you.  Fight it with catchy update titles and text.  Play with words and say things that will peak the interest of the reader. This will get people coming to your site, and, once they get there, they’re on YOUR territory where content reigns supreme.

That brings me to the content aspect of the hierarchy of needs in social media.  Once you peak your customers’ interest and they click through, the next step is to better educate them.  Sell the product, or encourage subscribers. Education is always necessary, even when you’re trying to sell something.  The better educated your customer is, and the more information they have, the greater the likelihood they’ll reach the final stage of the social hierarchy.

Lastly, A Confident Reader

Social media users strive to better educated about products they may be pursuing.  Because of your informed content, they will be able to learn something new, which hopefully sprouts the desire to try the product or service out for themselves. If you do it right, your readers will need more information, which, in turn, creates a faithful reader to your site.

Final Thought:

Not everyone on social media says to their friends, “Hey, I hope someone sells something to me today.”  However, many hope to become better educated about something of interest.  Find out what that is through asking or polling your connections. Find out what your audience wants to know and you’ll start seeing what they really need.

About the Author:

Wade Harman

This monthly Social Media Psychology column is contributed by Wade Harman. Wade is a full time blogger and social media psychology expert. He earned a Cognitive Psychotherapy graduate degree in 2000, and he now uses that knowledge to research and develop social media strategies and methods that create action and emotion in the reader. Wade can show you how to spark an emotional reaction, get the reader’s attention, and create action that drives traffic to your site through social media.

Maximize Social Business