Social network communities need to cater for the head as well as the heart

New Ideas in MarketingEssential news for marketers, summarised by YouGov
March 18, 2019, 1:11 PM UTC

A more nuanced understanding of social media users could help brands create strong communities.

Marketers aspire to develop “brand tribalism” among their consumers which acts as its own motivation for consuming their products. But, on the way to achieving that, they first need to build meaningful communities. Social media platforms have become an important way to foster these groups. This study builds on previous literature exploring people’s motivations for participating in social media networks and what contributes to their satisfaction with them.

In general, it agrees with other findings that creating a sense of belonging and pride in group membership is the best way keep consumers happy. However, it also argues that individuals have a “unique perspectives” and so could respond best to different types of interactions with brands. It proposes two main types of user: hedonic or feelings based, and utilitarian or functionality focussed.

While hedonic users respond strongly to messaging based on belonging, utilitarian users particularly value interactivity and innovativeness. As a result, social media marketers should be aware that they need to use their content and interactions to satisfy a range of needs - emotional and practical - to create an effective community if they ever want it to become a tribe. 

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