Why Social Media is So Effective

Let’s take a look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:

You will notice that after the first 2 levels of basic needs (safety & physiological needs -sex) are met, the following 3 levels can be supported and nurtured by “social” interaction.
Read the following about Maslow’s theory (via Wikipedia) -


Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is predetermined in order of importance.[5] It is often depicted as a pyramid consisting of five levels: the lowest level is associated with physiological needs, while the uppermost level is associated with psychological needs, particularly those related to identity and purpose. Deficiency needs must be met first. Once these are met, seeking to satisfy growth needs drives personal growth. The higher needs in this hierarchy only come into focus when the lower needs in the pyramid are met. Once an individual has moved upwards to the next level, needs in the lower level will no longer be prioritized. If a lower set of needs is no longer being met, the individual will temporarily re-prioritize those needs by focusing attention on the unfulfilled needs, but will not permanently regress to the lower level. For instance, a businessman at the esteem level who is diagnosed with cancer will spend a great deal of time concentrating on his health (physiological needs), but will continue to value his work performance (esteem needs) and will likely return to work during periods of remission. [6]

Deficiency needs

The lower four layers of the pyramid are what Maslow called “deficiency needs” or “D-needs”: physiological, safety and security, love and belonging, and esteem. With the exception of the lowest (physiological) needs, if these “deficiency needs” are not met, the body gives no physical indication but the individual feels anxious and tense.
Physiological needs
For the most part, physiological needs are obvious - they are the literal requirements for human survival. If these requirements are not met (with the exception of sex), the human body simply cannot continue to function.
Physiological needs include:
Safety needs
With their physical needs relatively satisfied, the individual’s safety needs take over and dominate their behavior. These needs have to do with people’s yearning for a predictable, orderly world in which injustice and inconsistency are under control, the familiar frequent and the unfamiliar rare. In the world of work, these safety needs manifest themselves in such things as a preference for job security, grievance procedures for protecting the individual from unilateral authority, savings accounts, insurance policies, and the like.
For the most part, physiological and safety needs are reasonably well satisfied in the “First World.” The obvious exceptions, of course, are people outside the mainstream — the poor and the disadvantaged. If frustration has not led to apathy and weakness, such people still struggle to satisfy the basic physiological and safety needs. They are primarily concerned with survival: obtaining adequate food, clothing, shelter, and seeking justice from the dominant societal groups.
Safety and Security needs include:
  • Personal security
  • Financial security
  • Health and well-being
  • Safety net against accidents/illness and the adverse impacts
Social needs
After physiological and safety needs are fulfilled, the third layer of human needs is social. This psychological aspect of Maslow’s hierarchy involves emotionally-based relationships in general, such as:
Humans need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance, whether it comes from a large social group, such as clubs, office culture, religious groups, professional organizations, sports teams, gangs (”Safety in numbers“), or small social connections (family members, intimate partners, mentors, close colleagues, confidants). They need to love and be loved (sexually and non-sexually) by others. In the absence of these elements, many people become susceptible to loneliness, social anxiety, and clinical depression. This need for belonging can often overcome the physiological and security needs, depending on the strength of the peer pressure; an anorexic, for example, ignores the need to eat and the security of health for a feeling of control and belonging.
All humans have a need to be respected, to have self-esteem, self-respect. Also known as the belonging need, esteem presents the normal human desire to be accepted and valued by others. People need to engage themselves to gain recognition and have an activity or activities that give the person a sense of contribution, to feel accepted and self-valued, be it in a profession or hobby. Imbalances at this level can result in low self-esteem or an inferiority complex. People with low self-esteem need respect from others. They may seek fame or glory, which again depends on others. It may be noted, however, that many people with low self-esteem will not be able to improve their view of themselves simply by receiving fame, respect, and glory externally, but must first accept themselves internally. Psychological imbalances such as depression can also prevent one from obtaining self-esteem on both levels.

Aesthetic needs

The motivation to realize one’s own maximum potential and possibilities is considered to be the master motive or the only real motive, all other motives being its various forms. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the need for self-actualization is the final need that manifests when lower level needs have been satisfied.
Social Media can foster those needs of levels 3, 4 & 5 whether you’re utilizing it for only making friends, networking for various reasons, or to connect people to your brand.
However, keep in mind when utilizing it for networking and connecting others with your brand, that it must be used “socially”.  So what if you throw up a page on a site somewhere, who cares; people have been doing that for years - so Web 1.0.  What will generate interest, word-of-mouth recommendations and interaction with your brand is by you catering to these social needs.
  • Create friends and even family-like relationships and atmospheres
  • Boost others’ self esteem and confidence, contributing to your achievements as well as the achievements of others
  • Respect others to gain respect
  • Contribute to conversations, creativity and problem solving
Did you notice that entire list came from the social needs we’re talking about?
By connecting to natural human needs, you will:
  • Gain reciprocal actions and respect
  • Encourage people to tell others about you whether it be by direct verbal or written recommendation or in the form of a ReTweet, link to your site/information, etc. - because now you’re a participant in their lives not just a bystander
  • Gain interest of not only your product but of you/your company because you aren’t just a product anymore; you’re a person who socially connects, cares, and contributes
  • Establish yourself as a leader
  • Open and encourage the doors of communication
  • Obviously, because of the above-mentioned gain a wider audience
If you look at any currently successful online marketer, whatever their niche and whether or not their brand can also be bought offline or not,  you’ll find that they’re likely leveraging success from these exact methods.
Of course, content is King but social is Queen; because you can have all the friends you want, if you don’t have content, good content, well you’ll just have friends.  And vice-versa, if you don’t have a social opening, particularly these days, well you’ll just have a site.  They work amazingly well together and utilizing them hand-in-hand will create offspring of fortunes (term used lightly to contribute to King and Queen metaphor).
Businesses and brands can utilize social platforms to connect to these very basic human needs.  Simple as that!
Long gone are the days of just sitting on the web hoping to be found.  Enter the era of reaching out and connecting, not only to people but to their social needs.
Be Social.
Thoughts?  Do you think it’s really more complicated than this?

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