"Nobody listens to me..."
Psychologists agree this is the most common complaint they hear from their clients. As social beings, it is normal for us to want others to hear what we have to say and respond. We may not always like what they say, but the exchange of conversation and the connection with others is what we desire. With social media, people have the opportunity to receive instant feedback from 'friends' and 'followers' making them automatic listeners.
When you hear that 'new message' alert sound, many of us are instantly curious. It stems from the desire to find out who wants you, and why. Most of the time, the content of the message doesn’t even matter. The fact that someone is reaching out is actually what is most gratifying. These days when people feel insecure it is common to turn to social media for comfort. Studies show that these platforms are proving more satisfying than any self-affirmation activity out there.
We are hardwired for this! The use of social media activates the 'love' and 'lust' chemicals in our brain. Dopamine is the 'lust' hormone that makes us want more and more – and more. Oxytocin is the love hormone that makes us feel less stressed, more goodwill and generally better about ourselves and the world. Effectively our brains say something like, “Great! Someone likes my comment and thinks I look good in this picture, so I am going to post even more!”
Some argue that social media connections are not meaningful because they eliminate the face-to-face, in-person interactions. There is some truth to this and relationships on social media certainly have less depth than in real life. However in our increasingly fast paced world, where many are time-poor, social media is a useful way to experience a sense of connection with others and to maintain relationships, especially with family and friends who live out of town, old school friends, or simply people who share common interests with you.
The same holds true in the business world. As a salesperson or business owner, you want to be sure that customers and clients are responding positively to your brand and services. By using social media platforms, you can assess and evaluate what others are saying about you and your team. With some careful research and planning, you can use specific platforms that target your desired market and use these to create the all-important 'know, like and trust' factors with your prospects. Make your customers feel like they are being heard by adding a comment card or section to your website, respond promptly to their questions and concerns, build relationships through conversations, and genuinely show that you care. Determine what it is about your brand and your service that your customers most like and identify with and cater to this. Remember, what people ultimately want is to be heard, so utilise social media to lend an ear and reap the benefits - again and again.
Sarah Pearce is a speaker, coach and mentor, and specialist in reputation management.
- This article originally appeared on our sister publication Idealog.