15 Jan 13
The ABC of Internet Behavioural Psychology
When you’re planning a strategy there are a lot of factors to be taken into consideration, but the starting point should always be your audience. And beyond the particular aspect of your target, when it comes to each promotional channel, there are always a couple of common behavioral patterns for all consumers. The most obvious example that comes to mind is the fierce competition between brands when it comes to product placement in supermarkets; the best selling items are the ones at eye level/hand’s reach because buyers are somewhat lazy and unless they’re actually looking for something very specific, they’ll just go for the most (spatially) accessible option.
But our specialty is the Internet and we’re here to help you build a solid online strategy. So what’s so specific about people’s behavior on the www? By far, the most important aspect is the relative anonymity. On the Internet we could all be hiding behind a very comfortable mask and tweak our personalities or even become someone totally different. This is very obvious when it comes to commenting blog posts, but it also applies to social media. Even though a social media account is something more personal than a random name chosen for a comment, there are a lot of people who handle multiple accounts, or don’t give out their real names or fake a whole identity. How does this information help with your strategy? Well, in our experience, most start-ups face a lot of criticism in their initial stages and it’s important to separate career Internet trolls (who basically mock anything for the fun of it) from people who might really be giving you very useful feed-back.
Then there’s the space factor. It’s obvious that people are a whole lot braver when they’re not actually facing each other so don’t be alarmed if some fans might come off as quite aggressive.
Authority, or better yet lack of authority, is also an online constant. People tend to behave in curious manners when they’re not influenced by the presence of an authority figure. On the plus side, this seems to make people speak their minds with greater ease and facilitates open communication, but if you find yourself dealing with a troublemaker don’t be afraid to exclude him. Remember that your blog and social networks accounts are the result of your work and investment of time and effort. We’re not saying that you should start banning everyone who says something you don’t like, but don’t be afraid to step up when someone’s crossing the line.
And let’s not forget about the somewhat filtered character of online communication. When you’re talking to someone face to face they’re forced to give you an immediate response and the golden rule of psychology is that this is exactly the one that really matters. But on the Internet (even in social media where the communication flow is starting to get close to the natural flow of a conversation), people have time to mediate their reaction. We bet you can think of a few times when you wrote something, then deleted it and rephrased it in a different manner before posting. This means that you should always try to read a bit between the lines before drawing any conclusions.
Now you know more so you’re one step closer to building a healthy strategy.