Consumer Behavior PART THREE: Consumer Motivation in Social Media
Welcome to our third installment of our Consumer Behavior posts. Today’s area of insight will be motivation and understanding how to motivate your consumers to participate in your social media.
The Reason People Act & Consume
Let’s not beat around the bush here. Motivation can be a tricky concept to understand and an even trickier one to perfect. So you have your business page on a social network, but you’re having trouble getting people to become engaged in it. Before you dabble into how you can motivate your consumers you must first understand what exactly motivation is. Motivation is basically the reason people act and consume, and these behaviors are driven by needs.
Types of Motivation
There are countless reasons why a person might be motivated to perform an action or consumer a product. But for the sake of time and energy we’ll condense them into two main categories: Utilitarian and Hedonic motives. These are directly correlated the ideas addressed in our other Consumer Behavior post about Creating Value in Social Media.
Utilitarian Motives: These are motives in which consumers are driven to accomplish a task.
Social media is a great place to accomplish this. If you want your consumers to engage in your social media platforms they must first have a reason to do so. Why would someone visit your page? What would drive someone to do this? Look at it from a utilitarian aspect- people want free, genuine content from the businesses they follow. The more you give and produce on your social media page, the more consumers will be inclined to make the first initial visit.
Hedonic Motives: These are motives in which consumers are driven to experience something personally gratifying.
Pursuing the needs of those with hedonic motives through social media can be a little bit more difficult than utilitarian motives. For this it’s all about providing an experience. Where utilitarian is about providing the customer with what they want, hedonic is more about providing a pleasurable experience while being provided with what they are searching for. This means that your page should be well organized and active. Apply aesthetically pleasing elements to your page is also a major factor in making people feel comfortable and more inclined to participate in your page. Fulfilling hedonic motives is what will keep your consumers coming back and being regular participants.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Perhaps the most popular theory of human motivation in consumer behavior is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The theory is designed to describe needs that consumers address from the most basic to the most extravagant.
Physiological Needs: Basic necessities for living, food, water, shelter, oxygen
Social Media Aspect: Finding needed information, product news, etc.
Safety Needs: Freedom from harm, financial security
Social Media Aspect: Readily available customer support
Social Needs: Friendship, belonging, love
Social Media Aspect: Interacting with people who also like your page
Personal Needs: Status, respect, prestige
Social Media Aspect: Giving reviews, interacting with your company, etc.
Self-actualization Needs: Self-fulfillment
Social Media Aspect: Obtaining special offers, deals, winning contests, etc.
According to this theory, consumers first seek value by satisfying the most basic needs. A starving person will risk their own safety to eat. They will also find little importance in things that fulfill their personal or self-actualization needs until their lower level needs are met. In contrast, a person whose basic needs are secure will seek to fulfill their more luxury needs. In general, the most basic needs are addressed with utilitarian value while more elaborate needs address hedonic value.
When it comes down to it, understanding what motivates people to do the things they do will ultimately help in your efforts to increase customer participation in your social media efforts. You should be extremely familiar with your target market to narrow down what truly motivates them and make it a center piece in your platforms. In the end it will ultimately help you create and maintain a genuine business page and increase customer engagement. —Evan Blumenthal