Talking about our own thoughts and experiences activates the rewards system of the brain, providing that same shot of dopamine we get from food and exercise – and that reward activity is even greater when people get to share their thoughts with others. Sharing a picture, video, advertisement or really any content achieves more than just a chemical reward – it is also an act of self-creation. Marketing researchers repeatedly find that the entertainment value, emotional power and the practical value of content can explain part of our motivation to share, and sharing can rise to a creative act in which marketing materials are used for self-expression.
Every social media site gives consumers the opportunity to acquire dopamine through self-disclosure, but brands have a unique opportunity to assist in the creation of consumers’ social identity and the achievement of their own goals – including bringing valuable and entertaining content to others, self-fulfillment and getting the word out about causes and issues that they care about. Brands can give consumers tools to get dopamine, look good and pay it forward in their community. In many cases, this is more valuable to consumers than anything brands can sell them and if a consumer receives this genuine assistance, he or she will advocate for the brands that provide it.
Source: Hawley, Dave. “What Sex, Food and Selfies have to do with effective social marketing.” Fast Company. March 19, 2014.