I came across an interesting study on how Facebook relates to empathy and narcissism*. According to the article narcissism, aka “feelin’ yourself a little too much”, has risen 30% in the last 25 years- especially among college students.
Could this be caused by the increasing popularity of social networking sites encouraging a generation of “wait let me take an artsy photo of my food before I eat it so my online friends can see”? Who knows. But what we do know is that narcissists make great brand cheerleaders and I can tell you why…
Researchers in the aforementioned study found that narcissism in women (I’m focusing on the women’s results here, sorry guys) related directly to sharing links, posting status updates, and viewing & commenting on photos. They also found that women as a whole post more photos than men. The motivation? That little red notification telling you that someone has liked what you posted, validating the effort put into crafting an awesome online persona. Because you know you’re awesome, but it’s not evident to other people until your photo gets 50 likes on Facebook…..right?
“Ok, so narcissists engage and share more of themselves on Facebook. What does that have to do with social media marketing?”
Trust me, I’m getting there! People in general feel the need to belong, but narcissists also feel the need to set themselves apart. And what’s the best way to stand out while also belonging? Being part of an exclusive group.
So when marketing yourself, business or brand online be sure to do two things:
- Make your readers/customers/fans feel as if they are part of an exclusive group aka “brand tribe”.
- Create opportunities on social media for them to proudly share their identity as a member of that tribe.
Narcissists are already sharing/bragging. You just have to give them more reason to do so. Case in point, Queen Bey and her Beyhive:
Beyonce has garnered a massive following because of her talent and beauty of course, but also because of her use of tribal marketing. Instead of sending out general updates and news blasts, she writes handwritten letters and posts directly to her “Beyhive”.
As a fan of hers you want to be a part of this group to feel special, as if she’s speaking directly to you. So you join. Now as a member of the Beyhive, you feel connected to Beyonce and it’s almost as if her achievements become your own. So if you’re a narcissist and a Beyhive member you want to share that with your Facebook friends. This leads to a double dose of satisfaction: identifying with a group, and being notified when your friends have recognized and approved of your Beyhive membership.
Beyhive members take their title very seriously and are wholly devoted to spreading the Beyonce-love. This is why she can drop a massively successful album with no promo. Who needs it when there are members of your group who are emotional invested in your success and more than happy to take on the social marketing for you?
Looooved this reaction!
“But I’m not Beyonce….”
Trust me, I know. No one can be Beyonce, but try using some of her tactics:
- Share personal posts and updates with customers/readers/fans so they feel a connection with you beyond your product.
- Name your tribe. I’ve seen companies call their customers “babes”, then there’s Lady Gaga and her “Little Monsters”. Nasty Gal’s company name is already a tribal name. Just make it something short and fun.
- Give your tribe a reason to share. Any new products or updates? Get your tribe excited and ready to share the news with their friends!
Now get out there and get to work building a tribe of narcissists!
Sidenote: I love Beyonce. Not all of her fans are narcissists. Just the narcissistic ones and personally, I see nothing wrong with that!
Alloway, T. , Runac, R. , Qureshi, M. and Kemp, G. (2014) Is Facebook Linked to Selfishness? Investigating the Relationships among Social Media Use, Empathy, and Narcissism. Social Networking, 3, 150-158. doi:10.4236/sn.2014.33020.
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