One of my favourite podcasts, The Naked Scientists, covered an interesting story this week about whether or not the mood and tone of social media content is actually contagious.
While the study in question was focussing on Facebook content, I believe it also applies to your WordPress blogging too.
The key point: If you are negative you breed negativity.
Fiddling with the Facebook algorithm
The program focussed on a study that included Facebook’s own data team, in which the newsfeed of Facebook updates for different subjects were skewed towards positive or negative stories.
Social psychology researcher, Jorina Von Zimmerman from University College London, explained how people exposed to exceptionally negative updates began creating negative updates themselves, and vice versa.
As an example, Jorina mentioned that someone in London grizzling about depressing rain would actually affect the moods of friends in Australia, even if they were enjoying a glorious, 30 degree day.
Jorina also pointed out that this effect impacted on direct friends, friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends.
What do we learn for our social media marketing?
I believe the important lesson for those of us blogging and crafting social media updates is that we should ONLY RARELY share content that is couched in negative tones.
This doesn’t mean we go all saccharin sweet on our audience, it just means that we look for content that is positively framed to help people solve problems, seize opportunities and understand that we might be of value to them.
As part of a marketing strategy planning session, when we look at key communication messages and concepts, this understanding should be kept top of mind.
One example of this in action was when the new South Australian brand was launched in 2013.
Almost every social media commentator and their dog complained bitterly and clogged the airwaves with grizzles.
My take was to acknowledge the mix of emotions in the marketplace but look for ways to make the logo device and branding campaign work to everybody’s benefit.
I wasn’t trying to be positive for its own sake, I was looking for a way to help South Australia move forward.
Consider these approaches
Another way to help this realisation make sense is to consider these two examples and ask yourself who you’d be motivated to support.
One site and Facebook Page is a cashback site for charity, the other arranges gift backpacks for kids entering foster care.
The first site’s Facebook administrator has recently been publicly grizzling that members are not sharing enough with friends and that some people are clicking through to enter a competition and then not staying on as ‘likers’ of the page.
The second site’s Facebook administrator puts out calls for help for certain items but every week shares a direct quote from a recipient in Feedback Friday. These pieces are positive and moving.
Which website or Facebook Page would you rather stay around?
Maybe Monty Python was actually onto something in the Life Of Brian!