Don Bulmer: New Perspectives and Research on The Social Mind

Numerous research studies have shown that people don’t want to be marketed to in social media.

However, in business, many brands seek to build robust fan bases in both large and specialized on-line communities to support marketing, sales, advocacy and influence efforts.

Some companies use gimmicks and creative offers to attract “fans” – which is more about marketing tactics than a desire to build relationships or loyalty.  Other companies use compelling information to add value to people based on issues, concerns or topics that they care about.

The latter is something that I relate to.  

The value of communities like facebook (for me personally) is the ability to build and maintain relationships and stay informed about “what’s happening” in the lives of friends, family, colleagues and even companies or causes that are important to me. It’s through these relationships that I learn, engage and share information about issues, news and events.  It’s an important and influential channel for me.

Build it and they will come.

There’s a very profound and fascinating notion that information (if important or relevant) will find you through your network.

I was exposed to this idea when my boss shared a conversation that he recently had with his teenage son where he suggested (to his son) that he should read more newspapers.  The response that my boss received was “if information or news is important, it will find me.”  My bosses initial reaction was “well, that’s arrogant” but then realized that it makes a lot of sense…and it does.  His son has been brought up in an era where people are so connected (through devices and social media) that information and news is circulated, filtered and curated in a way that if relevant it will indeed “find” you.

This speaks to an important dimension of social media and trust that extends from our relationships. It’s something that most people often forget in a business context when looking to adapt to managing communication and business in a new world.  People are inherently influenced by others in their network and to information/things that they can relate to.

The Social Mind Research Study.

Without a doubt, interrelationships between individuals, organizations, thought leaders and influencers are evolving in new and previously unforeseen ways. This shift represents a major communications innovation in all markets, and is radically changing the way people and organizations engage and behave on-line.

In order to explore this topic Vanessa DiMauroPeter Auditore and I are conducting a new study called The Social Mind as part of our fellowship with The Society of New Communications Research (SNCR) .

The Social Mind research project is designed to explore and understand these interrelationships and how they impact the consumption of information across social media channels and influence flow. Our hope is that the findings of the Social Mind research will enable B2B, B2P, B2C or Cause marketers to understand the importance and relevance of content – and – its ultimate impact and influence on behaviors, beliefs, decisions and actions.

To this end, we are endeavoring to identify key characteristics and insights into the engagement behaviors of individuals and how organizations can maximize reach and influence to execute on what we call the new Principals of Engagement In the Millennium.

We invite you to participate in this study by taking a brief survey.  We will share the full results of the research with all who respond. We also invite you to forward the survey to a peer, retweet it, G+ it or share it however you see fit.  This is an open study intended to bring full value back to all who respond.

Thank you very much for supporting The Social Mind research project!

About SNCR.

Through The Society of New Communication Research (SNCR), we are endeavoring to contribute to the industry learning and best practices with much needed research data.

We are a group of researchers and practitioners who come together to help further the understanding and best practices of social media, social business and social influence.  We volunteer our time to further the industry and help raise awareness of social media function in business and society.

Originally published 15 January 2012 on Everyday Influence

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