Social media is integrated into most of our daily lives, so it’s no surprise that it not only impacts how we behave in person, but also online. We are products of our environments, right? So, if a social network is one of our primary environments, we’re destined to be influenced by it. Each social network has developed its own culture, with loyal users who interact and behave certain ways. It’s hard to say there are “normal” behaviors on social networks, but there are certainly trends brands need to be aware of and moderate.
For instance, on Facebook many users are looking to strengthen pre-existing relationships that were established outside of the social network. Of course, this isn’t 100% true, but when even looking at my own personal Facebook connections, I already know all of my “friends.” I’m not friends with any strangers. The same is true of brands. Brand pages that I “like” are brands that I am familiar with–that I have a pre-existing relationship with.
I cannot say the same for Twitter and I don’t think I’m alone. Twitter lends itself to much more broad reaching relationships. Yes, we can follow people we have pre-existing relationships with, but we can also follow celebrities, industry influencers, or complete strangers easily. I think a lot of this has to do with the use of hashtags. While Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and even Google+ utilize hashtags, Twitter rules supreme. If a live event utilizes a hashtag in real time, Twitter users may grow their followers depending on what they tweet and if it attracts a broader audience. This is not as easily accomplished on other social networks.
I think user behavior on social media also has a lot to do with the primary focus on the platform. For instance, platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are visually based. These may be more appealing to those of us who enjoy creating and sharing visuals. While Twitter and Facebook may be more for real-time updates and news events. Also, LinkedIn is a great example of where our professional and “social” worlds collide. I’m sure most users who create content on LinkedIn, tend to have different behaviors on other social platforms. Using myself as an example again, many of my LinkedIn updates have to do with work projects or industry news. I very rarely post this same content on Facebook. It’s just not the same audience, and not the same connections for me. Now, if I have a business page on Facebook I would post that same content, because I would assume anyone who “liked” my page cared about healthcare marketing or social media.
Just like in the real world, behaviors on social media change from platform to platform or situation to situation. After establishing connections (either pre-existing or new), users are influenced by those around them. I think most of us have a larger impact on our social connections than we think. We are all influencers in one form or fashion, and we need to behave accordingly.