Emotional Business Bonding on Social Networks

Emotional Business Bonding on Social Networks

New research from Communispace, supporting the hypothesis that people are looking to fulfill six essential social needs online, and drawing on the Maslow hierarchy of human needs, concludes that businesses that help facilitate those needs are more likely to create deeper emotional bonds than usually exist between companies and customers.

In the report by Julie Schlack, Michael Jennings and Manila Austin "Meeting Business Needs by Meeting Social Needs...", the Communispace researchers, building on the work of social scientists, have identified the specific social needs that are met through participating in social networks.

The study addresses "Six Social Needs" and relates them to Online social networks, suggesting that business can take advantage of these observations in creating more affinity with their prospects and customers.

  1. Online social networks provide people with the ultimate tool for defining and redefining themselves, as evidenced in profile pages on Facebook and MySpace.
  2. The need for autonomy, recognition and achievement are essential to our sense of self-worth and are fulfilled in online communities, blogs, and social networks that provide a way to develop and manage a virtual reputation.
  3. People have a need to both seek and provide help to others. Mutual assistance between strangers is a phenomenon that has been uniquely enabled by the Internet.
  4. Online communities are becoming the way people find, create and connect with others "just like me" - people who share similar tastes, sensibilities, orientations or interests.
  5. A sense of belonging or affiliation alone is not equivalent to a true sense of community. Achieving a real sense of community requires long-lasting reciprocal relationships and a mutual commitment to the needs of the community as a whole.

Communispace referenced its other research on social networking behavior and found that when companies meet the full range of social needs, they gain trust and deep insights into their consumers and community members. And when companies go still further to actively embrace and act on people's ideas they fulfill a sixth social need.

  1. People want to be reassured of their worth and value, and seek confirmation that what they say and do matters to others and has an impact on the world around them. Meeting all 5 + 1 of these social needs generally requires the level of intimacy and facilitation that are the hallmarks of smaller, invitation only online communities.


The study abstract and additional information about Communiscape can be found here.


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