In this new look at Social Interaction Psychology and Social Bond Theory, copying the motions, expression and mannerisms of people you meet appears to have a whole lot to do with promoting social bonding.New research appearing in the August 14, 2009 issue of Science suggests that the way to get others to like you is to mimic their behavior.Imitation appears to unconsciously break down barriers that encourage those who don’t know each other to become friends – the foundation of social groups according to the study authors.The unique set of experiments involved observing the behavior of Capuchin monkeys playing with wiffle balls.This breed of monkeys was used because they’re a highly social species that forms close social bonds. The monkeys did one of three things when they were given the balls, either probed it with their fingers, pounded it on a surface or put it in their mouths.Paired with two researchers (both also with wiffle balls) each monkey played with the ball – one researcher did the exact same motions with his ball as the monkey, the other researcher did something completely different.After the test, the monkeys consistently chose to spend time with the researcher who had imitated them than with the one who had done a different motion.Even when it came to doing a simple task, taking a small trinket from the investigator’s hand and then returning it for a food reward, the subject monkeys continued to prefer the researcher who’d imitated them – consistently choosing them to execute the task over the researcher who hadn’t mimicked them.This was interpreted by the research team to be a sign that the monkeys felt a sense of affiliation toward the imitator.This work is the joint effort of a team of scientists out of the National Institute of Health (NIH) and two Italian research institutions.The study authors point out that humans are known to imitate the postures, mannerisms and gestures of those they come in contact with, though the behavior is believed to be largely unconscious on both sides.Neither side realizing that the mimicking is taking place, and finding themselves feeling affection (or empathy) for those who mimic their behavior.Earlier research has shown that people are more likely to help their imitators, and under the right circumstances leave them a more generous tip.This is of course interesting social interaction psychology, and seeing that primates are pre-disposed to bond with those who imitate them, may put proof to the saying that imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery.
The unique aspect of social networking sites is that they can bring together people from all backgrounds and walks of life. People with similar interests can correspond with each other and share their experiences in their chosen endeavors. In the early days of social networking sites, it was mostly music and the arts that were represented on these sites. Today, they have long since expanded their focus to include all manner of interests in numerous varieties. Case in point, it is possible for fans and enthusiasts of the exciting sport of snowboarding to “congregate” on social networking sites and share their passion for the sport.Actually, the numbers of benefits a snowboarder can gain from employing the services of a social networking site are vast. But, if you were to summarize these benefits into one word, it would be communication. Basically, if you are able to communicate with other snowboarders you can procure information on a variety of snowboarding topics. These can include:Tips on which resorts, hotels or inns to use are always helpful. Some resorts have great deals on snow lift tickets and some resorts are affiliated with some amazingly cheap hotels in the near vicinity. Why not ask your fellow snowboarding travelers as to which venues are the best to visit?There is also a great deal of snowboarding equipment out there and some brands are better than others. If you have questions regarding the top name brands that are delivering top notch snowboarding equipment, you’ll be able to ask other snowboarders and get real word advice from people who have actually used that brand and model of equipment.And, of course, those that are fans of snowboarding will almost always be looking to plan new trips to their favorite snowboarding destinations. This means social networking sites can provide an excellent venue for organizing group trips to some of these destinations. Why travel by yourself when you could set up a great group travel session with those that share your interests? Using group travel is also money saving, which is certainly an aspect that is important to most snowboarders.Are you a novice at the art and science of snowboarding? You could employ social networking sites as a solid means of learning about this great sport. Conversely, if you are an expert, you could always use a social networking site as a great way of offering your expertise to others that share your passion for the sport. Perhaps you could even produce and post “how to” videos on the social networking sites for the information and entertainment of other members. Checking out YouTube, you can find hundreds of helpful and fun videos on snowboarding.You can also check out communities that are specific to snowboarding. Create a profile, join groups, post to a blog and post pictures of your trips. At no point will your social networking site be dull and that is a good thing since snowboarding is never boring either!So, if you are an avid snowboarder, exploring opportunities available on the social networking sites is definitely advisable. This will ensure you always have a rewarding time with your hobby.
The goal with social network marketing is twofold:1. You are trying to enhance your site’s community by establishing outposts on social networking sites so people who share your interests, or are interested in your products and services, find you and your site.2. Getting involved in social networking multiplies the number of places that your site and your products can be found by search engines, which is critically important to the success of your e-commerce business.How To Leverage Social Media Networks To Our Advantage?Simply, we are trying to spread the word about your e-commerce business. You can take your product reviews or blog posts and spread them as far as possible online enlisting the help of these sites. It’s important to make sure the content you’re promoting is interesting and helpful to the audience you’re trying to reach. Remember, people like to do business with their friends if they’ve never met you offline. By being reasonable and participating in social networking, you’ll expand your credibility and potential customer base in many important and helpful ways.It’s also important to recognize that these social media outlets were designed to serve as conversation platforms, and not as overt marketing channels. Sending messages that are overly promotional or commercial is often compared to shouting at a party where everyone else is chatting quietly, and the backlash can overwhelm the benefits of participation. As an ecommerce business owner I recommend taking a couple of weeks to monitor the various sites to get a sense of the patterns and informal rules before posting anything.Which Sites Do You Need To Target?Here’s a brief overview of the important sites you need to target:Digg.com: Digg is a popular social news website in which community members vote articles up and down, with the most popular articles appearing on the front page. Users submit articles on topics including technology, world & business, science, gaming, lifestyle, entertainment, sports and offbeat. Having an article reach the home page can generate a tremendous amount of traffic to your e-commerce venture very quickly, but a Digg link can be helpful even if you don’t make the front page. Your link will be archived and available to search engines, as well as being available to users who search within the Digg archives directly.Twitter.com: Twitter is generating a ton of online buzz, and for good reason. The short messaging service is evolving into a communication and news platform that e-commerce ventures can’t afford to ignore anymore. Twitter allows users to exchange short messages that are limited to 140 characters, which is roughly about 25 words or so. Many sites have found good success posting (“tweeting,” in Twitter lingo) short summaries of new blog posts or product reviews, highlighting interesting articles or trends in their area of expertise, or just reaching out and seeing who might be interested in the same things they are.Twitter’s ‘hashtag’ (#) function, for instance, makes it very easy for users to search on specific events or topics other users have marked with hashtag function. Many attendees at popular conferences, for instance, use hashtag searches to find and meet each other. Check Twitter’s search page (search.twitter.com) to see popular topics generating user interest.Facebook.com: Facebook has long been popular with college-aged students, but since it opened its doors to a general audience, the site has been growing rapidly, with most new users coming from an adult audience that’s over 30. To reach this growing audience, e-commerce venture owners can create positive marketing relationships on Facebook in two ways. The first and most obvious way is to invite customers to “friend” you on the site. You may not want customers to share the same details or photos you’re sharing with friends and family members, but you can create limited profiles that allow people to get a bit of a behind-the-scenes look into your business without revealing too many personal details.In addition, while Facebook is best known for its personal “profiles,” it does let organizations create pages that allow Facebook members to become fans of your e-commerce venture. While they may be more likely to become fans of a football team or a Bollywood star, Facebook fan pages give your venture another opportunity to highlight interesting content related to your business and, almost more importantly, provide search engines with another place to discover content about, and related to, your e-commerce venture and your market niche.If you do not have a personal Facebook account, you can create a specific account for your business. According to Facebook, a business account can add information, photos or videos just as a personal account can, but can’t see information about visitors and can’t explore other areas of Facebook, so this might not be the best option for your e-commerce venture.MySpace.com: Similarly, MySpace is a popular site especially with younger consumers, that’s becoming an important marketing tool for e-commerce businesses (and a critical outlet for bands to reach their audience). As with Facebook, you can reach this growing audience by forming relationships with customers and other people. In addition to setting up a profile, MySpace lets users join and create groups that attract people who share your interests or hobbies. If you’re trying to sell guitar accessories online, joining groups that serve guitar players would give you great insights into their interests and equipment needs, and allows you to share content and create relationships with other members of the guitar-playing community.Does Social Media Networks Really Help?If you want your e-commerce business to stand out amongst the crowd it’s becoming necessary to have these tools on your website. Your business will not survive over the long term if you are not connected with the audiences within these networks. Furthermore you can achieve great success simply by offering something of value and your e-commerce business can go viral very quickly.Take the time to understand how these social media outlets fit into your e-commerce business and over time you will start to see the benefits.