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This influential neuroscientist wants digital marketers to “change their mind” for good.


The social media marketing we know “thrives” on fundamentally erred principles. Dr. Matthew Lieberman’s scientific contribution titled “ Social: Why our brains are wired to connect” answers why most social media marketers “ know nothing” that matters to their job. The findings are still relevant after almost ten years since the publication.

 Dr. Leiberman studied human brains to understand the science that guides our natural affinity to make connections in the real world or online. He combined functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging fMRI with conventional psychological research techniques for his study.

Back then, several marketers used his results to improve their social media marketing strategies. He mentions why social media marketers fail at their job if they approach social media, especially when building a community with a typical marketer’s mindset. Dr. Lieberman states that social connection contributes to a person’s physical and mental well-being, and to harm that harmony will feel similar to heartbreak or a painful event. At Least that’s how the brain processes the situation. The study has two major takeaways marketers should adopt when building their social media marketing strategies. 

I will discuss them and a few crucial value-generating tips marketers can leverage when engaging with their social groups. 

Not all instincts favour you.

From a psychological viewpoint, marketers tend to believe their instincts over data. Marketers engage on various platforms with a thought process different from the actual participants. Science has already confirmed that brain regions responsible for social interactions differ from the ones that handle abstract reasoning. Marketers treat users and their interactions as merely sales instruments and tools. For that reason, their ability to evaluate the context and data related to the effectiveness of social media marketing is biassed. Only if they accept that social media is not a tactic will they be able to change things dramatically in their favour. They should also be honest about their data while disowning marketing data that exaggerates ROI. 

Put connection ahead of conversion 

People’s urge to connect and protect those connections dictate the quality of their existence. Human brains have created a mechanism to feel and safeguard against social disconnections in the same neural network that respond to physical pain. It doesn’t matter if the threat is serious enough to cause discomfort. As a social media marketer, you must understand that your audience will not pardon you for interrupting their social media normalcy or connections. Acknowledge the fact that social media communities have rules and etiquette, and members are subconsciously bound to reciprocate. To be part of them and receive something of commercial value, provide solutions to their problems consistently. You must stop thinking about converting and start connecting instead. That is why circumspect companies hire marketing personnel capable of finding resolutions, establishing connections, and fostering community building.  

The study was an eye-opener for many marketers and still holds promise in today’s highly intricate social media scenario. 

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