Psychologists researching how people react to social media found two main chemicals are released when we go online.

Dopamine & Oxytocin

Dopamine is the chemical that our brain puts out when we want or need something. It is key in addiction, where dopamine levels are high and addiction behaviours escalate. In social media it’s triggered in anticipation of a response, a ‘like, comment’ or other response.

Oxytocin is the love drug. It’s one of the chemicals used to bond mother and baby after birth. What they found was that when people respond to our posts and comments we get a rush of Oxytocin.  Our brain chemistry says, we feel loved!

While it’s handy to understand this in how we behave online, understanding it is key to running a social media presence for your business.


Your fans will receive a rush of dopamine when they comment, like or otherwise respond to your posts online. Then they wait. And the longer they wait, the lower the dopamine level gets. Dopamine drops off quickly in humans. We get a quick hit and then before we know it, it’s gone.

When we have a spike of dopamine, our heart rate increases, we feel happy, we feel good about ourselves. It’s no wonder it’s involved in addiction!

So how do you keep dopamine going in your social media followers?

16265705_10209822976225474_8933525133595415959_nUse posts that encourage or make clients want to comment

Engaging posts will not only boost your Facebook Engagement (coincidence? I think not) but it will keep your fans coming back to your page for more. They will like the post and receive a little jump in Dopamine. Then they will comment on the post, and get another hit. The next step is tagging a friend so they can hang out and chat on your post; giving each other a little boost along the way.

Reply quickly to them

Ok, so what happens here is two-fold but here’s the low down on the brain chemistry of dopamine. When they posted they got a little hit of dopamine. They’re primed. If you respond quickly, they’re in the mood to respond. So chat to them and keep them happy. Who doesn’t love a happy customer!

Don’t have time for a chat?

Ok, so you’ve got so many happy customers that you don’t have time to reply. So you can employ a community engagement expert (ahem) or you can give their brain chemistry a little tickle of dopamine and give them a like.

A like to their comment isn’t going to get you as far as a comment, but it’s better than nothing at all. At the very least, we like to feel acknowledged!


So that’s how we feel connected to each other. I don’t know about you, but I want my clients to feel a connection to me. I want them to like, know, & trust me. So, I will be calling on the Oxytocin.

Oxytocin is the pair bonding hormone. The one that ties us together for life, or at least a long while. So this hormone will help you develop a strong and lasting relationship with your followers.

16265327_10209822904103671_8271321800948807077_n Be positive

No one likes a negative Nancy on their page. Even when you are faced with negative feedback on your page, be positive. Be outcomes focused. Acknowledge emotions. Be caring. Let’s face it, just be an all round nice person regardless.

I understand that it can be hard. It’s partially why I will schedule a lot of my posts. Let’s face it, I can’t always be up beat. To overcome that, I make sure that I schedule my posts and that way I consistently turn up in a positive frame of mind. (even when I’m not actually turning up and would rather stay buried under my doona)

Responding in a positive manner makes the recipient feel good about themselves and you. If your comments allow for and encourage a conversation you then open up the possibility of increasing their dopamine levels too.

Use emojis

Ok so not the :poop: emoji, though carefully placed it can be funny. But a good smiley or heart will show your fans that you care.

Respond with a smiley if you want to interact a bit more. If the persona of your profile can accommodate some hugs and kisses, do that. It makes you more approachable and reaching out with a display of emotion makes people feel good.

Don’t forget that responding with an emoji also helps with the dopamine reaction too.

I am aware that some of you might find it distasteful that I am explaining how all of this works and how to manipulate it in fans. The thing is that this is base brain chemistry. Like it or not, we can not control how our brain reacts in these situations. So I believe my role is to arm business owners with the tools and understanding of how to achieve their aims and how to make the most of their time online.


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