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February 15, 2012

No matter how much you use or ignore social networking, at some point you have probably considered the same question: Why did this become so popular and important so quickly?  The newest study of the Coca‑Cola Retailing Research Council of North America finds some simple human needs and behaviors underlying this entire trend.

Simply put: people have a need to communicate, create, collaborate and connect. Understanding these primary motivations can explain why social media sites like Facebook are now the most popular destinations on line or even why nearly 90% of consumers use web-tools for research and input before making a decision. As one respondent told our researchers, Facebook is a window to her world, helping her connect on all of life’s activities.

Social networkers communicate to stay in touch with other people, one of the most basic of human needs. This explains why 250 million new photos are posted on Facebook daily or why 2,314 new Tweets appear on Twitter every second. Users feel a sense of creation through these postings and use social networking to gain acceptance and fulfillment by originating and sharing concepts with others, seen again through those updates, tweets, blogs and more.

Through collaboration each individual seeks help and input from others toward shared objectives, whether related to work, family, diet or more, which leads into the ability to both give and receive advice through consultation. What businesses have to realize is that both positive and negative feedback can guide purchase decisions.

More insights on the needs and behaviors surrounding social networking can be found in this new CCRRC study conducted by The Integer Group. The entire report is being rolled out in phases and can be found at www.ccrrc.org (North America page).

Michael Sansolo

Research Director

Coca‑Cola Retailing Research Council of North America