Sometimes they do, vote, visit, patronize a business out of personal connection, need for peer recognition, striving for social status, to allieve guilt, maybe to feel good or perhaps simply, to appeal to the opposite sex.
Whatever the reason, when many people end up doing it at the same time, for the same reason, you can sometimes feel the magnetic pull of the crowd.
Attached is our 3×3 matrix of what we know motivates people to act on the “social web”.
On one axis is the person/customer motivation:
Intrinsic Motivation – you do something because it “feels good”, you feel compelled to buzz out of love or some type of kinship to the values of the effort or supporting sponsor
Extrinsic Motivation – you do something because it makes you “look good”, driven by some compelling need for ego or recognition and that this platform or initiative may provide you a bigger stage or certifiable proof of your brilliance
Explicit Motivation – you do it because you expect to “get something”, driven by your need for fairness and reciprocity in return for an effort put forward, and as many influence experts know, it’s better when there is some randomized component to these motivations, perhaps not expected as an outcome consistently
Customer motivation to buzz may in rare circumstances come from the brand and product itself, the totality of the customer experience or based on how you’re pre-wired and what proclivity for certain types of activity or motivation.
The big trap to avoid is thinking that response to social media is algorithmic, innate and instinctive, proportionate to the weight/size of carrot provided or cheap. It is neither of these things and all of these things. It’s messy and the best ones who do it, have a deep understanding and faculty for diagnosing what makes people tick. On the stuff you like to rave about, a combination of more than a few motivations, often from different matrixes, provide the “special sauce” to get people to act and talk. It always has.