I recently dipped my toe into Lula Roe. It wasn’t that a new local shop opened up that drew my attention, it was 100 percent what I was seeing on social media, particularly all over my Facebook feed.

When I saw a good friend of mine — who I know has the same clothing pickiness as I do — on Facebook decked out head to toe in Lula Roe, my curiosity was peaked. I sent a text to my local #lularoe connection and she promptly invited me over to shop.

It’s no secret that we are a product of our environment. We see online what our friends are doing, what they are making for dinner, how they are teaching a child to ride bike, and we learn. We learn from their mistakes and their success, and in turn we share ours.

In their book Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives, Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler examine how others on our social networks influence us. Christakis and Fowler aren’t new to this sort of research. In 2007 they published the findings of a study in the New England Journal of Medicine showing that a person’s chance of becoming obese increased by 57 percent if he or she had a friend that became obese. Spouses had a 37 percent chance if one became obese.

That same level of influence translates online. What’s said and seen online, definitely matters in real life, and neuroscience confirms it.

Here’s a fun fact: The same brain circuits that are activated by eating chocolate are activated when teens see large numbers of Likes on their photos on social media. The study, published in Psychological Science, also showed that teens were more likely to Like a photo if a large number of their peers liked it.

Whether it’s politics or pet care, national, or hyper-local, media and social media are drivers of social change.

What we post online has more of an effect on our audience than we think. And here’s another rabbit hole to go down: How are we using our social networks to impact our communities positively and display responsible digital citizenship? From a marketing standpoint, think of how we can positively promote positive thoughts and feelings to existing and potential customers. The possibilities are endless. After all, today I’m sporting my new #lularoeleggings and #lularoeirma.

 

Jamie Butow is a Partner Manager at Tru Measure, specializing in social and online reputation management. She has an undergrad degree in journalism and a Master’s degree in media psychology.