Oxitocin is the hormone that both stimulates labour and milk production in the childbirth process, it is also responsible for the "bonding" process. That is the process where a mother and baby form an instant, deep connection. Further to this, scientist have been exploring Oxitocin's influence in the social recognition process.
While the research is still in it's infancy, there appears to be a link between the presence of Oxitocin, when in close contact with friends and loved ones, lower stress levels and feeling of contentment and affection.
And to top it all off, studies have shown levels of Oxitocin increase whether you are physically with your friends and loved ones, or you are interacting with them on-line using social networking.
So now we are beginning to understand that sharing time with people on-line is similar in emotional value to physically sharing their presence. Placing on my economic survival hat; as businesses, can we make use of this?
Yes we can. Providing we as businesses are a part of our customers' life in a valuable way.
I do not believe there is any value in using social networking unless you are prepared to strike up and maintain strong relationships with your clients. Merely broadcasting (at best, spamming at worst) to your clients will elicit response rates similar to direct mail (very low at best, black banned at worst).
The secret to making Facebook and Twitter work is to enhance your 'word of mouth' marketing, to help the fans of your business become true advocates, so they speak about you to their networks, broadening your reach.
So picture Twitter and Facebook like a big party where you can move around the room mingling with your friends. Twitter and Facebook keeps the party open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
You need to ask your business self, would you invite you to the party?