Does Social Media Influence Buying Behaviour?

Does Social Media Influence Buying Behaviour?

Social media has become an indispensable tool for consumers online in this day and age. It’s no surprise that all kinds of businesses have turned to social media to find and connect with their target market. The figures don’t lie either: consumers are 71% more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals.  Millennials are considered as the generation that spends most of their time online, 47% of their purchases are influenced by social media. They are also 1.6 times more likely to use digital channels to learn about new products. This puts social media platforms in a prime position for executing effective digital marketing campaigns. 
With these facts in mind, understanding how consumer buying behaviour works can help establish your best practices before investing in social media advertising and other marketing tactics.

What Is Consumer Behaviour?

Consumer buying behaviour is the study of how individuals and organisations select and use products and services. This primarily focuses on psychology, motivations, and behaviours, such as how people choose between brands, how they research and shop, and how marketing campaigns can be improved so brands can effectively influence them.
Three factors can influence consumer buying behaviour: personal, psychological, and social. Personal factors deal with an individual’s interests and opinions, which are affected by their demographics. Psychological factors are based on their perceptions and attitudes, including their ability to comprehend information and how they see their needs. Finally, social factors are made up of one’s peer groups, socioeconomic classes, and even social media influence.

Are People Buying On Social Media?

To a certain extent, it appears retailers are succeeding. According to Salesforce, 54% of millennials use social channels to research products before they buy. Similarly, Aimia says that 31% of shoppers use social to browse for new items.
But, does this mean they are actually buying through social media? Maybe not, because despite Instagram’s introduction of shoppable posts, plus shoppable features on Facebook, Snapchat, and Pinterest – research suggests that users are failing to actually purchase on these channels.
More and more companies see the opportunities of social media, and as a result they regard social media as a very important platform and pipeline and use it to advocate their own products and services. There is nothing wrong with this approach, of course; social media indeed helps marketing a lot, but one cannot just regard it as a sales platform.

What Influences Buying Decisions in #Social Media?

Social media has revolutionised consumer purchasing behaviour over the last few years, directly impacting the way they buy products and services. The fact that there are billions of opinions and reviews out there means marketers have to change their perception about social media from ‘fun to have’ to ‘must focus on’. The use of social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs and Facebook among buyers has grown considerably over the last two years. Facebook, in fact, doubled in popularity from 2010 to 2011. Although Google search still leads the way in terms of influencing online shopping behaviour, the steady growth of social media is opening up new opportunities for marketers to message and connect with customers.
According to Forrester Research, social media marketing budgets will see a 34% growth between 2009 and 2014, which is faster than any other form of online advertising. This data indicates that shopping via social media is poised for tremendous growth in the years to come, with product reviews and recommendations playing an important part. This is not to say that the role of traditional marketing channels in influencing buying decisions will decline; people watching and listening to marketing messages on TV and radio are more likely to consult their friends and followers before making a purchase. While reviews can help marketers further improve products, freebies and discounts function as powerful tools in driving sales. The current trend of consumers scouting social media for coupons holds good not just today, but will also be one of the primary factors driving online shoppers in the future.
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