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How Does Social Media Influence Consumer Behavior?

According to research conducted by GlobalWebIndex, 54% of the consumers use social media platforms to research products and services and 71% of them are more likely to buy those products and services based on feedback they find on social media pages. Social media has completely changed the game of brand marketing and consumers’ behavior towards products and services. It influences consumers in not just their buying decision but also their consumer habits in general. Since more than half of the world’s population owns an internet connection, they spend most of their time online, and this is bound to influence their behavior.

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Consumer buying behavior

It is the study of the stages that consumers go through when deciding about purchasing a product or a service. It focuses on the psychology, and motivation behind consumers’ behavior such as how they choose between brands, and how they research a product or service. It also includes how marketing campaigns can be designed to effectively influence the consumers’ decision-making thought process. 

Three main factors that can influence consumer buying behavior which are personal, psychological, and social. Personal factors, as the name suggests, include the consumer’s interests and opinions, which are affected by the demographics. The psychological factor is based on their perception and attitude about the product and services and how they judge them based on their needs. And then social factors are the ones that include one’s peer groups, and socioeconomic status.

Social media activities that influence consumers’ behavior

Social media changed the way consumers make decisions about products and services. 

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  • Before the internet, consumers would watch products being broadcasted on their televisions multiple times, go shopping the next week and finally have the product. But now, there is online shopping, and consumers who are influenced by social media are more likely to purchase the order on the same day.
  • Social media has made research accessible for consumers. When a consumer sees a product or service on the social media platform, he can immediately look up reviews and feedback about the same product or service on Google or use hashtags and decide whether they should buy it or not. 
  • Every time a consumer posts a tweet or recommendation about an amazing product or a café that they visited, their social media followers can see it and have their perception about the same product or place be influenced. Whether it is a good review or bad, research as per Forbes has stated that 81% of the consumers’ decisions about a product or service are influenced by their friends’ posts or tweets on social media.
  • Social media influencers also play a major role in influencing consumers’ decisions about a product and service. These influencers are mostly followed by consumers that have the same interest as them and their opinions and lifestyle are perused over by a large number of people. Influencer Marketing Hub has estimated that around 50% of Twitter users have availed a product or service after viewing it on a Tweet from an influencer. Influencers are good at persuading their audience about a particular topic or a product, and that is why they are a natural source of recommendation for brands or businesses. Gen Z or millennials are more likely to have their purchasing decision being influenced.

Consumers behavior throughout the whole process

Keeping the above information in mind, the consumers’ decision-making thought process can be divided into the following steps:

  • Need recognition about a product or service
  • Searching for a product and service
  • Information gathering about the product or service and evaluation of the alternatives
  • Purchasing of the product after considering all alternatives
  • Post-purchasing evaluation and reviewing of the product or service

Use consumer behavior information to advantage

Companies and brands need to acknowledge the consumer power that can make or break their product and services. While observing and evaluating consumers’ behavior, companies need to continually invest in technologies to accurately target consumers, experiment, and update their offers to keep their interest and focus on other consumer-centric marketing techniques. These basic survival kits will help their brand image in the long run. 

  • Build a social media presence by signing up to a social media platform
  • Grow your brand awareness by creating content that targets the right consumers based on their social media behavior, preferences, and demographic
  • Introduce promotions, discounts, and deals on social media platforms to attract new and existing consumers
  • Coordinate with social media influencers to endorse the brand’s product or service to the target audience
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