Social media has become popular in recent years, especially post pandemic. About 56% of consumers say they’re more influenced by social media and videos when shopping online now than they were before the pandemic (Stakla). As we know it, social media as a channel is now extremely common when it comes to learning about brands. According to research done by Sprout Social, 65% of consumers have already made purchases directly through social media, while eight in ten consumers expect brands that have a social media presence to interact with their customers in a meaningful way.
One of the reasons social media has a huge influence on consumer behavior is because it is simply available when the users want to consume it. Consumers voluntarily choose to interact with brands on social media, when they are online – browsing casually or intentionally. Consumers are constantly discovering more about the brands they like via live videos, shares from influencers, ads, hashtags and more. 80% of consumers say that brand familiarity makes them more likely to buy on social media. Voluntarily clicking on a post, ad or video based on engagement is far more effective than pushing out information, that they may not act upon otherwise.
The other reason consumer behavior is impacted across social media is that brands are putting in the effort to engage with their target audience effectively. Brands are evolving to engage with the audience since they have come to realize that it is impossible to do business remotely. Brands are leveraging social media to showcase their personalities, culture, and ethos. Brands are using social media to build their authenticity with an aim to develop trust and loyalty of their consumers. Check out some awesome examples of successful social media campaigns by brands that not only provided value to their audience but truly engaged them in the process. It is not surprising as confirmed in a recent study that, customers that engage with brand on social media are three times more likely to remain loyal to the brand.
A recent Deloitte report highlighted that consumers who are influenced by social media are four times more likely to spend on purchases. Additionally the influence can be so high that 29% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase on the same day of using social media. Talk about creating a sense of urgency.
Customer service is another reason that impacts consumer behavior across social media channels. In addition to engaging with their favorite brands, consumers are turning to social media for their customer service. How many times have we seen frustrated consumers lash out on social media channels to voice their concerns only to have companies address these concerns at break neck speed. I have personally done this to hear back from a customer service team or a dispatch team. Consumers like me and you are using social media to share product reviews, information and warnings about a product or service. Whether it is reviews or simple star ratings, it is found that 54% of social media users browse social media to research products before making a buying decision.
With the growth in use of social media, social proof is playing a large role in influencing consumer behaviors across social media platforms. Social proof is a tendency to imitate behavior of people around us and that we know. There is a tendency to feel that ‘if they have bought this, it must be good’. This psychological phenomenon where people copy the actions of others in an attempt to emulate behavior in certain situations, has a large impact on buying decisions. Testimonials, reviews, case studies, star ratings, influencer recommendations are just some of the ways brands are using social proof to influence buying decisions.
While consumer behavior is influenced across multiple social media channels by all these factors, one strategy that never fails, is building consistent relevant content for the audience on a preferred channel in the format of their choice. For this to work, research your customer persona – their needs, wants and frustrations. Once you know the topics that interest your target audience and their preferred channels – you are on your way to attracting and engaging them, nurturing them and slowly moving them through the sales funnel towards conversions.