Social Media Influence on Consumer Purchasing Decisions
Social media is about growing and nurturing an online community with known and unknown people for personal gratification and it goes without saying that it has a huge influence on people. However the influence of social media has moved beyond personal preferences. Businesses prefer establishing their brands through social media.
They promote products and services on the new media and endeavor to create a two-way channel of interaction with the consumers. Though almost everyone believes that social media has a huge influence on the consumers, it is time to re-think on the matter. The over-emphasis on social media has raised many questions on whether the platform helps in influencing/ altering purchasing decisions of consumers. Many studies reveal that social media interactions haven’t really influenced purchasing decisions of consumers. But this can be changed by adjusting your social media interactions to the demands of the consumers. There are a few simple ways of influencing consumer decision that we have highlighted in the article.
Alter Conversations on Social Media
A recent study by Gallup has brought out startling facts about social media interactions. The report says that in America, though a large number of people are using these platforms, 62% people do not get influenced by social media in any way. Only 5% consumers get influenced by such platforms while making purchasing decisions. But what is the reason that businesses haven’t been able to influence purchasing decisions on social media? The most important lesson businesses have to learn is that people use social media for personal gratification and not for buying products. You cannot forcefully turn them into costumers.
However, it is true that people follow brands and trends on social media apart from using such platforms for connecting with friends and family. But these things do not bring a change in the purchasing decisions. When businesses use these platforms just to talk about themselves and only give out product-related information, it turns down the consumers.
Thus it is very important for businesses to alter social interactions with consumers. Businesses have to fully engage with the consumers, inspire them and allow them to take the front seat. If you can turn them into your advocates, half your job gets done. But if the consumers feel you are interfering with them, they will immediately block you.
Appeals Generation Y
Generation Y are heavy users of the Internet. They have literally matured with the growth of the Internet and its many services. Since the Millennials are key social media users it is important to appease them. But according to the Gallup study, the Millennials are not easily influenced by social media. Only 7% of Millennials get influenced by social media while 48% do not get influenced in any way.
Businesses have to keep in mind that Generation Y is hyper-connected and have access to multiple sources of information. They are no longer passive receivers of information. They like to participate and have their opinions heard. If they feel businesses are not listening to them and are only doing the talking, they move away. However businesses can influence these people by creating mobile-friendly content that is easy to access and that meets their needs and preferences.
Move Beyond Online Platforms
Businesses that think that interactions on social media are enough to engage consumers are definitely treading the wrong path. Businesses need to engage customers on multiple levels – both online and offline. The key point to remember is that brands have to create an emotional connection with the consumers. From offering consumers to customize products to taking their suggestions seriously, there are several ways to move beyond online platforms.
Stay Online 24X7
One of the important aspects of social media interactions is that communication can and should happen at all times. Consumers expect immediate responses from brands, whether it is morning, noon or night. If businesses want to improve their social media influence they have to be available 24X7 and reply to consumers at all times. Customer service can also be improved by being online throughout the day.
It is important for businesses to scale up their social media interactions in multiple levels so as to appease the consumers and make them take favorable purchasing decisions.