why social media is changing buying decisions image depicted by mobile device with social icons

In 2017, one report by Deloitte, according to Forbes magazine, found that 47% of all Millennials said that their purchase decisions were influenced by social media. Additionally, customers who include social media as part of their shopping process are four times more likely to spend money on purchases, and 29% more likely to be impulse buyers when using social media for purchasing decisions.

The ODM group lists the number much higher, at around 74% of consumers affected by social media to inform their purchasing decisions.

Regardless of the exact statistics or study that you choose to follow, it is obvious that it has become more important than ever for companies to get on the social media bandwagon.  Because it’s always important to know the how and why of anything, we have taken a look at why this is happening.

Why is social media changing buying decisions? Here are a few possible reasons to consider:

  1. Social Media allows you to read reviews from people you know — Anyone can go on a review site like Yelp and read and write reviews for popular businesses in your area.  However, social media allows you to read reviews from people you know. This makes a review much more potent because not only do you know that it’s a real person who left it, but you know the person, so you have an idea of how credible the person is.  It also shows you mutual friends in common with the reviewer, so even if the reviewer is not someone you know you’ll be able to see the mutual connections that may link you to that person.
  2. Social Media allows you to ask opinions of hundreds of people at the same time — It was one thing to call (or text) your friends or relatives to get an opinion on the best dry cleaner or dentist in town, but now you can literally post a status update that will reach your entire friend list within seconds. It makes acquiring business recommendations extremely easy (especially with Facebook’s new “recommendations” feature that will even lay them out for you on a map of your area).
  3. Social Media allows you to communicate with the actual brains behind a brand — Everyone was shocked when they joined MySpace and instantly became “friends” with MySpace creator, Tom.  Now, social media allows you to communicate with actual CEOs of major corporations.  You can tweet or retweet the founder of your favorite company, and you might even get a response!
  4. Social Media is completely interactive —  You can also interact with your favorite brands on a daily basis.  Twenty years ago, you could drop your business card in a fishbowl and maybe you’d win a prize, but other than that— you probably didn’t have much interaction with certain businesses.  Now, you can enter contests and comment on photographs that are appealing to you.  You can even engage with other customers about certain products and your mutual likes and dislikes.

Engaging Social Media

Today’s business is built on awareness, trust, and confidence. It’s important to be present with and responsive to your clients.  Social media is an increasingly important way for businesses to connect with people. It plays a significant role in purchasing decisions, and many people prefer to use social media to communicate with a business. With all of that said, it is so important that your social media remain engaging, as well as consistently updated. Having a social media plan should be an integral part of your marketing strategy to build your web presence.