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How Does Social Media Impact The Consumer Decision Making Process

Once upon a time, almost every company followed a distinct business model. Customers would spot a billboard or read a printed flyer and recognise that they had a need for the product or service it was advertising. They would then go directly to the company that was selling the product to get a quote. After thinking about it for a while, they would make a decision whether or not they would going to buy and finally make their purchase. In the past, this was a long and drawn out process – but not anymore!

Today, we’re living in an era of social media. More than 3 billion people around the world have at least one social media profile. They access Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms regularly both from their desktops and, most importantly, their mobile devices. All of this means that social media, when harnessed correctly, can have a major impact on the consumer decision-making process.
See the full 7-stage consumer decision-making process infographic from CommuniGator here: communigator.co.uk/blog/consumer-decision-making-process/

1. Recognising The Need For A Product

Traditionally, the first step in any sale is the consumer recognising that they need a product or service. In the past, this was achieved via traditional methods like paper adverts or billboard advertising. While these are still in use today, social media has a massive part to play in this step of the consumer’s process of making a purchasing decision

Almost three-quarters of all shoppers are now making their purchasing decisions based on social media.

Targeted ads placed carefully on social media platforms allows products and services to be put in front of potential buyers. Adverts can be placed which align with business goals, to drive up sales and establish greater brand awareness. Potential customers can click on a social media advert and arrive at the website of the brand in question. Social media is a very powerful tool in this respect, with the possibilities that it offers for shareable content, engaging product videos and attractive product imagery.
Running contests on social media platforms also helps to generate awareness of a product or service. Businesses regularly see spikes in engagement with an increased awareness of their brand and an increase in followers following a contest.

2. Gathering Product Information

Once consumers have recognised they need a particular service or product, the next step in their purchasing journey is to gather the necessary information to make an informed buying decision. Social media can be useful in this respect too. Brands which have a strong social media presence can exert their influence on consumer purchasing behaviour. Having a consistent feed that showcases services and products will turn casual visitors first into followers and then into buyers, driving more purchasing decisions. The more followers a brand has, the more sales they’re likely to make – there’s a simple correlation there.
Buyers who are in the product gathering stage search for suppliers or solutions and more people are carrying out this search via social media platforms. Keywords, therefore, have a key role to play in social media rankings too. When savvy businesses harness the most appropriate keywords for their business, integrating them into comments, profiles, photo captions and headlines, they can draw potential customers towards their products and brand.

3. Evaluating The Options And Assessing Evidence

Once customers have gathered all the information that they need about the product or service that they’re keen to buy, they come to the evaluation stage of the process. Social media once more comes to the fore when it comes to helping drive consumers towards making the right purchasing choice. Evidence shows about two-thirds of shoppers look at reviews before they make most types of purchase. Here, social media can prove to be invaluable.

Social influencers can be very beneficial in this respect. Individuals who have a significant social media following attract a large daily audience who place great importance on their opinions and ideas. With this in mind, they can be targeted by companies who want to promote their products. Whenever influencers share their posts about the product in question, their followers immediately become more interested in finding out more about that product. When the brand or store is tagged in the post, followers can quickly become familiar with that brand or store and become more likely to make a purchase.

It isn’t only significant influencers’ opinions which can have an impact when it comes to social media, however. Reviews from ordinary people matter too. Many people use social media to tell their friends or family members about new products that they’ve discovered. This, in turn, encourages those who read about those products to buy them too. 80% of shoppers admit that they’re more likely to buy an item if a friend recommends it to them, and therefore when brands encourage customers to spark up conversations about their products on the social media platforms, they can raise awareness and drive consumer purchasing decisions in the right direction.
It’s obvious that all businesses, whether a physical store or an e-commerce operation requires a powerful social media presence if they wish to drive up sales. With a targeted and effective social media strategy in place, companies can drive consumers through their decision-making process and succeed in persuading them to buy their own product.

Ben Alfrey

Ben is a passionate and self-motivated search engine marketer, with a keen interest in technology and psychology. He enjoys understanding how users act and think online, then using this data to generate results that add to the bottom line. 


How Does Social Media Impact The Consumer Decision Making Process Reviewed by Mili Ponce on Thursday, May 02, 2019 Rating: 5

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