Millennials today are bombarded with images and videos of people who are paid top dollar to do mundane things, like eat and get dressed. These influencers aren’t paid thousands for nothing.
The impact that social media has on consumer behavior cannot be emphasized enough in words. Marketers who study consumers must also study social media, which is why we’re here today!
For many people like you and me, browsing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or watching countless videos on YouTube about something as simple as cat licking its paws, is something of leisure.
1.What’s going on in their mind?
Consumers, more or less, all follow the same process while buying something. Though it amounts to a sweeping generalization, almost all buyers follow this process.
I need this!
Consumers are 71% more compelled to buy a product if it has been referred on social media. 47% of millennial purchases have been influenced by social media.
The first step in any buying process is the consumer’s realization that he or she needs to buy something. This need could be anything, from the bare essentials roti, kapda aur makaan, a night at a 5-star hotel to celebrate your father’s birthday, or something as weird as an afro wig for your dog.
The things people are willing to buy on the internet will forever fascinate me.
A brilliant example of this is mouthwash. No one in the early 1900s ever imagined that they had to take care of the smell of their breaths. But once Listerine mouthwash started advertising, talking about how people need to smell good from the inside out, a new need was created.
What even is this?
Now that you’ve recognized your need for a dog wig (let’s be honest, you really don’t need it) you will now start looking for information about the product. 31% of consumers have time and again stated social media channels as the first place they visit before buying something. Millennials are 1.6 times more likely to use social media channels to learn about new products.
Want to buy a new phone? You’re going to check out Technical Guruji’s video about it. Want to try out clothes from a new high-end brand? You’re going to follow them on Instagram.
You want to convince yourself that whatever you are buying is worth the money you are spending.
Why should I get this?
Once you’ve gotten the information, you start weighing the pros and cons. This wig has better hair and will look great on my dog, but it costs 999 rupees! The other wig is just 699 rupees, but I won’t be able to braid it.
You can see the influence YouTube has on product evaluation more clearly than other platforms. Several reviews for several products, you’ll start watching reviews to review the reviewers! You’ll find the most honest reviewer, and probably even take notes on the products that you have stumbled upon.
This is a crucial stage in the consumer thought process for marketers. This is what makes or breaks the deal in the next stage of purchase decision for the consumers.
Which one should I get?
Consumers are 71% more compelled to buy a product if it has been referred on social media.
Your mom will look at your never-ending credit card bill, and finally loses her temper when she sees “Curly Braids Dog Wig – Rs. 1028/-” on the list. And that is when you plan to pull out the Instagram post with Tiger Shroff and his dog in that fabulous wig and maybe, just maybe, your mom might be convinced that you have made a wise purchase. (Again, being brutally honest, she won’t think buying a dog wig is a wise choice) An influencer might make all the difference by driving sales to that one brand.
I got it!
Even if the consumer has made up his mind on a purchase, things like a complicated process, asking too much information, bombarding the consumer with ads and offers and other products of the brand, and in general a poor atmosphere during the purchase process can still put the brand at risk of losing a prospective customer. This is why “Customer is King.”
Do I like it?
Ugh, I should have bought the other wig!
In today’s world, a marketer must constantly think about his or her customers, even after they have left your store with the product. Any kind of the above remarks are dangerous for any business. Through the word of mouth, they damage the business’s image.
Now that we’ve tapped into the mind of consumers, let’s take a look at how you can change them.
Read my article on 10 shocking impacts of social media on youth
2. How can you change their minds? Reviews from Influencers
We’ve already touched upon this before, but to get a clearer understanding, let’s take an example from our very own Technical Guruji.
He’s probably your go-to when it comes to technical gadgets. Let’s say you want to check out the coolest and newest Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Phone.
Guruji uploaded a video on its unboxing and first look. He talked about some of its technical features in its technical jargon, its price, and other things.
But here, we must observe his reactions to the unboxing and his experience with using it for the first time. Consumers will place themselves in his shoes, imagine themselves unboxing and using the phone for the first time.
So if he’s happy with the way something looks, they’ll assume that they’ll be happy with the way it looks too. They watch the video for the experience of imagining what it would be like if they bought the product in the process of gathering information.
89% of companies say that ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other marketing channels. Influencers are easy to find; every niche has a few popular personalities that cater to a very specific target audience.
Retargeting is a lot easier and affordable to do on influencer marketer platforms. Companies no longer need to invest on ads that are dispersed to varied audiences, they can pay a few influencers that are guaranteed to have an audience similar to their target audience.
Skillshare seems to be sponsoring a lot of YouTubers nowadays. However, they sponsor channels that are niched in a specific skill. Jazza was sponsored for his art, and Han Bang for UI/UX design. Skillshare knew who their target audience was, and where they were on YouTube.
3. Referrals from Connections
Every Indian student knows Internshala. Being one of the best websites to find internships in India, a lot of students have signed up on it.
One marketing method that Internshala (along with many other companies) uses is referrals. The deal will be simple, almost like affiliate marketing; If you can get 5 people that you have referred to sign up for the latest course Internshala offers, then you can get any course you want for half the price.
Internshala finds that this works because they know that people are more likely to purchase a product if someone who they know and trust refers it to them. Several brands have employed referral programs knowing the power that trust contains among people.
You might even consider buying something from a brand if you see a Facebook picture of your cousin using it. People automatically connect themselves with the people they know and trust, because they believe that their connections think and experience just like they do. According to Referral SaaSquatch Data Science, each referring customer makes about 2.68 invites. Twice the number of potential customers! However, only 22% of companies seem to have the proper tools to set the right referral programs in place. Look out for softwares like Advocately, which can boost your reach by 2x!
4. Social Media Presence of Brands
When Starbucks first launched in India, they asked their customers to post their happy moments while engaging with the brand. Once people saw how happy other people were with Starbucks, all of a sudden, everyone wanted their coffee!
The social media presence a brand has speaks volumes about how well they are willing to connect with their millennial customers. People are also more likely to be aware about the existence of a brand if they have and engage in social media handles, than those who aren’t.
Another example of great social media presence is exhibited by the Bangalore Police. By being constantly active on Twitter, highlighting important issues with touches of humor, their social media presence not only engages viewers, but also entertains them!
5. Social Media Advertising
Ever seen the sponsored posts on Instagram that seem to have the products that you exactly wanted? Or the tiny ads you see intermittently on Facebook with random products listing their prices?
Ads have a very important role to play, as everyone knows. But on social media, it’s a step further. Based on your history of posts and the people you follow, algorithms push certain ads towards you. You are an artist who just viewed an art page and saw an ad for paint brushes, aren’t you now more likely to buy them?
These ads create a sense of FOMO, Fear of Missing Out. FOMO is the reason why discounts are worded as Offer valid till Monday, hurry up! Instead of, Offer available from Tuesday to Monday. Try it out for yourself; Add a product to your shopping cart on Amazon, and delete it the next day. Are you seeing ads for similar products? Retargeting ads includes targeting users who showed interest in the product but did not buy. It works by by constantly hitting them with the same ads, and the same sense of FOMO.
The positioning and targeting of social media ads make all the difference in the way consumers purchase products of brands that have a social media presence.
Social media, along with its boons, has also brought with it its share of issues. These have brought to the table several ethical discussions. Though we can’t avoid them, it is important to know about them.
6. Bait and Switch Model
Many people can probably relate. They click on an ad that lists an amazing price for something that you’ve always wanted. Let’s say it’s a course on Ethical Hacking from one of the best universities. The price they list is an absolute steal! You click on it with absolute excitement, but alas, the directory says you need to pay a costly membership fee.
This is the Bait and Switch technique. You were first baited with a brilliant product and an amazing fee, but the reality is different from what you have first encountered.
This may seem unfair, but many people have learned to brush this off, growing incredibly tolerant to such practices. However, it does leave an impact on the trust consumers have in future encounters with the same brand. When you use the bait and switch model, you definitely do get a lot more views, but you brand yourself as someone who isn’t trustworthy. If you tricked them once, what’s the guarantee you won’t trick them again?
7. Privacy Invasion
Your life is not private. The selling of information is one of the shadiest but richest businesses out there. Remember those terms and conditions that no one ever bothered to read before? Chances are that they list how they might give some of the info you have enclosed to them to other parties.
It’s almost scary; You can google for what kind of spectacles will suit your face, and later be bombarded with ads from stores that sell glasses. You can watch one fitness video on YouTube and see an ad for a yoga mat from Amazon. Though frightening, it’s our reality, consumers must learn to be careful and brands must learn to be trustworthy.
Learning everything you can about your consumers is important, but to what extent? The more you invade, the more fear you create, and the more profits you will lose.
You see an ad for a yoga mat, no wait, the dog wig you considered buying, and then see Disha Patani endorse Calvin and Klein, while the Harpic ad that magically appears exactly when you are eating is being broadcasted on television.
You are constantly bombarded with audio visuals of advertisements because of unrelenting efforts by corporates. Not only does it pose an issue of attention span and focus for you, but it makes the jobs of marketers all the more difficult; How exactly can they grab your attention when it is so preoccupied with other products from other brands?
One thing marketers must take into consideration is timing. There are optimum times to post your content. Note down your more popular competitor’s times of posting, and post at times that they aren’t posting. Chances are your company will make a better impression when it isn’t overshadowed by your competitor.
9. Increasing Consumerism
While there are a few people promoting minimalism, there are others that promote a materialistic lifestyle without their knowledge.
Look at all these social influencers who seem to project a perfect life, with a stable income, healthy relationships, and great experiences. You want to be that person with a perfect life. Which is why you’ll buy the expensive perfume that the influencer endorses, eat at the expensive restaurant that they go to, and use the fancy hair products that they claim works miracles.
Caught up in all of this, it is no mystery why debates on whether people have become more materialistic have surfaced.
While the influencers are doing what they were paid to do, and the brands are doing what is right for their business, the psychology of consumers seems to have shifted; They don’t want the product for themselves, they want the experience that seems to have led to the perfect lives of these influencers.
Because of these materialistic beliefs, feelings of envy have surfaced largely. Everything someone wants but don’t have is in their Instagram feed with someone else. This leads to negative emotions among consumers, wanting your products for the wrong reasons.
If you want to know more about social media and marketing, feel free to check out Prof. Seema’s blog on Social Media Strategy and Planning.
10. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
When it comes to social media, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram turn out to be the favorites of the majority of companies. And why wouldn’t they be?
- Facebook is the most widely used social media platform.
- The number of daily Instagram stories users is around 500 million.
- Twitter is the top platform for discovery, with 79% of its users seeking to learn new things.
So how does consumer behavior change on these three platforms?
Facebook – A marketer’s paradise
Almost 75% of consumers fail to make a purchase after abandoning their shopping cart. One of the main issues that Facebook addresses is the complexity of registration. 40% of consumers prefer Facebook logins to websites, aiding companies.
Consider allowing your users to sign up with Gmail and Facebook, and watch how the numbers increase!
Though Facebook is one of the older platforms, users rely on it to remember birthdays! It is super convenient to get a notification about your friend’s birthday a week in advance. Paired with an ad for an Amazon gift card, Facebook has created a lethal retargeting weapon.
Instagram – The millenial’s storyteller
Stories are the favourite social media feature amongst youngsters, and top brands have realised that well in advance! 70% of top brands have already exploited the power of influencer marketing.
Platforms like Plixxo connect brands to suitable influencers, who are stars in their niche. These influencers have the reach that you need, at prices that you can afford!
See those polls on stories? These are used by influencers to better understand their audience, so that they can collaborate with the right brands and come up with ideal strategies.
Pair up with an Instagram influencer in your niche! Ask them to report to you regarding polls and comments on posts where your company is involved. Give them referral codes and coupons that they can share with viewers, create a FOMO offer with them, and watch the magic happen!
Twitter – Tweeting in pursuit of knowledge
Close to 32% of Twitter users are college-educated, and are knowledge seekers. This is the perfect platform to advertise books, courses, and channels like Discovery.
This is why most politicians and authors are active Twitter users. Twitter is the place to get popular through your insights.
CEOs and other company leaders can benefit from being active Twitter users. You don’t have to be CEO of Amazon, grow your base with humour and info associating with your company.
A short note, free to post on the world wide web, informing millions of readers about the 8th generation Kindle straight from the CEO did wonders for Kindle sales.
Get your company a Twitter account and follow big names in the industry! Tweet a short insight or a humorous anecdote on a daily basis. Once your follower count begins to increase, slip in a few ads here and there.
- We’ve stated all the facts to convince you why the impact of social media on consumers can’t be ignored, but here’s one final fact for you: Online stores that engage on social media channels have 32% higher average sales than those that do not.
- The buying process of all consumers is more or less the same for everyone, and the role of social media exists in each step of the way.
- People can be impacted by social media in all sorts of ways, from reviews to ads.
- Alas, nothing is too good to be true. Social media impacts come with their own negative repercussions.
- If you represent a business, then consider representing it on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! Include a signup with Facebook option, strike a deal with the right influencer, and create buzz on Twitter through humour and insights!
We hope you got all that you were looking for and more from this article. Comment down below what you think and what you want to see more of.
And for the record, I don’t think dog wigs are entirely useless.
They certainly provide a few great laughs!
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