How Does Social Media Influence The Way We Shop?

General Marketing Social Media Reading Time: 3 minutes

From Facebook to Twitter, to Instagram and beyond, social media has slowly but surely gone from a platform to share thoughts and chat with friends to a full research tool. Whether you want to see updates from your favourite companies, look at new trends or see other customers thoughts on a product, social media is the place to do it!

First things first, online shopping!

Online shopping is the holy grail. There is nothing quite like sitting around and buying something with one click, which will turn up at your door the next day (thanks Amazon!)

Social media has revolutionised the way we shop online, with a brand profile having a simple ‘shop now’ button which opens a window to the website, without leaving the social media platform. I can go from commenting on a perfume to my friend, to seeing an ad for it, to buying it in a matter of clicks. I never stood a chance!

And do you shop online, without checking reviews?

There is little worse than ordering something online and it not being quite what we expected upon arrival! We have all seen the horror stories of users ordering a dog bed and it arriving the size of a pocket pack of tissues. Uh oh.

Many of us will use social platforms to talk to a company, leave our thoughts or simply check out others thoughts on a product. Seeing comments from real customers is really reassuring.

On top of this, if a user has a positive experience with a brand through social media, 71% of them are more likely to recommend it to others. Word of mouth is still alive and kicking, but tends to be more word of tweet, now. 

Promoters and influencers

You’ve probably seen a boom in ‘social media influencers’ across your timeline on various social media channels, these tend to be people with a few above the normal amount of followers, who stick to one specific trend (e.g. fitness, beauty, travel…). It’s been found that 60% of consumers say they trust and prefer content from ‘real’ people, rather than celebrities or the brand themselves.

When you see your favourite fashion profile sharing their thoughts on a new pair of boots, saying how fantastic they are, it definitely encourages you to trust in that product more.

When you talk about something and then see an ad for it an hour later…

Now, social listening is a very interesting one. It can feel a little creepy sometimes when you are talking to your friend and you mention you’d love to go on holiday to Bali, and within an hour you are seeing multiple sponsored ads from travel agents and their great deals to Bali this year. Bit weird, right? But so clever.

Unfortunately, it can be a little hit and miss, I spoke to my mum about X Factor and constantly saw ads for X Factor for a few days after, which was just a bit irritating. But when I borrowed my friend’s moisturiser and adored it, but forgot what it was called, it was actually really helpful when an ad for it popped up on Instagram.

How to make it work for your business

There seems to be a concern surrounding this freedom of speech about products, that as a business owner, you may get some bad reviews. Well, don’t panic! You can absolutely turn this into another brand awareness tool. If someone comments regarding late delivery or something similar, having the ability to reply in real time to the comments, in a stream for all your potential buyers to see, will show that you care and are reliable.

Also without even realising it, this a market research tool for businesses that use the social media platforms! If you take the time to look through your comments, you will notice customers suggesting ways the service could be improved, or other products they would like to see. You have access to the thoughts of the most important people – your customers, meaning you can constantly meet demands and up your game!

It’s not all about shopping

Social media hasn’t just shaped the way we shop, its changed the way we interact with companies before or after a service.

You may notice the sudden influx of tweets to train companies when there is a delay?  Not only has this created a channel to talk to a company, but it has created a community. there is nothing quite like disgruntled commuters taking to twitter when the trains are delayed.

This is a great example of how customers have a real voice towards companies to express their appreciation or dissatisfaction. We have seen the classic “how many retweets for a lifetime supply of chicken nuggets’ messages that have gone to McDonald’s and they have responded, which has been shared among thousands and thousands of users!

Time to harness the power of social media!

I hope this article has inspired you to start a kickass social media campaign! If you need a little more inspiration you can check out our other articles or if you are eager to get started with a bit of help from us, then use our live chat feature (in the right hand corner) or give us a call.

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