There are so many factors that have the potential to influence buying behavior among people. Studies have shown that even though different age groups have unique factors, current trends are some of the most powerful. They are so powerful that many marketing campaigns have been built upon trends alone, with remarkable success.
However, another factor that has the potential to influence buyers' decisions is social media. In fact, social media can also influence all the other forces that shape buying, including the trends themselves. Read on to find out some of the incredible ways that social media is affecting buying decisions.
Most trends are started and driven by social media influencers.
Social media influencers are individuals in specific niches with a lot of experience, credibility, and followership. They are often a significant voice in their industry, and their loyal followers look to them for information and clues on 'the next big thing.' Brands know this, and that’s why they pay influencers to promote their products and services.
This influencer-driven demand isn't new, as celebrity recommendations have always been the source of demand, even before the era of social media. Consider that the tulip bubble of 1636 started when seemingly savvy people in the society got obsessed with inherently worthless bulbs of tulips.
Their speculation-based demand for tulips drove the prices higher and higher. Eventually, the trend caught on, and everyone wanted a tulip. Today, the phenomenon is much more evident because social media provides influencers an easy way to reach their followers.
Peer recommendations are held in high esteem.
Besides following influencers, people also use social media to connect with one another. Facebook’s original goal of connecting people has been shared by all social media platforms. So much so, that social media is now the convergence point of communication. The global community that this creates means that users get to share their opinions and recommendations fairly easily.
Statistics show that 71% of people are more likely to buy things if others recommend them. With social media, a single individual can reach hundreds of thousands of people and share how they really feel about a product. Every part of their experience, from the way the merchant acquirer processes their payment to the speed of delivery, molds their opinions. These opinions are then shared on social media and people can act on it.
More communication between brands and their followers
Social media also allows brands to connect with their audience in unique ways. This communication has the potential to sway buying decisions in their favor. While peers can share recommendations and good product reviews, they can also share bad ones. As we've already established, recommendations travel very quickly, and so, they can negatively impact the brand’s image.
But then, an active social presence prevents this from happening. Brands can swoop in and manage the situation. They can turn a negative experience into an opportunity to earn a new loyal follower. They express communication, and that also makes it easier for brands to promote their products and services.