How Social Media Influence Consumer Purchase Decisions?

February 24, 2017

Social media has gained so much traction when it comes to consumer buying decision, particularly with the influence of peers and KOLs.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter allow brands to effectively interact and engage with a wider audience. Other than keeping up with trends, consumers typically follow brands on social media channels to look at product information or to check out new products, some will look for ideas and inspiration for gifts, others will seek for feedback from peers and the community and take advantage of promotions to make an informed buying decision.

Psychological Influences

Most consumers, even the most rational ones, will somehow be influenced by emotions or recommendations of peers. For instance, when someone is browsing through Facebook without any purchase intentions but see a live demonstration of the latest iPhone by a KOL or celebrity on social media, one would rationalized its buying decision by emotions when looking up all the new cool features of the gadget.

  • 78% of consumers said that social media posts impact their buying decisions
  • 47% of consumers who purchase a product via social media said they had not thought about buying it but it just happened upon it

Social Peers Influences

According to Forbes’s research on consumer engagement with different businesses via social media networks, it is found that 81 percent of respondents agreed that recommendations and posts from family and friends directly influenced their buying decisions.

Social media is very effective when it comes to convincing consumers to buy, particularly when they see their family and friends have bought a product. It is because they are being influenced by someone they can trust.

The Bandwagon Effect

Consumers in general have a crowd mentality, as people opt to move together in large groups, so it is easier to convince consumers to make a buying decision if their peers have already done so. This is why social media is such an influential medium when it comes to marketing because the social network is structured by a large global community.

Insights for Businesses and Brands

Businesses and brands can ride on these social platforms to influence consumers’ buying decision by showing them how their products or services are going to solve an existing problem or increase their enjoyment and pleasure.

  • Utilize visual and graphics posts with supporting statistics and data to demonstrate to consumers how the same products benefits their peers and friends
  • Post any success stories of a service or solution featured by a satisfied customers or key opinion leader (KOL)
  • Adjust promotional message style in social posts that consumers can be identified with