Impact of social media on consumer behaviour
Impact of social media on consumer behaviour: A plethora of new digital equipment and methods have emerged In recent times, revolutionizing the world of electronic buying. These advancements have benefited both the customers as well as the sellers, creating a win-win situation for both parties. The rise of online tools such as social networking sites the mobile web, and coupon sites have empowered consumers to become active contributors rather than passive recipients of advertising information. Consumers now can share their opinions, reviews and feedback on products and services that are used by them, making a vital part of advertising campaigns. This shift has created a shopping attitude, akin to a gaming experience, which has expanded and complexified the field of shopping.
Despite all these complexities, it has also opened up more lucrative opportunities for both buyers and sellers. The advancement in technology has transformed the way we shop, making it more interactive and engaging for people. With the advent of the internet, social media and mobile technology consumers are no longer mere spectators but are active participants in the shopping experience.
In research, it has been found that social media has a significant impact on consumer behaviour. It has been found that social media can influence people, whether they are likely to recommend a brand to others, to try new products and to stay loyal to the brand, with social media acting to turn one-off buyers into repeat purchasers of their product and can increase brand loyalty. This is because social media has the power to transform one-time buyers into repeat customers and vice versa.
According to a recent study, Four out of five consumers said that social media can influence whether people recommend a brand to others, try new products, and remain loyal to a brand. By taking advantage of social media platforms, ( Such as Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Reddit, Pinterest etc.) companies can effectively promote their brands and products to a wider audience, as well as increase brand loyalty and customer retention. Therefore, social media is a powerful tool that can help businesses to achieve their marketing goals and increase sales. By creating engaging and informative content, companies can attract new customers, retain existing ones, and ultimately grow their business.
Not only can social media help consumer brands, but it can also be advantageous to companies hoping to build a professional network. Sites like Linkedin can build awareness of different companies and individual professionals who can connect with previous or current colleagues and help them to improve their job search. For example, professionals are signing up to join Linkedin at a rate of more than two new members per minute. Of these professionals that have joined the LinkedIn network, over 30 million are students and recent college graduates – making up LinkedIn’s fastest-growing demographic.
The role of social media (Impact of social media on consumer behaviour) can be understood from the following points:-
1) Consumer’s New Voice: Creating a virtual home for the business on a social media website offers companies extensive opportunities to increase their visibility with consumers. Welcoming them to the site lets free communication. On the consumer end, however, freedom means that a person can now voice his or her opinion about the product or company in a semi-public setting where multiple people can read or see it. Although this works to the company’s benefit if the opinion is favourable, an unfavourable remark potentially could drive away business. Deleting the negative messages from pages, control is only partially effective, as the commenter can post any negative opinions elsewhere, or even develop a page devoted to the negative opinion and censorship practices. Because social networks are designed to make information easy to share, the negative commentator can then easily get the message to other people within the network.
2) Consumer as Researcher: Social networking allows for the dissemination of a great deal of information about a brand or product. This information is not limited to what the company alone puts out there because many websites within a social media network are devoted to consumer-collected information. The increased availability has changed the consumer into a researcher. Before making a purchase, they can log on to a social media network and see what other people think about their products and how the company handle customer service. The more information available, the more likely the consumer will make the buying choice that fits his or her needs and that might not be the company’s goods if others have reported negative experiences
3) Consumer’s Loyalty: Being able to communicate directly with a brand representative online can increase a consumer’s loyalty to the company by establishing a personal connection that the consumer might not be able to achieve with other companies. Even when the consumer has a complaint, if the representative is professional, compassionate and understanding, much of the consumer’s can be abated. Although this is no different from a customer service employee operating in a store with an angry patron present, the online environment allows the company to take its time in formulating the best response and ensures consistency in responses to consumers.
4) Influence on Individual Buying Attention: Positive informational social influence not only significantly affects attitudes and beliefs about purchasing online but also greatly increases an individual’s buying intention. Among peer groups, this is reasonable to explain. Individuals who are subject to peer pressure are far more likely to conform to the normative behaviours of their particular peer groups. Purchasing behaviour influenced by peer groups typically goes through a transgression; beginning with normative intent (would-be consumers feel social pressure to conform to their peer groups’ expectations). And leading to identification (The would-be consumer adopts the behaviour and attitudes of their peers) and finally compliance (the consumer commits to purchase because they anticipate positive reinforcement or fear negative repercussions from their peers – just to be clear, negative repercussions could be being perceived as old-fashioned or uncool amongst their peers.
5) Enhanced Communication Abilities: Internet and virtual communities have transformed consumers. Societies, and businesses with widespread access to information, better social networking and enhanced communication abilities. Therefore social networks are defined to be websites which link millions of users from all over the world with the same views, interests, and hobbies. YouTube, Blogs, MySpace, and Facebook are examples of social media that are popular among all levels of consumers. Users are using different online formats to communicate, (e.g., podcasts, blogs, bulletin boards, social networks, and wikis) to share their ideas about a product, service, or brand and contact other consumers, who are seen as better objective information sources.
6) Full Access to Brands and Companies: Social media has had a massive effect on consumer behaviour. It allows brands to talk directly to their market, giving brands full access to understanding the needs, wants and desires of their target market. This is the ideal platform for branded mass giveaways and high-end competitions. Consumers are unquestioningly accepting information about a product from somebody who is not a friend or anybody they know, the information a consumer receives from influencers on social networks can come in a variety of formats from posts on company pages, tweets at company Twitter accounts or most familiar bloggers.
7) Increasing Consumer Knowledge: Social media (social networking sites, blogs, microblogs, consumer review sites, content community sites, wikis, internet forums and location-based social media) is all about enabling people to express and share ideas and thoughts with other people, but also enable them to connect to others like they were doing for the last thousands of years. What is of importance however is that social media:
i) Removed spatial and time constraints that were inherent in traditional methods of communication;
ii) Provided online tools that enable one too many sharing of multimedia content; and
iii) Employ easy-to-use interfaces that enable even non-specialists to share and connect.
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