“How Social Media Influences Consumer Habits”
Social media has evolved into one of the most influential tools of the digital age, and with good reason. The connectivity we experience when we’re online is nearly constant, with voices coming from countless users from all walks of life. Businesses have been quick to take advantage of these social platforms, but many fail to understand the true benefits of social media. In doing so, they risk leaving untold profits on the table.
The two most important goals guiding social media for businesses are increasing your online presence and improving customer interaction. Both are vital to any successful social media marketing strategy. The first aspect is often misunderstood, especially by smaller businesses. There’s something of a “set it and forget it” attitude when it comes to establishing a presence online. It’s a mistake to think that simply existing on a platform like Facebook or Twitter will make your brand easier for customers to discover, however, or that search engines like Google will randomly find your pages.
A true online presence on social media platforms derives its value from providing a service to the customer in some form. With social media, this often means content production. Whether you’re promoting a new product, giving updates on company news, or simply sharing articles that you think your customers will find interesting, social media presence is all about maintaining an awareness of your business in the mind of the public.
Once you’ve established a presence for your business on social media, customer interaction gives you an easy avenue to convert social media connections to sales. The measure of social media’s impact on sales relies on reach. Your reach is determined by your connections. Initially, posts you make will be seen by your followers. As your network extends into theirs, however, every post of yours that they share is seen by their connections. It’s in this way that the cycle can continue indefinitely and help you reach out to new audiences. The benefits of this go beyond typical exposure.
Studies of consumer purchasing habits reveal that people who share their purchases online are a powerful advertising tool, influencing those in their social media circle and boosting social media sales. The bigger their circle, the more people see what they share. It’s even better if they write a review of a product or service —when it comes to reviews, we trust the opinions of those closest to us more than anyone else.
An increasingly popular social media marketing strategy looks beyond a brand’s own audience and utilizes influencers. Influencers have a massive following and, for a fee, will make positive posts about your product or business. It’s important to understand that this strategy offers risks along with its rewards, however, before making the decision to pursue this line of action. You must carefully consider your own niche and the influencer’s audience to determine if they will fit your needs.
As the ecosystem of social media continues to evolve, new business strategies will emerge to adapt and take advantage of changes. But the strategies outlined above will always be practical and powerful ways to enhance your brand’s online reputation and boost social media benefits.