There’s a lot of discussion about the ever-changing evolution of sales strategy. This evolution is strongly driven by one important factor – the customer. Have you ever wanted to know why people buy? And what influences consumer purchase decisions?
People generally buy your product and service in order to satisfy one of two main needs:
- Pleasure and enjoyment.
- Avoidance of pain or loss via solving a problem.
Your goal should be to find that pleasure they wish to gain or the problem they wish to avoid. The best way to accomplish your goal is by influencing them regarding how your product and service will help them avoid their problem, or gain the pleasure they seek.
Why Consumers Follow Brands on Social Media
There are endless reasons such as:
- To learn more about products and services.
- To keep up with with trends.
- To provide feedback.
- To join brand fan communities.
- To leverage promotions and sweepstakes.
- To make purchases.
The Biggest Influencer in Consumer Purchase Decisions
The way people buy products and services has dramatically changed over the years. People prefer prompt shopping and as a result, marketers may have little time to influence consumer purchase decisions. Many businesses and organizations dive into social media hoping to influence consumer purchase decisions and acquire more customers.
- Forbes conducted research to see how consumers engage with different industries including retail, travel, entertainment and financial business via social media networks. They found 81 percent of respondents indicated posts from their friends and family directly influence their purchase decisions.
- 38 percent of moms are more likely to buy products from brands that other women ‘Like’ on Facebook.
- 78 percent of people say that a company’s social media posts impact their purchase decision.
- 9 out of 10 users watch videos about the tech products they buy.
- After marking an item as a favorite – 50 percent of social media purchases take place within a week, and 80 percent of purchases take place within 3 weeks.
How to Use Social Media to Influence Consumer Purchase Decisions
Modify Your Social Conversations
Despite your tremendous efforts, do you find social media is not helping much to influence consumer purchase decisions? The toughest job is learning how to use social media channels the way consumers want to use them – and not the way you want to use them. Consumers have become more cautious with their spending. So if you’re trying to influence consumer purchase decisions by simply talking about your products on social media, you may find that your efforts generally fall flat.
Change your conversation style to engage fully with your existing customers. If they perceive your intentions and messages as sincere, they may become inspired to engage with you. Remember, social media isn’t only about driving sales and marketing. It is a platform for creating emotional connections through customer experience, conversation and exceptional service.
Instead of stuffing your Facebook page with information about your products and services, create pages that have data, statistics, testimonials from satisfied customers and insights. This will help you grow your reach there. To improve your Facebook page:
- Customize it. Set up photo galleries, post videos and links to showcase your products. Provide information that generates interest in your products and services.
- Use Facebook ads to track your performance. Facebook provides you with tools to target your ads based on demographics including geography, gender, relationship status and age.
- Create events and promote your next marketing event or product demo there.
- Create badges and widgets and include a ‘Like’ button to allow people to like your page without leaving your website.
- Create content that includes customer stories, photos, videos and other interesting information to garner attention.
- Generate buzz by conducting contests, offering freebies or prizes that act as incentives.
Enhance Your Pinterest Marketing Strategy
Pinterest is an effective marketing tool when it comes to influencing consumer purchase decisions. You need a consistent, strategic method to your pinning madness. The following practices can help you to develop the right Pinterest marketing strategy :
- Keep your Pinterest board clean and organized so that it’s pleasing to the eye and easily understood.
- Group your products. Try and make independent boards for your individual products/services taking into consideration how customers search for them.
- Identify who’s following you, pinning from your website and repining your content. Learn about the latest trends by observing what people are pining.
- Give your images a title, name and description. Pin images that people want to repin, like and share based on color psychology .
- Post pins at the right frequency and consistency, but overdo it and annoy followers.
People are usually influenced by their friends and family when making purchase decisions. Online reviews can do wonders . So encourage customers to give feedback on your social media profiles so that potential customers can feel more confident when making purchases.
Don’t assume that all customers will take the time to find you online. Make sure that buttons to your social media pages are prominent on your website, email signatures, newsletters and receipts. Once they sign up to follow you, give them enough reasons to pay attention. Offer exclusive discounts, announce the launch of a new product or distribute tokens to your VIP customers to further your brand identity.
Connect to Millennials
Millennials are one key social media audience that isn’t easily influenced by social media as 48 percent claim that social media has never influenced their purchase decisions. So you need to first understand how this demographic consumes information  and second, how you can deliver the right marketing message that appeals to them.
Millennials tend to consume content on multiple platforms through different devices and are typically not interested in the opinion of those outside their peer group. In other words, they’re highly influenced by what their peers think.
Your social media strategy should be different for them so create mobile friendly custom content that is relevant to their needs and preferences. Show them that there is no gap between what you say and what you do. For instance, if your company’s Twitter bio says that you follow back those who follow you, make sure to do exactly that. Be authentic – that is what they expect from you.
Your ‘All-Time’ Presence Does Matter
Consumers expect immediate responses from brands, especially through social media. Research shows that 42 percent of customers who complain via social media expect a response within 60 minutes. In addition, 52 percent expect responses at night and on weekends, even if it is not during the business hours. To manage critical situations, here’s what you can do:
- Scale your customer service. Have dedicated customer service agents that respond via the telephone, and others dedicated to responding via social media.
- Create an online community to enable customers to help each other.
- Help customers with ‘How-to’ articles that resolve the majority of their problems.
- Pay attention to negative feedback  and reply accordingly.
Concentrate on what your social media audience wants instead of what you want.
Buying  Photo via Shutterstock