Following the crowd or affirming your own decision?

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“I will not be concerned at other men’s not knowing me; I will be concerned at my own want of ability.” – confucius

 

 

Who knew? It turns out that people engage with their favorite brands on Facebook far more than on any other social network!

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Think back at the last time you shared your views or opinions about a certain product or service with someone… did you have recommendations for your friends about the product or service? Did you try to convince them that the choice you made is the best one and influence their buying decisions?.

3 Ways Social Media Marketing Influences Consumer Behavior

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We thrive on sharing our thought and experiences ofb ppln social media every day. At a park, a restaurant, on public transport or even crossing the road, there’s at least 10 people with their heads buried in their phones with a smirk on their face or typing away furiously like their life depended on it…most likely watching a dog dressed in suit and tie, eating spaghetti with a fork and knife or outraged by a celebrity who’s wearing a fur coat or you’ve just found out that your favorite brand of makeup is tested on animals!

decisionsFacebook is also starting to be seen as influencing consumer decisions as people notice online comments by friends on Facebook and make purchases based on this sharing

A study by Bughin, Doogan, and Vetvik (2010) suggest that “word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20 to 50% of all purchasing decisions…”

Are consumer purchases on Facebook likely to be less on convenience purchases and more on shopping and specialty purchases? Would anyone share their thoughts about Tim Tams or about their favorite flavor of Gatorade drink? Yeah! I think they would! I’ve seen people like the Tim Tam page and their friends gasp in despair for missing the Tim Tam promotion van on their special edition mini pack range. Fellow ‘Gatorades’ share their gym work outs on Facebook, as well as shares Gatorade Facebook pages with their gym buddies!

10 Quick Facts You Should Know About Consumer Behavior on Facebook

men holding likescomScore report says that Facebook ads influence consumer behaviour.

Considering conformity vs. individuality it can be argued that as adults we seek products that set us apart from the rest and pride ourselves on individuality, but many still seek approval and recognition from others around them, thus conformity in our purchases are likely to exist in purchasing decisions in one’s lifetime.

According to research of Keller & Libai, 2009, social talk generates over 3.3 billion brand impressions each day.With social media like Facebook, consumers are able to use it as a single platform for their pre-purchase product identification and research, narrow on purchase consideration and decide on purchasing channel and write reviews and generate word of mouth in post purchase phase for friends and other users.

This superior mechanism of word of mouth has undoubtedly strengthened the power of the consumer. What do you think?

Why do you think an individual buys a product? To fulfill a need? To be likable and feel belonged in a social group? To join an elite club or reach a social status?

Why would someone fill a customer satisfaction survey, write a review or like a product’s Facebook page? Is it simply for the enjoyment of the social interaction and experience?

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17 thoughts on “Following the crowd or affirming your own decision?

  1. With so many friends saturating your Facebook page every hour of the day, it would reduce the effectiveness of any marketing campaign due to information overload as your friend list increased. Then it would become about luck and timing, jumping on at the right moment to see the campaign as you are not going to go back and read through past post past a certain time. This would present an interesting businesses opportunity for Facebook.

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    • The interesting this about Facebook advertising is that the ad is able to interst different type of Facebook user at different times, regardless of when it was posted. So many users see the advertisement that their friend had liked, at different times and may choose to share it or like the page depending on their own individual circumstance and in turn the ad is re-seen by some and pop up as new on others walls. Some times seeing and ad on Facebook is different to seeing it on tv because the user gets to see who else has liked the ad and in turn may change their opinion about the product.

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  2. With facebook I think this is where gamification is central to getting people to hand over information – there’s something in it for them – either to see why their friends have liked it, or to have a chance at winning, or to connect with & keep up with others.

    I agree with your statement about conformity & individuality “but many still seek approval and recognition from others around them, thus conformity in our purchases are likely to exist” – perhaps status is being confused for individuality?

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    • Isn’t it funny how individuality is such a focus in a consumers mind in everything they purchase? We all want something different that no one else yet owns, but still want the product to trend so that we don’t feel like an incorrect decision was made? We’re the happiest when we are the first to notice something or create a trend that catches on and be at the top of the conformity pyramid!

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  3. I think the level of engagement customers have with social media including Facebook is highly dependent on the extent to which that they have transited from bricks and mortar to online world.Those who highly trust E-commerce sites and do most of their purchases online even those of high involvement, have forged a kind of link with virtual word.This category of customers would probably feel enthusiastic about sharing their ides and experiences as they have moved from offline to online by purchasing everything online and having significant level of trust regarding online retailers,I really believe it is a matter of evolution from being scared of purchasing online to becoming loyal to online seller and finally becoming an opinion leader who loves to share ideas with other customers and prospects.Probably the sense of belongliness to an online community like the one I am feeling sine I started blogging here is also a motivator for those active customers in social media.

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    • I agree. It’s a bit of an unknown world until you join it. I first started reading reviews and searching for others perspective of a product, when I wanted to make a purchase of something that non of my friends have used before or a time when I didn’t want anyone to know of a new product before I have had the chance to purchase myself and show off!
      I think online reviews play a crucial part of online consumer behavior and online purchasers reply heavily on each other for an honesty opinion. It’s a great platform for gathering pre purchase information about a product and deffinetly helps to narrow down options in purchasing stage. It also is a great way of providing the consumer with self importance and sense of value after purchase when a product creates a platform for the purchaser to let others know how the consumer experience was for them.

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  4. I think Facebook taps into what Maslow refers to as Belongingness and Esteem needs:
    http://www.learning-theories.com/maslows-hierarchy-of-needs.html, or is it the marketers that are creating this? I certainly admit to seeing something that my friends are doing on facebook, like eating at the hottest new restaurant, and then all of a sudden feel a “need” to go there as well – despite being perfectly content before seeing it. Social media, especially facebook gives companies and marketers an opportunity to sell their products via friend’s recommendations, tapping into the “word of mouth” phenomenon that you point out in your blog. Facebook helps companies do this by creating the “(name) recommends” ads, Did you know that if you “like” a product, then you will show up in your friend’s new feeds as having recommended the product? I certainly didn;t until I saw this episode of The Checkout. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ubkv7_tEuqE. Turns out is is also very hard to turn this function off! Clever (sneaky) facebook!

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  5. There’s no doubt facebook is a massive machine in regards to word of mouth. There’s some store/brand competitions that you can only enter via facebook. Being slightly older than your typical uni student, & a facebook observer, I think why the platform works so well is that people want to think that their opinions, beliefs, thoughts & feelings matter & that people care about them. An interesting reflection on generational differences in parenting styles I think. I get a bit annoyed with the whole self importantance of it all. The online anonimity is a bit scary too – how do you know who they really are if you don’t know them?
    And I agree with comments on the Conformity Vs Individuality. This changes a bit as you get older & have more life experience. In regards to conformity. there was an intersting chat with Dr Amy Banks on ABC Radio National that talks about the dopamine hit we get in our brains when we connect/engage with people, and how drugs, alcohol & sugar provide a similar hit. Interesting angle for reflection on society at present & issues surrounding drug & alcohol related violence. Have ordered the book to learn more.

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    • I like your opinion about the generational gap among Facebook users and your perspective on Facebook users’ self importance. Certainly the younger generation love to have their opinions heard and as a consumer, for them, what others think has a massive influence on their purchasing behavior. I also think that the older crowd very much rely on acknowledgement from their piers and like to challenge each other with their purchasing power and that in turn influences their purchasing behavior.

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  6. Very familar sharing.It is true that social acitives are a very important approach to help brands develop significantly,which is a key way to generate word of mouth,while word of mouth is more persuasive as well as covering more individuals in short time.Also it is an important indicator for the feedbacks of postpurchase.The final stage of the purchase process is the customer evaluation postpurchase and buyers assess their purchase and the purchase process,posting on facebook or sharing with others.Besides word of mouth,commercial and professional are also crucial external factors to affect brands’ development.In a word,social activies will affect friends’ behaviours for shopping directly and significantly,thus to pay more attention on how to build positive image in the social channels is a markeitng strategy for marketers.

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    • So true. I believe that the strategy that marketers use will define how the ad on Facebook is perceived. Some companies use it purely like a notice board to post ads on, where as more strategic marketers host competitions and create a fun environment where Facebook users are engaged and creates more shares and in return reaches a wider audience.

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  7. I thought your blog was interesting. I personally believe that social media like facebook is not the great marketing tool that is being espoused in your post. Having used facebook for many years now I cannot say that I have ever clicked on a link for an advertisement. The reason for this is that I have so little time that is free in my day that if I visit a social media site I restrict my interaction to seeing what my friends are doing. That being said I do have friend that is a musician and he posts regularly about where he is playing and has a large following on facebook. For him facebook is a free form of marketing because he is not paid advertiser.

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  8. Fascinating perspective and also very revealing facts.
    As the increasing electronic devices integrate into our daily lives aggressively, social media appears to have stronger influences on various perspectives of our lives such as purchase decisions, opinions towards to things etc. However, we seem to forget “our own voice” but blindly follow and duplicate what others are doing or saying, in order to seek for fitting into social comfort.
    Also, it is interesting to see how marketers are “abusing” social media the increase their brand awareness and “force” people to follow to purchase.

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    • I agree, sometimes on a Facebook feed all you see is advertising. We’re deffinetly surrounded with reminders of the many prospects of spending our hard earned money.
      At the same time, I can’t help but being appreciative for it because when we have the need to purchase a product, one of the first things we do is research and try to justify the purchase and its freely available in a platform so widely and easily accessible as Facebook.

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  9. Many companies now have Facebook pages with thousands of followers. Humans being social animals are greatly influenced by the opinions of those close to them. It has been said that word of mouth is one of the best ways to promote a product. When a person is impressed by a product they recommend it to their friends and family.

    Recommendations that come from people who are close to us have more weight than commercials and ads! I personally, have recommendations on products that I have used and try to convince friends to adopt those products if i like them, and vise verse if I don’t!.

    At the same time we should be open to recommendations by others because they is simply no way we can try all the products for ourselves and then see which ones we like. The crowd can try far more products than any one individual so it seems reasonable to at the very least – pay attention to the crowd.

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  10. 3 Ways Social Media Marketing Influences Consumer Behaviour

    Consumers share their experiences in using products on their social media profiles, positive experiences shared serve as an endorsement of that product to their friends (online audience). Negative experiences shared negatively affect the perception of products. Since word of mouth is important in determining purchasing decisions, companies must as much as possible provide the best possible quality so that they receive endorsements from their consumers on social media.
    Many companies have Facebook pages and their consumers interact as well as give feedback on these pages. In order to stay ahead companies need to have an online presence, since that’s where consumers spend a significant portion of their lives.

    10 Quick Facts You Should Know About Consumer Behavior on Facebook

    There are a number of reasons why individuals purchase products and it is difficult to pin all purchase decisions onto one specific reason. Basic goods such as food are bought to fulfill needs while other purchases like makeup, chocolate or a sports car could be purchased to feel belonging to a social group.

    I think consumers should be treated as individuals with many different motivations, some of them basic needs and others social needs. Products should try to appeal all human needs. Filling out consumer surveys gives customers interaction and engagement with other human beings, just as Facebook pages create a community spirit. In what ways can organizations tailor their products for both consumers as individuals and as social (community) beings?

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