These days, many organisations have realised that if used well, social media can increase their brand awareness and influence the decision-making process of their online community.Social media has evolved over the past few years. Some saw it as a tool for staying in touch with friends and loved ones from its early days.
Today, many business owners now acknowledge social media as a critical marketing tool.
Unfortunately, some business owners are yet to understand what role a social media account or content creation has on their online presence. They don’t have a clear-cut social media strategy or an experienced social media manager to guide their social media usage. They don’t know how to attract the average social media user to their business, neither do they understand the vital role of social media on their customers’ decision-making process.
When preparing such a strategy to guide your activity on any social media platform, there are several factors to consider.
For instance, is your ideal customer a regular social media user? Which social network do your customers favour? How are they using these social networks? How often do they visit a social media site? When undertaking the decision-making process, are they using these social networks?
If you have a dedicated social media manager or community manager, they should furnish you with detailed information about your online community and your social media usage. For example, your community manager will tell you which social media site your customers’ favour. Your social media manager will also help your organisation stay abreast of current trends and research findings from organisations such as Pew Research Center, etc.
So, I’ve put together this infographic. It highlights ways to use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to influence your customer’s decision-making process.
However, before I go into that, let me give you a general overview of the role of social media, why it is important in the decision-making process.
What Is the Role of Social Media?
Social media has become one of the most important tools for businesses to connect with customers. The best way to use social media is to create valuable content that engages users and encourages them to share it with others.
Social media is one of the most important tools businesses use in reaching out to customers. The primary role of social media for companies is to connect people and stakeholders in your business with each other and create a community around your business on various social media networks. This allows you to build relationships with your existing customers and potential customers on these various social media networks.
Why Is Social Media Important?
Social media is important for many reasons. It allows people to connect with others who share their interests and passions. It also provides an opportunity for businesses to reach out to potential customers.
For example, according to Statista, Facebook has become one of the most popular social networks globally, with over 2.8 billion monthly active users in 2021. The platform offers a variety of ways for businesses to interact with their audience. Thus it has become a major platform for businesses to use in connecting existing and potential customers.
Besides its popularity, social media and various social media networks offer a range of features that help businesses reach their target audience. These include advertising options, which allow businesses to promote their products and services through paid advertisements.
Therefore, companies that can afford it often have a dedicated social media team to provide customer service and technical support through any social media website on which they have a presence.
So I often advise clients to dedicate someone in-house with a content creator’s/social media role to oversee their social media campaign. Whenever this is not workable, I advise them to outsource their social media marketing to a reputable agency.
The Consumer Decision-making Process
In broad terms, the decision-making process comprises three stages, i.e. awareness, consideration, and conversion.This infographic highlights ways you can use social media platforms to influence your customer's decision-making process Click To Tweet
In the awareness stage, the person (i.e. your potential customers) realises a need for a particular product or service. In the consideration stage, the person identifies potential vendors for trading with them.
The selection of the preferred vendor is the conversion stage.
We can break down these three decision process stages further into five or seven stages! But for now, let’s leave it as is, not to overwhelm you.
How Social Media Impacts Consumer Decision Making
When making a buying decision, most consumers in the U.S. consult a social media channel. A study found that information they found on social media influenced a massive 75% of B2B buyers–showing that having a well thought out strategy can prove vital.
A study by Carnegie Mellon University Heinz College and Dell revealed that 57% strategically browse existing conversations on social media as part of their purchase research.
This article says that professionals with more networks are more likely to gather opinions through their online networks. They read blogs and query Twitter channels as early steps in the decision process.
According to these statistics, 81% of respondents admitted that recommendations and posts from family and friends directly affected their buying decisions. Simultaneously, 78% of people said that companies’ social media posts influence their buying decisions.
Deloitte’s review found that social media influences a full 47% of millennials, compared to just 19% of non-millennials.
Now let us see the role of some specific social media networks in the decision-making process.
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The Role of Facebook in Decision Making
Facebook has over a billion users. It is the largest social network in terms of active users, and its reach is even broader. This has resulted in the deep involvement of Facebook in individuals’ lives. Facebook users share a lot of personal and group content with their friends on the platform. This makes it an excellent asset for business purposes as well.
Facebook is a powerful tool for psychologically shaping people’s opinions. It’s not only to keep up on what’s going on in your surrounding world, but it’s also an alternative way to get the information you don’t have access to otherwise.
Facebook is one of the major social media platforms where many make their voice heard. Most people have at least one account on Facebook and discuss topics they care about with others – churches, politicians, charities, sports teams and celebrities.
Facebook has become a powerful medium for communication, consumer reviews, and comparison. However, it would appear that Facebook users are not communicating with one another as much as they are engaging with the products and services offered by companies advertising on their platforms. The search for unbiased information continues.
Facebook is a powerful tool for communicating with your audience, gathering feedback, and building relationships. However, it’s not the only social network you should use, and it might not be the social network you should use for everything. I’ve found that certain networks have a specific role to play in my online decision making. Some networks are more powerful than others in creating a unique experience, but it’s important to know when to use which network.
Did you know that while you were busy doing things that actually matter, Facebook was busy deciding what should and should not be on your newsfeed? Facebook is (mostly) a public platform, and it may choose what to show you. While it is a company, it is also a city whose goals usually relate to what its users want.
Facebook has recently become a popular social channel for news organisations and people to show their support for a cause or party. It enables an excellent opportunity for interaction with your neighbours or even opponents. For many individuals, it’s their first experience interacting with the outside world. Whether positive or negative, the social network certainly increases your exposure to different people or products.
Facebook has become a platform for directly communicating with others, which might bring people closer together. A study by the Pew Research Center found that 64% of Americans say social media have a mostly negative effect on the way things are going in the U.S. today.
Facebook is a live streaming platform which makes it easily accessible to all. It also provides a platform for conflict resolution for followers if there are issues that need resolution. Facebook gives you the power to share thoughts and opinions, even if they’re contrary to other people’s points of view. Many think that by posting on Facebook, they automatically present you with additional information in your newsfeed, and you have to see it all in one go. However, this may not be true as many people read Facebook through apps or on mobile websites.
Facebook events were indeed a world of excitement when they were first launched. The ability for people to connect in real-time with friends, family and colleagues in need of support was revolutionary. But we should not approach this from the point of view of Facebook itself. Rather, we should understand how and why someone using Facebook might make a certain decision strongly influenced by those interactions. This is what social media analysis reveals about the relationship between Facebook and specific decisions.
There are many benefits to being on Facebook. The biggest advantage is access to your friends, contacts and professional networks. Since they integrate it into your social graph, you know your fans’ and followers’ opinions and thoughts about your products as a business entity. This can help influence you to take action on anything they post and to take their opinions seriously. It can also make you more aware of what your competitors are posting about their products so that you can use that to your advantage.
Anyone with an Internet connection can view the posts on your friends’ accounts. This means that Facebook is a great resource for analysing the performance of other businesses and collecting feedback that can inform future marketing strategies and efforts.
We use Facebook in the awareness and conversion stages to gain a wider audience and educate them about your brand. Help consumers make an informed buying decision.
The Role of Twitter in Decision Making
Twitter plays an important role in our lives. It is one of the most searched for and used sites on the internet. It is used by millions of people daily and has become a dominant medium for sharing information on various topics ranging from politics to facts, especially by news organisations. The online interaction between the public and officials and between citizens and government officials has become a hallmark of democracy worldwide. As we move towards an era of social media presence, there has emerged an opportunity for citizens to have access to crucial information regarding local, state, and federal governments and business opportunities and communications with those in power. While we can use Twitter as an outlet for free speech and even necessary information, the platform also offers its users the opportunity to wield significant influence on policymaking and individual officers of cities, states, cities, or even countries.
As of the fourth quarter of 2020, Twitter had 192 million monetisable daily active users (mDAU) worldwide. As of March 2021, former U.S. President Barack Obama was the most followed celebrity on Twitter with nearly 130 million followers. (Source)
Twitter has become increasingly influential in the political world, especially in recent months as the US presidential candidates compete for the attention of their Twitter followers. Many people have strong opinions about these candidates, and voting in an election is no longer just a personal thing. With social media now a means of communication in politics, it becomes important to know how each candidate uses different platforms and which ones work best.
Following people is attractive, and almost everyone feels a strong desire to be known. When you follow someone, many people on Twitter may view their tweets. This leads to social proof and the belief that your opinions are being heard. Having this public following gives you credibility in the marketplace. This type of credibility and trust factor can prove influential with B2C buyers and B2B buyers.
We also use Twitter to share timely bite-size company or industry news and customer support in the awareness and conversion stages.
As a tool for customer service, Twitter’s role is priceless. Therefore, at the very least, I often advise clients to have a social media team or an individual to act as a content creator for Twitter and handle customer service issues. Such a person should also monitor social media trends and provide management with reports and in-depth analyses of the company’s activities on social media.
The Role of Instagram in Decision Making
Instagram is tempting for businesses for various reasons–free advertising, a tool for customer retention and resource builder. It amazes me how many small companies, startups and advertisers are using it for all kinds of different marketing purposes–injecting humour, engaging customers in fun photo interactions or getting creative and adding a bit of colour to their storefront.
Instagram plays an important role in business marketing, and for a good reason. It enables you to incorporate face-to-face interactions with potential customers and also allows you to test new products and services while providing a place for sharing relevant information and personalising each post.
Instagram has become so popular that hundreds of thousands of businesses now use the platform as a promotional tool.
Let’s look at some relevant statistics from Statista about Instagram:
With roughly one billion monthly active users, Instagram belongs to the most popular social network worldwide. The social photo-sharing app is top-rated in the United States and India, with nearly 140 million Instagram users each. The United States projected the number of Instagram users to surpass 120 million MAU in 2023. (Source)
As of July 2020, over two-thirds of total Instagram users worldwide were aged 34 years and younger. Users aged 25 to 34 years accounted for the largest share of global Instagram audiences. (Source)
We use Instagram to reach a wider audience both within and outside the brand. It allows businesses to engage with consumers more casually and work in marketing strategies that would otherwise be difficult or expensive to execute. However, new techniques emerge because of the platform’s success, such as proprietary filters that allow users to develop personal connections that transcend industries and borders. As more businesses use Instagram to engage customer outreach, industries are interested in the platform as a strategic tool in making advertising decisions.
Instagram is the largest social network with over one billion active users. It’s also one of the most applied. As a useful tool for consumer marketing, it has many benefits but also pitfalls. How many times have you stumbled on product or service details that you later shared with friends on Instagram?
Instagram is everywhere. The app has over half a billion monthly active users and is a mainstay in some of the most important current conversations. Thousands of companies have their Instagram accounts, but there’s one company that stands out from all the rest: Quora. With over 18 million followers, Quora is one of the fastest-growing brands on Instagram. And it’s not just their popularity but the quality content that sets them apart. Thousands of questions and answers posted daily are a gold mine for businesses of all sizes, which can use the answers to grow their business.
Instagram can build brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, and boost engagement. It offers a unique opportunity to engage customers, promote products, and build customer loyalty while improving brand awareness. It is a powerful platform available to anyone with an internet connection. Humans are visual beings; therefore, the methods by which Instagram is being used by businesses today have much to teach us how to market better and advertise all aspects of our business.
We use Instagram in the consideration stage to display captivating photos of your brand. Share lots of behind-the-scenes stories and pictures of your brand.
The Role of Pinterest in Decision Making
Now let’s explore how Pinterest has become a valuable part of the consumer decision-making process. Pinterest is a popular social network, and according to Statista, as of the fourth quarter of 2020, Pinterest had 459 million monthly active users worldwide. During that period, the visual bookmarking platform had 98 million MAU in the United States, compared to 361 million international monthly active users. Pinterest allows users to pin any image (including videos) onto their boards.
Pinterest has become an integral part of many people’s daily lives. Why? What does it have to do with decision making? Well, for starters–social networks can help you discover things you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. Your ability to gather information, compare products or services, and review others makes Pinterest a powerful resource. It can also help you decide faster and easier because it puts all your options in one place.
Pinterest is one of the most useful and popular websites on the internet. It has brought together a wealth of user-generated content, combined it with graphics, organised it into categories and boards. Using it as a source of inspiration and information is one sure way to build a strong retina perception of attractive things. In deciding what to buy on Pinterest or any other social media site, graphics are crucial.
There are a lot of factors that promote the benefits of using Pinterest for inspiration and sharing content. One enormous benefit, however, is the ability to gather content for your own marketing strategy. It’s a great way to provide a reference for what you want to do and what others are doing, as well as stuff for people to look at. And if you’re planning on starting your own business, Pinterest is the perfect place to brainstorm interesting ideas for products that people will want to buy.
Pinterest is a social media game-changer for networking; it encourages users to share pictures and spread the news of their own creative works. According to Pew Research Center, women continue to be far more likely than men to say they use Pinterest when compared with male counterparts, by a difference of 30 points (46% vs 16%).
Pinterest has become a household name in just a few short years. A simple search on Google will turn up thousands of results. There are two types of businesses that are most likely to benefit from Pinterest: small businesses that don’t have the time or personnel to manage their own social media channels and bloggers who want to expand their brand but don’t know who they should sell to.
We can also use Pinterest in the consideration stage to highlight your brand and industry trends through your pins. Create separate boards for your different products, services or interests to attract the right buyer.
Over To You
How are you using your social media channels to influence your customer’s decision-making process?
Schedule a marketing consultation if you need help with social media marketing, your social media strategies, or your social media campaigns for any of these platforms. Do you like what you’ve read? Subscribe to my monthly newsletter. If you’ve found this post and infographic of value, please share it with your friends. I’d appreciate it. Thanks for your time.
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