Social media platforms act as a connection between consumers and brands. And they’re used extensively by companies to promote their products and services or to provide customer service.

A business (whether big or small) needs to be present on social media. But why is this presence so important for a business?

Because social media can influence consumer purchase decisions. How can we say this?

To know the impact of social media posts on consumers, we surveyed a large number of US-based consumers across various age groups and discovered that social media posts from companies (that they’re following on social platforms) influence consumer buying decisions as much as posts from their friends do.

We found that a significant proportion – 84% of consumers were influenced to buy a product or service after seeing their friends’ social media posts, and almost the same proportion – 83% of consumers were influenced by posts from the companies they’re following on social space.

So, for a business, pitching social media content to consumers can be a powerful strategy to drive consumer buying decisions.

Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways - Impact of social media on consumers.

The proportion of consumers who were influenced by social media posts:

  • 84% of consumers’ purchasing decisions were moderately to highly influenced by their friends’ social media posts.
  • 83% of consumers’ purchasing decisions were moderately to highly influenced by social media posts from the ‘companies’ they’re following.

Why do consumers “like or follow” a company’s social media profile?

  • 86% of consumers would “like” a company’s Facebook page if it offers discounts and incentives on the products.
  • 79% of consumers would “like” a brand’s Facebook page if it posts details on sales and other events.
  • 70% of consumers would “like” a brand’s Facebook page because they like to share things with their friends.

Impact Of Social Media Posts By ‘Friends’ and ‘Businesses’

Our study indicated that a large percentage of consumers were influenced to buy a product or service after they saw social media posts by their ‘friends’ and the ‘brands’ they follow on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, etc. To be precise, we asked them a few questions that are as follows:

How do social media posts from your ‘friends’ impact your purchasing decisions?

The study revealed that social media posts by friends impact consumer buying decisions the most.

A large proportion – 84% of consumers were moderately to highly influenced to buy a product or service due to their friends’ social media posts.

While a much smaller proportion – Only 16% of consumers said that their purchasing decisions weren’t impacted at all due to their friends’ social media posts.

How do social media posts from the companies you follow on social media impact your purchasing decisions?

Even here, a large majority – 83% of consumers said that their purchasing decisions were moderately to highly influenced after they saw posts from the businesses they follow on social media.

On the other hand, just 17% of consumers said that social media posts from the brands they follow didn’t impact their purchase decisions at all.

So, company-driven social media content is an influential factor that can drive consumer buying decisions.

Not only this, but a large majority of consumers also use social media to register their complaints with a brand or company. As per our Twitter consumer engagement survey, 7 out of 10 consumers expect the company (they’ve complained about) to read their tweets. So, a company must provide customer service on social media.

On analyzing the age groups of those surveyed, we discovered that a large majority of younger consumers (aged below 54) were highly impacted by social media posts (from friends or the brands they follow on social platforms) compared to the older ones (aged above 54).

Key findings related to age groups:

  • The largest majority – 9 out of 10 shoppers aged 35-44 were influenced to buy a product or service after they saw posts from their friends or the brands they’re following on social platforms.
  • Buying decisions of older consumers (aged 54+) were least influenced by social media posts. Around 69% of consumers aged above 54 were influenced by social posts from their friends or businesses they were following on social platforms.
  • Purchasing decisions of a greater proportion of younger consumers (aged 18-24) were influenced by social media posts from companies they’re following on social platforms, compared to posts from their friends. 85% of shoppers aged 18-24 were influenced into making a purchase by social media posts from companies, while a slightly smaller proportion – 80% were influenced by posts from their friends.

Offer Them Value, They Would Like You!

Most of the new age businesses struggle to build an audience on social media and to make consumers “follow or like” their profile on social platforms.

“Likes or follows” on a business’s social media profile are considered important in the social space because they can act as a metric of authenticity and reliability.

Through our survey, we asked consumers a few questions to know what factors or things influence them to “follow or like” a company’s social media profile.

To get the best and specific results, we focused our research on one of the biggest social media platforms – Facebook.

They like to be informed about sales and events.

When we asked them – “If a business posts details on ‘sales’ or other events on their Facebook page, would you “like” their Facebook page?”

A significant proportion – 79% of consumers said, “Yes, I would “like” a brand’s Facebook page if it posts about sales and other events on its Facebook page.”

On the other hand, only 21% of consumers said that they wouldn’t “like” a brand’s Facebook page if it posts about sales and other similar events.

It appears that a majority of consumers want companies to remind them about sales and other events on their Facebook page. Below is a great example of Amazon’s Facebook page.

A post about ‘prime day’ sale on Amazon’s Facebook page.

Discounts and incentives are most ‘liked’ by consumers.

Who doesn’t like discounts? Our study revealed that consumers like social media posts from a company about ‘discounts and incentives’ the most.
When we asked consumers – “If a business offers you discounts and other incentives on their products through their Facebook page, would you “like” their Facebook page?”

The majority – 86% of consumers would be happy to see posts on a business’s Facebook page about ‘discounts and incentives’ on the products and services it offers and would “like” the Facebook page too.

On the other hand, just 14% of consumers said that discounts and incentives don’t matter to them and they won’t “like” a brand’s Facebook page even if it offers discounts and incentives on its Facebook page.

They like to share posts with friends.

The survey suggests that consumers “like” a business’s Facebook page that posts shareable content on its Facebook page.

When we asked them, “Would you “like” the Facebook page of a business, simply because you like sharing your favorite things with your friends?”, almost 7 out of 10 consumers responded with a ‘yes’.

On the other hand, 30% of consumers won’t like a Facebook page just because they like to share content with their friends.

So, consumers are more likely to “like or follow” a business on social media platforms that offers value to them. For instance, information about relevant events, discounts, incentives, offers, or sharable content.

Bottom Line

After extracting data from the survey, we have to admit that social media is a dominant platform that marketers and business owners can use to influence consumers to make a purchase.

That’s why, social media is also one of the major platforms where companies compete and strive to build an audience of consumers who also get influenced by a company’s social media posts to make a purchase in the future.

So, it’s essential for a business, big or small, to be active on social media and constantly pitch quality content to its consumers.

But, it might not be advisable to post content just for the sake of it. Rather than posting content that does not offer value to the consumers, it would be better to try and come up with easy ideas that do. As our study indicated, consumers are more likely to “follow or like” a business’s profile or page on Facebook (or any other social media platform) if it offers them value and quality content.