How Social Media Affects Consumer Behaviour

How Social Media Affects Consumer Behaviour

As of April 2024, there were more than five billion people using social media across the planet. That’s a staggering 67.1% of the global population!

With the global prevalence of smartphones, as well as secure, reliable and constantly available internet, it’s no surprise that social media usage is so prevalent.

Is your brand taking advantage of this widespread usage? 

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, X and TikTok encompass such a huge part of our lives. Today, even older generations can be scrolling for hours on end! But did you know that social media also influences how consumers shop, and what they buy?

Let’s take a closer look at how social media influences consumer behaviour.

The power of influencers

One of the main ways that social media can impact consumer behaviour is through influencers. 

Influencers are those with a large following on social media. They often promote products and services as part of paid brand collaborations.
But a person doesn’t necessarily need millions of followers in order to be an influencer.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what constitutes an influencer:

· Mega influencers: Have more than one million followers
· Macro influencers: Have between 100,000 and one million followers
· Micro influencers: Are those with between 10,000 and 1000,000 followers
· Nano influencers: Have between 1,000 and 10,000 followers

When social media users see their favourite influencer using a new skincare product or wearing a particular pair of shoes, they might feel tempted to buy them too. This is because people tend to trust the opinions of those they admire and follow.

78% of marketers found influencer marketing to be an effective way to increase brand awareness. Is your brand taking advantage of influencers to enhance brand awareness?

Peer recommendations

With social media, it’s so easy for people to see what their friends and family are buying and using. What followers are up to inspires others to do the same. 

For example, if someone you know has tried an amazing restaurant or purchased a cool gadget, this can often influence us to want to try it out for ourselves.

Peer recommendations have something very unique about them. Because they come from people we trust, they are so much more powerful.

Social media takes word-of-mouth advertising to the next level. As a result, through peer recommendations, businesses are now able to reach more people than ever before.

Social proof

Social proof also affects consumer behaviour.

Social proof is a psychological concept whereby people’s decisions are influenced by others.
Let’s say you see a lot of people purchasing a particular product or using a particular service. In this instance, you’re more likely to do the same.
For instance, when a video of a new tech gadget goes viral, everyone will be talking about this amazing new product. This makes you want to be a part of this trend by buying it for yourself.  

With social media, it’s easier than ever to see what’s available on the market, and what’s trending. Often, people are influenced by others’ purchasing decisions, without even realising it!

Targeted advertising

Most of us are well aware of the power of algorithms to show us relevant ads. This is known as targeted advertising.

We’ve all been there before. You’ve just had a conversation with a friend or have performed a quick search for something online. Suddenly, you start seeing ads for that product on Facebook or Instagram. This is no coincidence!
Social media platforms collect data based on our online activities. They then use this data to determine what we are interested in, then show us ads that are likely to catch our attention.
Yes, this personalised approach might alarm us initially, but it works. When done properly, it can make us much more likely to click on the ads and consider purchasing the products or services.

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

FOMO is a strong emotion that has been made even stronger by social media. How many times have you seen others enjoying a product or experience, and felt like you’re missing out if you don’t have it too? This fear of being left out can drive you to make purchases just to keep up with others.

Other factors that inspire us to make purchases are limited-time offers and flash sales on social media. By creating a sense of urgency, people often feel like they need to buy something quickly before the offers expire.

Reviews and ratings

Reviews and ratings are extremely powerful. Before buying something, a lot of people check the online reviews and ratings first. These have the ability to make or break consumer’s buying decisions.

On social media platforms, users can leave a comment about their thoughts and experiences on a particular product or service. When people read positive reviews, they feel so much more inspired to purchase that product or service. Meanwhile, when people read negative reviews, they’re much more likely to think twice.

Visual appeal

Social media is a highly visual place. We’re bombarded with photos and videos of products. Brands on social media have a way of making their products look highly appealing and des

For example, a beautifully photographed dress in a pretty setting can inspire shoppers to buy that dress. Likewise, a video demonstration of a new beauty product can show users how beneficial it could be to their daily lives, and make them much more likely to buy it.

The visual nature of social media makes it a powerful tool for influencing current and potential customers’ behaviour. Consider creating eye-catching video content and images to capture the attention of a wider audience base.

Community and engagement

Social media is also a great way to create a sense of community. You could use it to run contests, ask for feedback or share user-generated content. When brands encourage interaction on this level, it makes consumers feel more connected to the brand – and more loyal.

If a consumer feels like they are part of a community, they’ll be far more likely to support that brand by buying its products or services. You definitely need to engage with your customers as much as possible on social media. This will enable them to build trust and credibility, which will positively impact their purchasing behaviour.

Trends and virality

Trends can spread so quickly on social media. They have the potential to influence consumer buying behaviour on a huge scale.

Examples of something going viral on social media include:

· Trending hashtags
· Challenges
· Memes

Most people will likely remember the 2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which saw people across the globe dumping buckets of ice and water over their heads. The campaign skyrocketed in popularity with more than 17 million people taking part in the challenge, and more than $110 million raised in just six weeks. 

By leveraging a particular trend, your brand will be much more likely to reach a broader audience. Before you know it, more and more people will be interested in your brand, which will ultimately drive more sales.

Are you capitalising on the effects of social media on consumers?

As you can see, social media usage has a profound influence on consumer behaviour. Without even realising it, people are heavily influenced by social media, and it can play a highly influential role in how they shop online.

As social media continues to evolve, it’s likely to have an even stronger influence on the overall customer experience.

As a brand, it’s essential that you understand the unique dynamics of social media on consumer behaviour. This will help you to navigate its ever-changing landscape, and appeal to an even wider target audience base.

Seeking to elevate your social media success?

Allow EWM to lead the way!

We provide the most comprehensive solutions designed to help you achieve heightened success.

Interested to learn more?

Reach out to our team today.



Call us