Of the billions of people on the internet, 98% participate in a social media network. Whether that is Facebook or LinkedIn, Twitter or Reddit, social media platforms are becoming the majority go-to for all internet connections and information.
With so much product visibility online, shoppers want to consult all online reviews before making a purchase. The rise of influencers has led to consumers wanting proof of products in action as well as written product reviews. As a result, social media platforms have become one of the top research channels for online shoppers.
It’s easier than ever to make fully informed purchases, thanks to social media, but what does this mean for businesses? There’s more pressure to stand out to consumers, but the solution is exceeding their expectations.
Here, we’re covering all the reasons why today’s shoppers love to use social media for product research, and how this impacts your business.
Why Does Millennial Consumer Research on Social Media Matter?
It’s no secret that a social media strategy has become more prominent in business models because of the Millennial generation. If businesses are looking to target the Millennial generation, an online and social media presence should be top of mind.
Here’s what you need to know about Millennial product research to improve your marketing strategies:
1. Millennials make up the majority of users on social media platforms
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Younger internet users have a higher tendency to rely on social media pages to engage with their peers, colleagues, as well as brands.
Facebook holds the largest percentage of Millennial users, totalling 85-89% of active profiles. Considering that Facebook has over 2.6 billion users, that’s an incredibly large population group.
It’s been reported that 59% of Millennials are active on Instagram.
Although Instagram’s user numbers are lower in comparison to Facebook (approximately 1 billion users), the platform has a much higher engagement rate (0.09% to 1.60% respectively). This places Instagram as a highly important platform for social media strategies.
2. Millennials use social media for product research
You may wonder, what are Millennials doing on social media? If you think Millennials are only on social media to share lifestyle pictures and networking with friends, you’d be mistaken.
Many of these social media users rely on their platforms to search for information, research brands, and price compare before making purchases.
It’s been reported that thirty percent of Millennials purchase items directly from Facebook. Equally, thirty percent of users claim that their product research is influenced by social media, even if they don’t directly purchase from those platforms.
Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest are platforms that cultivate brand trust with the Millennial generation and also give users an easy source to comprehensive business and product information.
3. Millennials trust independent reviews more than brand reps
Many consumers would agree that personal brands are made more attractive through the lens of social media profiles. Because influencers are still enjoying popularity, it’s easy to attach your brand to users who have gained a following for their lifestyle marketing and aesthetics.
Many users would agree that they have more trust in independents than brand reps. It’s because of this majority that many online shoppers and age groups are attracted to brand and product reviews. This trust of the popular opinion draws users, once again, to social media.
After Millennials have consulted with friends and influencers, their online shopping research is influenced by product reviews and their own experience.
Businesses would be wise to cover social media in brand representation through influencers that feature product use as well as reviews to be seen by their large following.
4. Millennials love to connect with the businesses they follow
Businesses want to spend their time on platforms where they can garner lasting trust from their consumers. The good news is that most social media users are open to engaging personally with brand pages on social media.
Personal engagement with brand platforms through content sharing, comments, and direct messaging is an active way for online shoppers to build relationships with the brands they support.
This engagement has a large amount of pay off. The more that a brand engages with social media users, the more likely the user will show interest and support.
However, approach your followers carefully. Online shoppers can be quick to turn their backs on brands that aren’t willing to engage with their consumers in the event of bad service or issues with products. It’s also important not to be too obvious with your engagement – you must master the art of making organic connections.
Brands who aren’t able to provide online customer service support and engagement quickly should tread lightly, so they don’t seem unresponsive and inauthentic.
5. Millennials buy on a budget
Contrary to the assumption that Millennials are frivolous with their money, they’re actually one of the more frugal generations. Millennials save more money than the older generations that have assigned them with so many labels. That’s because their online shopping research is careful and critical.
This is for many reasons. A majority of these online shoppers are hit with low salaries, increasing student debt, and rising rent costs. These days, most people can’t afford to purchase a house like their parents, even though they’re aware of the investment perks of buying over renting.
All of this contributes to the habits of online shoppers. Those who shop online, rather than impulsively in person and without product research, know that every penny counts.
This increased pressure on product research leads them once again to their social media platforms. On familiar platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, online shoppers can find the information they trust in a familiar and welcoming layout.
6. They believe blogs are influential
Another sanction of online shopping research that social media users rely on is blogs. The internet age values truth and authenticity over generated content. Blogs, for this reason, are trusted as a tool of brand reviewing.
Rather than being written by a business’s marketing team, the best blogs are written by an unbiased, third-party individual. Blogs are more information-focused instead of sales-focused. They also communicate a brand’s voice in a more effective way than traditional ads.
A third of Millennials use blogs to inform their purchasing decision. Alternatively, less than 3% rely on news, T.V., or magazines to influence purchasing decisions.
Where can these blogs be found? Blogs are listed on product websites but then circulated through social media giants like Facebook and Twitter. Users can share articles, link to outside websites, and therefore promote a business.
Those who promote brands on social media know that blog promotion is the gift that keeps on giving. The more they’re shared and circulated, the more they garner trust and credibility for a brand.
Traditional advertising is less likely to influence a consumer’s brand trust. Blogs are more effective at promoting a brand based on their honest, human reporting of a product.
How Should Businesses Model Their Digital Marketing Strategy?
Now that you understand the importance of social media in the Millenial purchase behaviour, it’s time to craft your social media strategy.
Below are some tips to boost your social media engagement:
1. Leverage online shopping research with product reviews
Online shoppers value endorsements from unaffiliated reviewers more than ads. Invest in your business sales by giving your customers the ability to leave reviews on your products and services.
You’ll be surprised at how your sales increase when you encourage social media users to leave product reviews on platforms such as Facebook, Google, and Instagram. You can incentivise these reviews with discounts or free gifts.
Recycle these positive reviews on your social media pages for increased advertisements!
2. Foster connection with your target audience
For businesses to have a good social media strategy, they must be on social media and remain active on these platforms. This means connecting with followers who will tell their friends about your brand.
When considering the weight Millennials place on product reviews within their social media circles, as well as influencer profiles and other resources, engagement is crucial. It’s how word of mouth begins about your product. You can jumpstart this process by making them feel close to you.
Remember that these online shoppers place more value on authenticity than an eye-catching advertisement, just like the blogs we mentioned above.
A powerful feature is direct in-app messaging. This feature allows users to communicate with friends and followers quickly. By increasing the ability of consumers to contact your business, you’ll increase your credibility and trustworthiness.
The easier it is for users to communicate and gain authentic testimonials from your products, the more likely they are to shop with you. Keep access to your product sites linked, incorporating direct calls to action and click-to-purchase capability.
3. Pay for blogs, not ads
Like peer-written product reviews, blogs are an effective way to circulate your brand across social media platforms. Positive product research happens when consumers take the time to sit down and read multiple articles and blogs across their online social media presence.
Businesses should circulate product research through blog posts regularly. These blogs are wise to cover any questions that online shoppers are asking before purchasing. Make sure that your blog posts effectively cover the main selling point of your product and service, writing naturally and conversationally.
Whether these blogs are written within the company or from an outside third-party perspective, keep them in your rotation of social media marketing. Be sure to encourage your followers to comment on, as well as circulate this blogged content.
4. Learn which social media platform is right for your product
Although product reviews, promotions, and ads across social media may seem like a catch-all way of securing sales, it’s important to identify which platforms are the most aligned with your business.
Your niche audiences are online, waiting for you. Don’t waste time targeting everyone. Instead, get to know your audience and what social media platform they use:
- Users on Reddit and Twitter are more likely to use these platforms to locate current trends and niche subjects.
- Broader audiences flock to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube to conduct general online shopping research.
- LinkedIn is a more appropriate platform for companies looking to direct their marketing from business to business. These ads will have a further reach compared to the more individual-consumer audience of Instagram.
If your business features how-to videos or tutorials as a part of your digital marketing strategy, you will find more payoff from a platform like Youtube. Youtube users are three times more likely to watch a tutorial video on this website than read a product’s printed instructions.
Carefully consider your audience and product research goals before marketing on all social media platforms at once.
5. Utilise Influencers
Outside of a businesses’ own social media profile, brand representation through paid influencers is an effective way to promote your product.
Businesses should consider finding lifestyle profiles with large followings of target audiences to feature new product trends and content and offer testimonials about their positive experience with a business’s products.
Influencer-created brand representation is a popular trend that garners a large audience across all major social media platforms.
For businesses to keep up with the demand for online shopping research across social media, they must market to the Millennial consumer. The newest digital marketing strategy means that businesses should circulate product reviews, blogs, as well as trustworthy direct communication and consumer engagement across social media profiles.
Businesses that effectively model their social media strategy on authenticity and engagement on these platforms will see continued success among their followers. But, the work doesn’t ever stop – you must continue to attract your target audience if you expect to see long-term results.
We hope this guide helped you re-think your digital marketing strategy to appeal to your target audience on social media. So, how will you change your strategy to target your niche audience online?