Like It or Not, Friends and Followers Impact Consumer Behavior

Suggestion! Society claims suggestion is extremely powerful; so powerful, in fact, that our friends’ suggestions can have large impacts on our own purchasing decisions. In this mobile age, we have significant evidence to say communication amongst the masses is growing with texting, social networking, and blogging. On Facebook and Twitter alone, people get as much information from “friends” based on their last status updates or Tweets as to where they are, who they are with, what they are doing or thinking, and, most importantly, what they are consuming, “liking,” or “sharing” through photos and posts. According to Facebook, “because of the strength of a friend’s endorsement, communication through Facebook Platform can help high-quality products grow tremendously.”1 After all, if you can’t trust your friends’ opinions (and their endorsements), whose can you trust? Social channels have affected purchasing decisions for over 60% of the population according to an interoffice survey. While several social channels from Twitter to YouTube have impacts on purchasing decisions, Facebook has the largest affect on consumer behavior. Possibly this trend exists because Facebook allows us to bring all of our social channels together; we can “like”  YouTube videos, “share” tweets, pin memes to our boards, or link blogs and have all that information shared in one place: our Facebook timelines. Or maybe it’s because Facebook is also the most used social channel. Whatever the reason, our “likes” and “shares” influence how our friends spend their dollars. Not surprisingly, the tech-savvy, young adult population (18 to 24-years-old) leads this purchasing trend, but just barely. Sixty-two percent of the younger population claims social channels have influenced past purchases compared to 60% of those age 25 or older. The generational difference comes in the social channel medium. In addition to Facebook, other social channels (Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and blogs) impact the younger consumers, while the older generation restricts their influence to Facebook. Utilizing social channels comes naturally to young adults as they grew up with social networks. The young adults of today are the mass consumers of...

read more