The evolution and increasing popularity of social media has resulted in an enormous shift in consumer purchase behavior. The web itself is now powered by the strength of social media alone, enabling every single one of us to publish content online via a vast array of social media networks. This allows us to be connected with our friends, family and peers 24/7 around the globe – we can share our latest experiences with each other almost instantaneously.
Unsurprisingly, we are far more likely to trust peer recommendations from like-minded people, rather than from a generic marketing message. In other words, social media is a medium that allows us to share our views and feelings– and one of the key drivers is word-of-mouth.
For instance, Facebook currently has 800 million active users whilst 500 million tweets are sent each day!
It’s important to understand that we now live in the information age, but what does this actually mean? It is estimated that every 2 days we create as much information as we did since the dawn of time until 2003!
Understanding The Information Age
Looking at the vast amount of information we share with each other on a daily basis shows that today’s consumers share more content, from more sources, with more people, more often and more frequently!
Google and Shopper Sciences teamed up and conducted research to learn what influences shoppers to move from ‘undecided’ to ‘decided’ during their purchase decision making process.
According to the research, the average shopper now uses 10.4 information sources before buying a product. This is known as the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT)- and it occurs when consumers get smart about buying alternatives, read reviews and look for coupons before buying a product.
As I have already mentioned in my previous blog post the secret to the social web is to combine sharing with your audience’s self-interest:
“The challenge though for brands is how to make your audience want to share this on the social web. Until now we have referred to marketing norms as – ‘your time is worth X, if you do this, I will do Y in return for you (this technique has worked for centuries).’ However, we now need to be careful as there has been a drastic shift in social norms. We do things because we are fixing our place in society!”
As a result, I would like to provide you with one of my favourite examples that focuses on reinforcing self-image. In order to get your content shared brands need to know their target demographic. Ask yourself questions such as: What is my audience already sharing? What type of content are they interested in? What type of content catches their attention? This will help you to figure out what type of content they are already sharing and what type of content they are likely to share with others.
Nike’s ‘Make Yourself’ campaign was aimed to encourage women to improve their physical performance and share their strategies of becoming their own best version of themselves with one another. The Nike women Facebook page featured a section titled ‘I am making myself’ where all participating women could leave inspiring comments and statements to help other women to follow their example. The statement started with ‘I am making myself’ and users then finished it with adjectives such as fit, strong, healthy, hot, etc.; giving a short description of what helped them to achieve their chosen physical characteristics. I personally think this is a great example of content people want to share even if they are not Nike enthusiasts.