new-york-times newspaper creation team in the 70s

How Social Media Changed Our Buying Behavior

That’s why companies should change the way they sell!

If this were the early 20th century, when competition was low and marketing was straightforward, companies would just bring themselves to customers through newspapers, radio, and word-of-mouth communication. But that was one century ago.


Advancing technology and rising competition drastically changed the way we sell brands. Companies have to be more creative in finding ways to reach customers.

While we can’t do anything about the competition, we can do something about the technology, that is digital technology. An important aspect of today’s technology is the social media, which is basically a collective term for sharing, connecting, and networking sites.


Social media made one thing obvious: People don’t make purchasing decision on their own.

It may seem like they are. Shortsighted sales people, however, never see how a buyer makes the decision. Even you probably are oblivious to your choices. It’s as if your decision-making happens on a subconscious level. If you’re wondering, look no further than your buying habits.

You don’t go directly to known brands when you’re looking for a product. Like most people, you probably ask friends first for recommendations, check out company pages, read comments on their posts, and compare products and prices. All the information you come across will affect your buying decision. The mistake traditional advertisers in the post-modern business climate are doing is to think that consumers still behave the old way.

Where does social media come in?

You most likely have posted a meal photo of your recent restaurant visit. People ask you whether the meal was worth your money or whether the service was good. By telling them what you feel about the meal and the service, you are influencing their decisions as consumers.

We’re not making crude claims. We can cite a survey conducted by Market Force, a world leader in customer experience management solutions. They asked 12,000 American and British consumers questions that assessed their purchasing behavior. The survey yielded interesting data, which said that the buying decision of 81% of the American respondents was affected by their friends’ posts.

If that wasn’t enough, then perhaps an earlier survey conducted by Chief Marketing Officer Council and Lithium, a social media tech firm, may convince you. The survey results indicated that 80% of the respondents tried new things based on friends’ suggestions. On the other hand, 74% of them said that they had encouraged friends to try new products.

One man and two women having fun with their laptops in a park

When you think about it, the role of social media in changing people’s purchasing behavior and then changing the way we do business is straightforward. There is no deeper secret to this. It’s just that social networks make information more accessible and more visible. The brands that know this truth are a step ahead of those that don’t.