4 Ways to Influence Purchase Decisions Through Social Media

Use social media to engage prospective customers with content they care about.

Customer relations, social media

How can you influence purchase decisions on social media? Businesses understand they have to be on social channels, but after setting up their profile page and posting a tweet or photograph, they sometimes fail to act in ways that monetize their social presence. The result? Missed opportunities to shape buying decisions through strategies like:

  • Compelling thought leadership content
  • Promotional efforts that start a conversation
  • Leveraging the power of social media influencers

Here's a quick look at how to monetize your social media efforts:

1. Build Your Follower Base With Strong Content

When people explore your social media sites, they're not looking for a hard sell. Focus on creating content that offers tips and helpful information in an entertaining manner. Give people a reason to interact with your business — to like, share or comment on the content you provide. As your followers and interactions grow, you can subtly introduce a promotional element to your content. If you're using social media to drive traffic to your company's blog, for example, include a call to action at the end of your articles that leads to a page of your website with more information on a product, service or promotional event.

2. Hook Followers With Exclusive Deals

With a loyal following in place, choose a social channel and offer an exclusive, limited-time discount on your products or services. Shopify offers these appealing examples of special deals:

  • A percentage-based discount on your offering, from as low as 5 percent to deep discounts of 25 percent or more to get rid of old inventory
  • A dollar-value deal that "makes people feel like they're wasting money if they don't use it"
  • Free shipping, a perennial crowd pleaser
  • A free gift accompanying a purchase, which adds value to the original transaction

If your special promotion is compelling enough, followers will share it with their networks, building an even broader customer base for your business.

3. Boost Your Presence on Instagram's Shop Now and Facebook Marketplace

Let's assume you already have an optimized business Instagram account. If it's stagnant, energize followers and move them toward a purchase decision by:

  • Crafting an irresistible business bio: Your job is to introduce your business in ways that fire up a visitor's imagination and make them want to learn more. This means crafting a brief description of who you are and what you do — with a splash of personality. This is important, because the link to your online business or targeted landing page is embedded in your bio.
  • Spurring interest through creative imagery: Instagram is all about visuals, so your photos must capture attention in a split second. Keep photos professional, but not of a stock nature, and add descriptions that capture the personality of your business. Again — no hard sell!

Facebook Marketplace offers a shopping experience akin to Craigslist, where users can locate and buy items in their immediate area. It's linked to your Facebook business page, so prospective customers might think the Marketplace has greater credibility, because they can check out your profile before buying anything. As a result, your business profile should match what appears on the Marketplace, and, of course, be customer-focused and compelling to read. As with Instagram, the product or service photos you feature must be authentic and eye-catching.

4. Leverage Influencers

Reach out to social media influencers in your industry with the prospect of striking a mutually beneficial relationship. Offer them news and samples of product updates. Invite them to contribute to your blog, which they'll likely then share with their followers, widening your social media reach and potential customer base.

A strong social media presence that engages prospective customers with content they care about can greatly influence their purchase decisions.