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Social media exerts influence on consumer purchasing

Australians are continuing their rapid adoption of social media, which is now having a considerable influence on their purchasing decisions.

According to the 2011 RightNow Australia Customer Experience Report, the number of Australian’s actively using social media sites jumped from 53 percent to 69 percent of the total population over the last 12 months.

One in four consumers who use social media have made a purchase following a discussion on a social media site, and the number of consumers that want organisations to contact them via social media with special offers and discounts rose to nearly 61 percent.

RightNow Asia Pacific Vice President Brett Water said he’s enjoyed watching the rapid adoption of social media in Australia, and more so the consumer desire to engage with organisations on the social web.

“While good in-person service will always be important, the experiences that customers receive on the web or when conversing on social media are just as critical.  Even more imperative are the interactions customers have with other customers.”

Other key findings regarding consumer expectations and social media include:

  • 39 percent of consumers believe companies listen to customer feedback about their products and services on social networking sites;
  • 37 percent welcome responses to positive comments made on social sites;
  • 34 percent are happy to be contacted directly by a company after making a negative post; and
  • 30 percent are happy for organisations to use social media conversations to sell products or services.

Mobile channel emerges

The survey also uncovered another emerging trend among Australians, with many actively using mobile devices as a tool to research and make purchases.

  • 40 percent of Australians’ use a mobile device to access the Internet;
  • Just over half of those mobile users (55 percent) use their devices to search for information on the companies they do business with; and
  • 32 percent of mobile users report using their devices to make purchases (not including iTunes.)

“With the use of mobile devices on the rise, the study suggests that companies need to begin planning to mobilise their customer support efforts or risk being left behind,” Waters added.