Social media to become biggest consumer purchasing influencer

Businesses that don’t make the most of their social media presence will see brand recognition and sales falter, as the online trend looks set to become the primary consumer watchdog.

It’s predicted social media will overtake traditional press and advertising over the next decade to become the single biggest influencer on consumer purchasing decisions, according to a new report by BDO.

The study found that while half of businesses in the Asia–Pacific region monitor social media mentions of them, only a third are using social media to enhance customer relationships.

BDO partner Stephen Coates said businesses need to understand social media isn’t just a fad, but a fundamental shift in how businesses engage with their customer base.

Coates is urging business to accept this modern day communication tool and implement strategies to turn the continual growth of social media into a businesses advantage.

“Every customer now has an instant, global and searchable means to broadcast feedback about your business – good or bad. The continued growth of social media will see consumer purchasing decisions being increasingly influenced by online community-based feedback, rather than expert commentary or advertising in mainstream media.” He said.

Coates believes social media is the ultimate mechanism for a business to create transparency, as it builds trust, brand loyalty and establishes an open channel of communication between a business and the consumer.

“Social media makes it difficult for organisations to hide issues or problems. Being upfront and addressing issues as they arise is important now, but will be even more critical over the next decade,” Coates said.

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