Why is social media so successful?

Social media usage has grown to an incredible size in a short period of time. Social media was created originally with the purpose of forming a social community in order to keep in contact with those near and afar. With the growing popularity of social media, marketers took notice, and social media soon became one of the most effective advertising platforms. Due to the success achieved in the field of social media marketing, companies are continually increasing their spending amounts to advertise themselves through social media channels. In a recent study done by Forbes, 78% of the respondents admitted that social media posts can influence their buying decisions.  Furthermore, recent research from VoucherBin stated that 46% of shoppers use social media before making their purchase decision. Why does this happen? There are three factors behind the tremendous success of social media posts:

Short and sweet — Things that are simple, visual, and quick are the most effective methods of attracting and keeping people's attention, and these are exactly what social media has. The majority of posts on any social media platform are short and deliver the core message directly to the audience. Visuals are another key element. It is often said that a picture is worth 1000 words, and this is proven through social media. Speed is essential to the success of social media posts, and a combination of this with an effective visual will deliver the intended message to the buyers as they browse the platform.

The herd mentality — The higher the number of likes, comments, and shares that a post gets, the more likely users are to join in and sway to the opinion of the majority. After reading positive comments and reviews from their peers, a neutral user will have a positive attitude towards the post. In a similar fashion, the more likes that a post gets, the more positive an impression it will impart on other users. According to an article published in Forbes, a recent study shows a strong correlation between the tendency for a person to click the “like” button on a post where there are already a large number of likes. One well-timed like or comment can instantly lead to hundreds of likes and comments.

Network of friends — The unique network of friends that consumers have on social media keeps them updated on what others have liked and shown interest in. This naturally introduces the buyers to new companies that they might not have otherwise heard of. This is a costless and effective method to attract more buyers and spread brand awareness among users.

For these reasons, social media is currently one of the most popular mediums of advertisement. Buyers are interested in the posts that their friends have shared on social media and thus these posts have a large influence on people's opinions of brands. Companies must be careful because blindly posting pictures or messages on every social media platforms is highly ineffective. It is important to use the right source of social media with the appropriate technique to effectively influencer your target audience.

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Image source: NBC News