As consumers, we make buying decisions every day for large and small items. Whether we are considering where to go for dinner or what movie to buy, or we’re making a large consumer electronics purchase, we all have a process for making those decisions.
When I read Brian Solis’s post — The 6 Pillars Of Social Commerce: Understanding The Psychology Of Engagement — I realized the extent to which our buying decisions are influenced by social factors. Referencing an infographic entitled Social Commerce Psychology, Solis highlights the 6 heuristics we use to make buying decisions:
- Social proof – In the absence of certainty, we seek out others who have faced similar decisions to see what they did.
- Authority – Along the decision-making path, certain well-informed people emerge as authorities and we look to them for guidance.
- Scarcity – People respond with greater urgency when supply is deemed low and demand high.
- Like – We have a tendency to agree with people we like and admire, so we seek out our influencers and see what they would do.
- Consistency – When faced with uncertainty, we tend not to take actions perceived as risky (like changing brands or doing anything that goes against the wisdom of the crowd).
- Reciprocity – When we are the beneficiary of a good deed or see one done, we feel a strong sense of reciprocity to the doer.
Social media offers an abundance of opportunities for us to interact with our social networks on a regular basis and tap it to help us make important buying decisions.
Social engagement activities will be most effective if they position you and your business strongly within the social graph. Strategies to achieve this include:
- Building deeper engagement with your clients and developing social ambassadors among them;
- Contribute to helping people understand the buying process for your product/service, without pitching them directly;
- Focus on being knowable, likeable and trustworthy by sharing your personality, not just your knowledge;
- Strive to always be giving and helping and approach your online activity with a “pay it forward” attitude.