Thursday, 25 May 2017

A bird’s eye-view of social media

Does social media influence our daily purchase habits? After investigating this topic, analysing each social networking sites, researching how consumers feel about the presence of brands and bloggers on social media and an insight to how bloggers use social media to promote products. The dilemma still remains. The influence factor is very dependent on people’s personality and behaviour. Are you easily influenced or tempted or are you strong willed and have a mind of your own?

Brands presence on social media aims to increase consumers in becoming easily influenced and tempted, most especially when there is a promotional offer. There was a time where people would feel embarrassed or ashamed to purchase products because it was discounted or on sale but now- it’s becoming a popular trend of bargain shopping! Discounts are promoted constantly by brands both in store and online and during peak times- becomes a promotion war between retail stores. When one store offers a discount-so does them all!

Brands are famous for promoting their offers online, bombarding your emails with constant unique codes or filling your Facebook hoe page with current offers. Brands often pay for promoting their offers on social media using sponsored posts which pop up while you scroll through Facebook or twitter so once you follow a particular brand, sponsored posts of similar brands constantly pops up to entice you to take advantage of their offers and purchase products. It can also become a social habit- once your friends have purchased products that’s in the latest trends- you may want to keep up with your social circle and stay trendy. Various factors can influence our purchasing habits but I found that it is very dependent on our personality and surroundings that gives us that extra push to make it influential.

Bloggers use social media as a way to allow their readers to learn more about themselves. It can increase readership for their blogs as they share their blogs through Facebook and Twitter. Bloggers often promote products through their blogs and get paid commission for it- does this influence consumers to purchase it? Often people may trust bloggers more than brands on social media as the products are being promoted or recommended by real people who may look similar to them rather than seeing a product on a possibly photoshopped model. It was found that an influence through blogs are mainly found depending on the bloggers that readers constantly read from. Some blogs speak honest and truthful about the products they recommend, doing their research and testing products before they decide to promote them where as other bloggers may not take those factors into consideration and purely promote products for the purpose of gaining commission. Bloggers who may not be 100% honest and truthful can be spotted when they’re blogs state “AD” or “SPONSORED”. It was found that we quite often read blogs from bloggers who have a connection with us, whether its interest in the same topic or similar personalities- once it hits the personal level it can become an influence to want the same things that the blogger has and recommends.

Overall,  brand’s presence on social media is allowing consumers to easily stay up to date with their favourite brands and makes it easier for consumers who prefer online shopping to instantly be aware of any promotional offers. It is found useful to a large number of consumers however there is still a number of brands who have not made a presence across the social networking sites and therefore can be missing a valuable marketing tool. The influence of purchasing products is dependent on a person’s personality and other external factors.

Happy shopping! 

Saturday, 13 May 2017

The Freedom of Blogging

Are you a a blogger yourself or do you just enjoy reading blogs? Think of a topic and there will definitely be a blog somewhere about it. Blogs are becoming increasingly popular as time goes on- You have those who write blogs as a hobby about something they’re passion about, whether its food or make up or fitness. You have those who write blogs as part of their job, whether its clothes or beauty products, they get a commission out of selling any products that they write/share about. And you have brands who have their own blogs like Miss Selfridge to inspire the public on how they can use their products in the most fashionable way and how to keep up with current trends.

Social media is now used as a massive tool to help share blogs, increase readership and to also let the public know more about the person or brand. 6.7MM people publish blogs on blogging websites like WordPress or BlogSpot and another 12MM write blogs using their social network pages.

Bloggers now mostly link their blogs with their social networking site so that readers can follow them across all social media platforms. It opens doors to ensure blogs can reach out to a wide range of customers.  81% of online users trust the information involved blogs- this is probably why bloggers and blog readers are increasing.

Brands are catching up in the world of blogging and now link their social media pages with their own blogs. 92% of companies who have a blog and creates posts multiple times a day obtains a customer from their blog.

Bloggers tend to create their own blog once they gain some life experience, finding out what they like and don’t like and becoming more opinionated and reflective on certain topics of life. Majority of bloggers are aged 21-35 year olds that make up 53% of total bloggers.

Blogs has become a factor that influences our purchasing habits. 61% of US online consumers have made a purchase through recommendations on blogs- this shows the number of bloggers are gradually increasing as they are able to make a commission out of writing their blogs. So why not make money out of doing what you love? 37% of marketers say that blogs are the most valuable content of marketing. People may purchase items through blogs as they are based on an everyday  person rather than brands using skinny models to showcase their products. It is more believable to listen to the recommendations of bloggers rather than brands.

Brands have clicked on to using blogs as a way to make consumers feel more connected with the brand. Brands who use blogs have found that they generate twice as much traffic through email marketing than those who don’t. 

But if brands are confident that their own blogs work, then why do they pay commission to bloggers to use, promote and sell their products.

Well I know I would trust the opinion of a blogger rather than the advertisement from the brand itself. Maybe that is the key to how successful blogging has become.

Stay tuned for my next blog post! 

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Youtube- the next big thing in the digital world

Are you a famous Youtuber? I know I’m not! I’ll have to admit I use YouTube to watch and stream videos but I have never made my own YouTube account with an army of subscribers. As time goes on, more and more of us youngsters choose to stream videos online than go to the cinema or pay for TV. 6 out of 10 people prefer online video platforms rather than live TV- why is that? I personally think its more convenient, cheaper and your able to watch it on the go. By 2025, half of viewers aged under 32 will not subscribe to a pay TV service.. With TV companies such as Sky and BT, yes you can still watch programmes through the app on the go and pause/record/play programmes in your own convince, but you’re still having to pay for it. Some people may question the need to pay for a TV service when you can stream online for free anyway- YouTube is a valuable tool.

In 2015, 18-49 year olds spent 4% less time watching TV and 74% more time watching videos on YouTube, the simplicity of being able to search for videos, follow your favourite subscribers, or make a channel of your own is unreliable. On mobile alone, YouTube reaches more 18-49-year-old viewers than any broadcast of cable TV network. Being able to stream on YouTube through mobile phones and devices is a great tool as it is on our own convince whether we are commuting to work or having a lunch break- there are 3,25 billion hours of videos watched each month.

If you have your own YouTube account, you upload your own videos to create your own channel. 300 hours of videos are uploaded to YouTube every minute- there’s endless videos available to watch on this social network. You can also subscribe and follow your friends, comment and like videos that you’ve watched- gathering your own network of friends through YouTube.

The first advert to hit one million views was a Nike Advert featuring Ronaldinho. So, what benefit to businesses get from using YouTube? Not only is this a great way to share any adverts to a wide and varied audience, people can continue to spread the advert for you- by liking and sharing the video through multiple social networking sites, the advert can be seen faster than it would of on TV.

In December 2015, the most popular branded channel was Red bull with 4.38 billion subscribers. Ads are now also strategically placed with videos that would attract the same target audience. Have you ever been stuck waiting for an ad to finish to watch the video you went on YouTube to actually see? Happens all the time! There’s a certain amount of times you skip an ad, but if you do it too frequently you’ll just have to sit through them. These ads can either attract viewers who don’t mind them, will actually watch them and can be influenced to buy the new product or try the new brand, however the ad is useless to viewers who already get annoyed they have to sit through the ad that they won’t even pay attention on what the ad is about.

Viewers who watch the ads that pop by to completion or at least 30 seconds of it are 23 times more likely to subscribe to the brand or watch more videos uploaded by the brand. Viewers who do not watch the ads to completion are still 10 times more likely to follow through with the brand- showing that the ad still has a purpose even for those viewers.

Brands and bloggers who use “How To” videos such as how to wear a bright pink pear of stilettos are growing increasingly by 70% each year. This can also increase sales for brands and influence viewers to purchase products as different ways of how to use the product is being exposed to meet everyone’s wants and needs.

Overall, YouTube is becoming an increasingly used social networking site as it takes over the digital world, replacing any needs for TV.

Stay tuned for my next blog post!

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Instagram- A personalised photo album of our lives.

If you have Facebook or Twitter, you most likely will have Instagram- the network where pictures says it all. There are 400 million monthly active users on Instagram- it’s becoming increasingly popular as the days go on. Moments are captured- nature walks, beaches, festivals, travels- all shared instantly with just one click. Over 80 million photos are uploaded each day. There is never a bad picture when you use Instagram, with all its features and effects- you can make your picture look as amazing as possible ready for the world to see. But who actually sees it?

Instagram is found to be more popular with the younger generation- over 90% of Instagram users are younger than 35. So why may this be? I think confidence plays a part in Instagram users- the younger generation are more socially active and care free about posting their own pictures on social media however the older generation can be more self conscious and aware of things that go on social media and things that don’t. It’s two different lifestyle habits that can be more attracted to certain social media platforms than others.

It is not just everyday people that use Instagram. Brands and bloggers have clicked on to using Instagram- what better way to promote your products than through pictures that are well put together. Over 70% of brands have Instagram.Brands can increase heir product awareness by not only the large amounts of followers that they obtain, but through shares and likes. More than 40 billion photos have been shared so far, the more shares the more people will see the pictures- enticing us to buy the product that we desire. There are 3.5 billion likes on Instagram per day, this shows the amount of people who have viewed and like your photo, portraying how popular and admirable a product is. Once you like or follow a page, Instagram tailors your sponsored posts on your newsfeed to similar pages that you may like.

Instagram is a very useful way for brands and bloggers to showcase their products. Bloggers post pictures of themselves promoting products/services. This can help persuade individuals to purchase products as bloggers are everyday people wearing/trying products and can give an honest opinion of what they think/feel about the product. Bloggers also include a link under each post where people can purchase the product in the photo with just one click- how easy! Bloggers can also become role models to individuals which can encourage engagement and purchases.

Instagram expanded to allowing videos to also be posted by individuals. When Instagram first introduced videos, more than 5 million were shared in 24 hours. Sharing videos have increased the number of active users Instagram obtains, making it more popular than ever. Videos can also be edited, cropped and effects can be added to your desire, with or without sound.

Instagram has become a lifetime journal of pictures of videos for individuals and is a great way to showcase what a brand/blogger/individual is all about. It is amazing for people who would rather express themselves through pictures rather than words. Instagram is definitely one of the top three social networking sites and can be powerful to influence individuals in any way.

Stay tuned for my next blog post! 

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Twitter- the world of expression

Twitter- the social media guru in expressing your everyday thoughts to the world. Tweeting while having breakfast or walking to work- wherever you are, your easily pm the loop. 50 million people visit their twitter each month without logging into it =, it’s become a known habit to share your current thoughts or whereabouts to your friends or family- with the use of the app, a tweet for professionals, can take two seconds. Twitter has a total of 1.3 billion accounts but only 320 million of those accounts are active- why would we abandon our twitter accounts?

I personally used to be a massive tweeting addict, although it lasted two years- the habit began to fade. Lifestyle changes, people can be crunched for time- although twitter is powerful or voicing your opinion constantly, it can be tiresome and become boring- to some. But is it people’s personal lifestyle choices that leads them to abandon their twitter account or is it a fault that twitter has developed? Is there characteristics of twitter that people don’t like the limited character space in a tweet or random direct messages for twitters that you don’t even know about. Of those 320 million who abandoned twitter, 44% left before they even made their first tweet- clearly twitter is doing something wrong!

We follow numerous pages on Twitter of brands that we shop, celebrities that we adore, bloggers that we watch, along with friends and family that we chat with and stay on the loop. The average twitter user has 208 followers, it is entirely useful for keeping up to date with people/brands and also communicating to brands/individuals. However, 391 million accounts have no followers at all- are we mainly using twitter to follow brands and individuals without communicating with them?

Brand’s use twitter has a way to communicate with consumers and post up to date information about any promotions or new products that they offer. 66% of US companies with over 100 employees use twitter for marketing. Twitter had become a valuable marketing tool- with the power of sending an instant reply to consumers personally.  77% of Twitter users feel more positive about the brand when their Tweet has been replied to- this shows consumers that the brand cares personally for each individual and therefore can make us more likely to stay brand loyal and purchase products. Don’t forget the temptation to purchase products as we see brands advertise them through posts on social media including the unmissable unique codes to get 20% off your shop- these are all powerful techniques that brands have used twitter to communicate them across the world to people’s minds.

Bloggers use Twitter just as much, to keep their followers updated on their blog posts or personal stories- it’s a way for followers to get to know bloggers to a personal level. Fashion bloggers massively use twitter to post fashion trends and ideas which in turn includes links to brands that the outfit is from- this is a persuasive technique as we like what we see and being able to purchase it is just a click away.

There are 500 million tweets each day, that 6,000 tweets sent each second- all expressing our thoughts on a large scale social media platform. The power to express can work in our favour, to complain about any faults to brands, to keep up to date with the latest gossip from individuals and brands and the ability to become trapped in the persuasion to buy products through twitter. It is indeed, an ever-expanding social media tool.

Watch out for my next blog post and happy tweeting! 

Sunday, 5 March 2017

The persuading powers of Facebook

If you were to create your first profile in the world of social networking where would you immediately think of? Facebook. It’s the most common social networking site we use today and the first thing we think of. Facebook adds 500,000 new users every day, that’s 6 new people joins the site every second. We use Facebook as a way of connecting to people, all over the world, we may use it to let our friends know how were doing or share our latest life moments or find out the latest gossip from friends, celebrities, brands or even the news. Half of all internet users who don’t have Facebook live with someone who does- this just shows the drastic number of people who have been consumed by this social networking site that connects the world together today. And even of those people who don’t use Facebook, 24%  have admitted to looking at posts and photos through another person’s account. Some businesses use Facebook to create groups in which colleagues can discuss any information such as holiday hours or rotas made. Facebook has not only become a personal use but a business one as well.

Businesses now use Facebook to create pages to represent the brand and the products they offer. There are 40 million pages made by small businesses but only 20 million pays for advertising- why is this? Brands have clicked onto not needing to pay for advertising on Facebook as the minute their page is liked, the customers see every post. These posts will promote new products, offers and information to the public. They also use it as a means to speak directly to customers with any questions or issues they may have, this can make us feel more inclusive with the brand as we get a one to one conversation. It’s almost like becoming friends with a brand- so can following brands on Facebook entice us to buy products?

I’ll admit it myself- as I scroll through Facebook while eating breakfast and see a post of new shoes that have just come out or a discount code I can use to get 20% off, it’s like I can’t stop myself- it’s like a must have! If you think about it, most of us are on Facebook almost every day, when brands constantly post their latest product or amazing offers, it can lure us into making a purchase, especially if we know we deserve it.

Brands who do pay for advertising show up as sponsored posts on our home page- Facebook tracks the type of brands we follow and therefore allows similar brands to pop up on our sponsored posts. This introduces us to new brands that we may like and there goes another purchase.

Apart from brands who can use Facebook to entice us to purchase products, so can individuals. Almost all bloggers have social media pages, including Facebook. Some of us may feel that seeing products such as clothes on a normal every day person rather than a 6ft size 6 model can persuade us to purchase them as we truly see how the product looks rather than guessing whether it’s been photoshopped or changed in any way to make us want the product. So when bloggers/fashion fans or any individual posts pictures of products they often provide a link of where the product can be bought- this makes it too easy for us to purchase them!

Facebook accounts for 62% of social logins from consumers who want to sign into apps or websites of brands. This just shows that brands and websites are using Facebook as a means of signing in due to how popular this social networking site is. The power of this social network is vast and it truly can play a part in persuading us to purchase products in so many ways.

Keep a look out for my next blog post, what Twitter can do! 

Monday, 20 February 2017

Does social media control what we buy?

Hello everyone, my name is Farah and I have created this blog in relation to my Industrial Investigation coursework at college. The investigation is about how different social media platforms are affecting our buying habits. Does the power of the digital world influence what product we desire? Today, there is 2.3 billion active social media users- friends communicating, students researching, businesses marketing- all over the world, easily, quickly, and conveniently. It’s almost become a part of our daily routines- flicking through Facebook while having breakfast or tweeting while commuting to work. It gives individuals the freedom of speech and does that power influence thousands of people today? Each of my blog posts will consist of an analysis on different social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Blogs and how they can easily influence our perception on products which leads to a purchase. I will investigate both the power of an individual such as freelance bloggers or fan pages as well as small/large scale businesses in influencing our buying habits. Recent statistics show that 91% of retail brands use 2 or more social networking sites- this is starting to become the main way businesses communicate with its customers as the use of technology has widened dramatically as time goes on. Companies such as ASOS rely on the digital world solely to remain successful as they sell products directly through the warehouse and don’t run any standalone stores- this means that they must market effectively through social networking sites to ensure that they are not easily forgotten about. Companies use promotions such as discount codes or unbeatable offers like Buy One Get One Free which makes us feel we can’t miss out on and entices us to purchase products- even though we may not even need them. Sales are the best way for retailers to entice us as we feel the reduced prices of products are something we cannot bypass. On the other hand, individuals can influence our habits just as much or even more, fan pages and bloggers can start to make us look up to individuals as role models and therefore what they like we may want, for example fashion bloggers will constantly post pictures and posts on the latest fashion trends and they’re ideal outfits with links on where we can purchase the outfit from- this entices us as not only do we see the outfit we desire but the quick and easy link to take us straight to where we can purchase it from becomes far too convenient. In reality, the digital world consumes us as it is a part of our daily lives, marketing companies are spending more than 20% of their advertising budget on social media platforms today as the power of social media continues to rapidly expand, Without technology social media would be limited, the increasing use of technology allows social media to become a massive part of our lives- our phones are almost glued to us every single day- allowing brands and individuals to have the power to easily convince us of our desires. Look out for my next post- Facebook, the biggest social networking site we use today- and its power to influence our perception on products.