Social Media & Its Influence on Consumer Behaviour

Social media is rapidly becoming one of the most used marketing communication tools. Figures show that there are currently  2.3 billion active social media users (Smith 2016) with 91% of retail brands using two or more social media channels (Smith 2016) .

Social media blog picture

Research shows that out of all the social media platforms Instagram – an online mobile based photo sharing platform, has the largest influence on consumer behaviour and is recognised as driving more sales and consumer actions than any other social media platform (Geoff 2015).

As well as running an active Instagram profile as a marketing and communication tool, many brands use Instagram influencers to access potential consumers and increase sales. Instagram influencers have a large amount of followers and can influence consumer purchasing decisions with their social media posts (Smitha 2014) . When influencers feature a brands product or service in a social media post it reaches a large audience and increase brand awareness through the influencers followers. These followers may then be influenced to purchase the product or service as a result of the influencers post. 68% of 18-24years old (Instagram’s key user age group) claim they are more likely to buy something after someone they follow on Instagram has shared it (Geoff 2015). Take Sara Donaldson, a well-known fashion blogger who uses her Instagram posts to promote fashion and beauty brands to her followers, by posting just one image wearing a designers item she is exposing it to and influencing her 473,000 followers:

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 6.38.15 pm

Instagram can also be used to help create brand awareness before a brand or business has even opened and place a brand into a consumers possible evoked set – the brands a consumer considers when making a purchasing decision (Turley and LeBlanc 1993). Take Quay Canteen – A local Vietnamese street food cafe who focus on social media for its marketing. I (along with many others I’m sure) discovered this cafe while scrolling through my Instagram feed and if it wasn’t for Instagram i quite possibly would never of heard of or visited the cafe due to it’s out of sight location, yet before it was open to the public i was excited to visit the cafe due to the social media coverage. Quay Canteen’s daily Instagram posts influence consumer behaviour by entering the mind of consumers during the decision-making process and influencing them to come in store and experience what the cafe has to offer.

Do you think Instagram is an effective marketing tool? Why/why not?


Donaldson, S 2016, ‘Black is best. Am i right?’, Harperandharley, Instagram, 26th Febuary 2016, Viewed 12th May 2016, <>

Geoff 2015, Instagram Is Now The Most Influential Social Media Platform, Wersm, Viewed 12th May 2016, <>

Instagram Is The Most Influential Social Marketing Tool 2015, BandT Magazine, Viewed 12th May 2016, <>

Quay Canteen 2016, ‘Our weekend lunch specials…’, Quay Canteen, Instagram, 8th May 2016, Viewed 12th May 2016, <>

Smith, K 2016, Marketing: 96 Amazing Social Media Statistics and Facts for 2016, Brandwatch, Viewed 11th May 2016, <>

Smitha, N 2014, How to Define, Identify and Engage Social Media Influencers For Your Brand, The Simply Measured Blog, Weblog post, 2nd April 2014, Viewed 12th May 2016, <>

Turley, L.W, LeBlanc, R 1993, ‘An Eploratory Investigation of Consumer Decision Making in the Service Sector’, The Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 7, No. 4, pp. 11-18



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