By Adriana Espinosa, BDX
As social media becomes ubiquitous in American culture, it is blurring the lines for how customers and businesses engage with each other.
Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, customers can now follow the latest news of their favorite brands digitally 24/7. This continuous interaction allows any business to advertise and speak to their followers in a personalized manner via social media, which has proven to positively influence purchase behavior when thoughtfully managed.
Due to the increased accessibility of digital channels, the reach of social media is growing at an astounding rate as recent numbers project over a quarter of the global population – 74% of all internet users user social networking sites – will be actively using social media in 2015. Facebook alone had 968 million daily average users in June 2015 and 844 million of those used mobile devices!
Where does the Unites States fit in this worldwide usage? The United States comes in fifth place with 58 percent of its population using social media.
The numbers are hard to ignore, and now many companies are using social media to enhance the visibility of their brand.
Influence on purchasing behavior
The pervasiveness of social media has been meticulously analyzed as a growing number of data show that social media is bridging the gap between consumers and online/in-store purchases.
A recent report by Deloitte shows that 29 percent of shoppers are more likely to make a purchase when using social media before or during their visit. Additionally, those who consider themselves as “somewhat or very influenced by social media are six times more likely to spend significantly more than non-users.”
Deloitte further measured the differential effects of social media’s influence on various age groups. The results show social media’s ability to stimulate 47 percent of millennials to make a purchase; this is a stark contrast to the 19 percent of other generations.
Supplementary reports indicate that Facebook is the most persuasive network in influencing consumer decisions with 38 percent of Facebook users reporting to purchasing an item after they shared and/or favorited it on Facebook.
Impact on home sales
How does social media translate into home purchases?
Social media is a powerful tool for sharing listings with family and realtors as well as networking to learn about different neighborhoods in unfamiliar areas.
Over 75 percent of homebuyers have reported using social media during their home search and purchase – an increase from fifty-two percent in 2011.
Facebook is demonstrating to be the leader in social media for prospective homebuyers eager to gain more information on available homes. From 2013 to 2014, 18 percent fewer homebuyers searched for agents through Google and used Facebook instead.
As of 2011, realtor.com® partnered with Facebook Connect allowing users to access realtor.com® via their Facebook login. This seamless access of multi-channel platforms further emphasizes the importance of leveraging social media to increase traffic and visibility.
Thoughts from prospective home buyers
In an effort to better understand the industry significance of social media on the home buying process, BDX used its research panel, New Home Shopper Insights, to gain an in depth perspective of how homebuyers are using social media in their search.
BDX’s recent survey on social media supports existing stats that Facebook is the most heavily used site with over 50 percent of the panel reporting to using Facebook at some point during the home buying process.
Further insights show that millennials are 15 percent more likely to use social media to find inspiration for their new home and 13 percent more likely to share their home ideas on a social media network than any other age group.
New Home Shopper panelist, Candace, from Texas expresses her enthusiasm for social media: “Lately, I have been checking out social media sites for recommendations on realtors, neighborhoods and school districts…I mainly use Facebook because I can (talk to) potential realtors, browse builder sites, and chat with other homeowners/homebuyers that I know. I like the fact that on social media sites, realtors are quicker with their responses, and I can stay abreast on new developments/neighborhoods that my favorite builders are planning or working.”
Call to action
The digital influence of social media is augmenting the ways consumers shop in dramatic ways. As reported by Deloitte, it is a matter of time when “100 percent of shoppers will be connected 100 percent of the time.”
Purchasing a home is one of the biggest investments one will make. Homebuyers want a seamless, personalized experience every step of the way.
In order to maintain the attention of homebuyers, it is vital for builders to embrace social media and tailor a strategy that not only informs, but builds a relationship with their customers.
If you would like to learn more about BDX’s social media solutions or conducting research through the New Home Shopper Insights panel, please contact Info@theBDX.com.
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