A 5 week reflection on social media use and consumption patterns
Social media hugely shapes our day-to-day consumption patterns. For example, we may wear clothing brands because of what it associates with and who wears them. Those brands and individuals who have a deep understanding of our unconscious human needs and desires will be able to create powerful marketing that feels like it is speaking to only us. I felt this during my reflections, especially more strongly during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as I also began to associate with ideas and tribes despite traditionally considering myself leaning towards individualism. This tribal thinking is very human, and clearly, some people, including politicians and influencers, are playing into this. Your own tribe’s opinion of brands is critical to forming an opinion of a brand (Sashittal and Jassawalla, 2020). Therefore, the tribe you belong to will influence your consumption. However, today finding those tribes has become more accessible thanks to technology than in the past, as we can find the long tail of content connecting untapped demand with niche ideas (Elberse, 2008).
The digital footprints of our friends and those we follow also influence consumption. We are now not only projecting our style by our clothes but now our social feeds too. However, this influence is much more permanent as viewers can watch back on the feeds repeatedly and become influenced even at future date. In addition, social media makes it easy to associate your identity with what is posted by each individual. This association drives people to post to keep up their online identities, involving and influencing more peers around them as a result.
Interactions have moved towards a 24/7/365 new reality where images and ideas bombard our minds. Traditional marketing strategies will unlikely yield desired results for companies. The four p’s have evolved and have become more experimental and use more data science to make dynamic decisions (Rajgopal and Srivastava, 2020). This is all designed to convince consumers that we need a product cleverly advertised in between all of the people you follow and like and trust.
New ideas of social value are emerging, and we are seeing many NFT projects creating exclusive events around individuals that own these digital pixels. People change their human profile pictures to digital drawings and creating new cliques. The increased use of technology around us is inevitable, which will bring new novel ways to experience and consume products and services.
The modern world is interdependent and will require leaders and companies to have strong ethics not to abuse the power of technology. Informed consumption needs to start with ourselves when sharing influencer content and buying from brands. To ensure we vote with our spending for values that bring prosperity to humans, our world ecosystem. Whether we like it or not, we are affected by technology in the modern world. Technology connects us to people who impact us. We should consciously choose those around us in person and online. As they will create us, and we the world.
Sashittal, H.C. and Jassawalla, A.R. (2020). The personal influence of Instagram bloggers on consumer–brand interactions: brands as tribal artifacts. Journal of Brand Management.
Rajgopal, S. and Srivastava, A. (2020). Is Technology Subsuming Marketing? [online] Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://hbr.org/2020/02/is-technology-subsuming-marketing [Accessed 8 Apr. 2022].
Elberse, A. (2008). Should You Invest in the Long Tail? [online] Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://hbr.org/2008/07/should-you-invest-in-the-long-tail [Accessed 8 Apr. 2022].