These days, its standard practice to put your business on some sort of social media platform. Many businesses also incorporate social media buttons on their main websites, but a recent study from University of Miami issues a warning: Social media symbols can boost sales, but in some situations, they can actually discourage purchases!
The display of a social media icon such as a Facebook “Like” button or a Twitter symbol on a shopping website increases the likelihood that consumers will buy certain products by 25%. Meanwhile, these same symbols reduce the likelihood that customers will buy other types of goods by 25%. What’s going on?
As it turns out, users are more willing to talk about the purchases they are proud about, things like a new Under Armour jacket, a Burberry bag, or Apple computer. In general, purchases that generate envy and have a certain “cool” appeal benefit from social media buttons because users can quickly share the good news with their friends.
Other goods experience the opposite effect. If the product is embarrassing or “uncool”, such as underwear or acne medicine, users are less likely to buy if they see buttons that encourage them to share information about their purchases.
And here’s the kicker– The impact on intended buying behavior emerged regardless of whether people remembered seeing the social media icons or not. This suggests that these symbols have penetrated people’s unconscious and influence decisions in ways that bypass our awareness.
With that in mind, think about ways to use social media buttons to your advantage. If you’re selling products that people want to show off to their friends, try adding social media buttons to your website. If your product is for more private use, it might be better to leave those social media buttons for another purpose.