How Are Opinions Formed Today? By: Nathan Winnie
This may come as a shock, but opinions are formed a lot differently today compared to 20 years ago. The amount of information and utter disregard for privacy in the modern internet era leads to behavioral changes among brands and their customers.
This article will dig deeper into consumer behavior and give you a few examples of how opinions are formed today.
THE SHIFT IN BEHAVIOR
This shift started in 2010. Social media was in it’s infancy but the internet was coming on strong. The economy had just collapsed and people were desperate for information on how to protect their assets. Political commentary, financial analysis, and cultural debates became more popular as we moved into the new decade.
The problem with these topics is that it pisses off at least 50% of the people consuming it. Politics, finances, culture, all of these things are truly divisive. We couldn’t argue with CNN or Fox News because they were broadcasting the media but we could argue with our friends on Facebook and Twitter. This is the monumental shift.
We began using social media more frequently and after a few years something funny happened.
SOCIAL MEDIA AS A MIRROR
How many times have you heard your mom and grandparents say how, “social media is so terrible"?
The truth is: Social media is a mirror. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat aren’t terrible. They’re exposing the people who use those apps as a platform to spew terrible things.
ON THE OPPOSITE END OF THIS IS THE PEOPLE WHO USE THESE APPS FOR GOOD. THE PEOPLE WHO POST VALUABLE CONTENT EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR THEIR COMMUNITY TO CONSUMER FREE OF CHARGE. THESE CONTENT CREATORS UNDERSTOOD THAT THERE WAS A SHIFT IN BEHAVIOR AND CHOSE TO USE THE NEW PLATFORMS FOR GOOD.
HOW OPINIONS ARE FORMED TODAY
Now that we understand the shift and social media more clearly, we can begin to dissect how opinions are formed today. The best way to do this is to give an example.
You are scrolling through your Facebook page. You come across a friend of yours who posted a photo of their dinner at a restaurant. You like the photo and comment something like, “Looks Yummy”. A few minutes later you get a response, “It was great! You have to try the Calamari”!
The next day you see an ad on television for that same restaurant your friend was at. The ad talks about a few of their signature dishes and sure enough the calamari is one of them! You head to their website to check out the rest of the menu.
Later that night you’re planning your weekend and scrolling through social media again. You see an Instagram Story ad that says “swipe up to book a reservation today”. You end up booking a reservation for 2 and ordering that signature calamari the next night.
The biggest takeaway from this story is that everything worked in unison. Your friend posted the photo on social media and you formed an opinion about the restaurant. You saw the television ad and your opinion changed a little. You saw the Instagram ad and chose to swipe up because you were already familiar with the restaurant. The restaurant gets your business and you made an educated decision on how to spend your Friday night. Win-Win.
HOW TO FORMULATE GOOD OPINIONS TODAY
A few examples of how you can start forming good opinions about you or your brand:
1. Post organic content on social media platforms. You never know what piece of content will push people to buy from you or change their opinion about you.
2. Advertise with the intent of growing your brand not your sales. If you have an advertising budget, use it to advertise a message that people will relate to. (NO WEEKEND SALES)
3. Create as little friction as possible for the end consumer. Some people prefer reading, some prefer listening, some prefer watching. It is your job to try and reach all of these people based on their preferences.