Ideas
Explore the world's #1 largest database of ideas and innovations, with 467,296 inspiring examples.
Trend Reports
Discover why 1,264 brands rely on our AI-powered Trend Reports to get better, faster insights.
Newsletter
Join 315,407 subscribers who rely on our weekly newsletter to keep up with need-to-know trends and insights.
How to Hunt
Learn more about how to hunt megatrends, ideas, patterns and opportunity.
Consumer Insights
Uncover major shifts and emerging opportunities with our exclusive PRO research.
Trend Reports
Discover why 1,264 brands rely on our AI-powered Trend Reports to get better, faster insights.
Newsletter
Join 315,407 subscribers who rely on our weekly newsletter to keep up with need-to-know trends and insights.
How to Hunt
Learn more about how to hunt megatrends, ideas, patterns and opportunity.
Advisory & Services
Accelerate innovation and ignite disruptive thinking with our award-winning programs and research.
Trend Reports
Get fast, customized trend reports, presentations and deep dives 20x faster than traditional research.
Plans
Get started today with a free consultation, our self-serve tools, or a dedicated program.
Articles & Magazine
Get inspired with our 4,211 innovation strategy articles, keynote, videos and innovation tools.
Innovation Awards
Trend Hunter’s Innovation Strategy Awards recognize the best innovation tactics gathered from our interviews with some of the world's most notable business leaders, authors and change makers.
Advisory & Services
Accelerate innovation and ignite disruptive thinking with our award-winning programs and research.
Innovation Assessment
Enhance your innovation potential with a deeper understanding of your unique innovation archetype and how your organization benchmarks.
FuturistU
Prepare for the years ahead with 100+ lessons, tactics, tools and frameworks with our full learning database.
Innovation Books
Join 20,000,000 people getting better and faster with our New York Times Bestselling books and keynote videos.
Jeremy Gutsche
Ignite your event or virtual event with our CEO, a NY Times Bestselling Author and one of the top innovation keynote speakers.
Our Team of Speakers & Virtual Presenters
Inspire your group with our most popular speakers on innovation, trends, change and futurism.
Custom Training & Events
Bring the Future Festival experience directly to your team or co-hosted custom event.
Custom Masterclasses
Join the world's leading brands who leverage our custom programs to accelerate innovation.
FuturistU 5-Day Program
Become a Futurist with our immersive 5-Day program at Future Festival World Summit.
Online eLearning
Learn the fundamentals of futurism and trends with 100+ online courses about innovation.
How to Hunt
Learn more about how to hunt megatrends, ideas, patterns and opportunity.
Contact
Get in touch to learn more, ask a question or submit a tip.
About Us
Learn more about Trend Hunter and how we accelerate innovation.
Follow-Us
Join our 3,500,000 social media followers, on the cutting edge.
How to Hunt
Learn more about how to hunt megatrends, ideas, patterns and opportunity.
FAQ
Get answers to common questions about Trend Hunter.
Community
Stay on the cutting-edge with the help of the Trend Hunter community.
Team
Meet the team trusted by hundreds of leading businesses worldwide.
Jobs
Find opportunities to accelerate your career with the #1 Trend Firm.
News
Catch up on noteworthy Trend Hunter news and media mentions.
Join
Build a portfolio and put your trend-spotting abilities to the test.
Advertising
Supercharge your marketing by partnering with Trend Hunter.
Portfolio
Visit your public portfolio and browse your past articles.
Add a Trend
Write up an article and showcase your trend-spotting skills.
My Trends
Edit your articles and see how they stack up on the leaderboards.
Settings
Edit your profile, connect your social media accounts, and more.
Add a trend, customize your dashboard, or track topics.
Future Festival
Innovation Events
Join the world's top innovators at our in person events.
Free Webinars
Learn to innovate through chaos, navigate the new normal and maintain work culture from home.
Custom Training & Events
Bring the Future Festival experience directly to your team or co-hosted custom event.
Search our database of 467,296 cutting edge ideas.

Social Media Referrals and Its Effect on Purchasing Behavior

Katherinev123
July 30th, 2012
Marketers have extensively studied the power of word-of-mouth referrals as they pertain to consumer purchasing behavior -- the more your friend recommends a product, the more likely you will go out and buy the product -- and now, more brands are paying attention to the effects of social media referrals in particular. Do social networks drive consumers to make purchases? Research is pointing to yes. According to Hubspot, recent studies have uncovered that 71 percent of shoppers say they're more likely to buy something based on social media referrals, and that consumers generally trust the recommendations they see from friends, and even strangers, more than they trust advertising.

In terms of specific social networks, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are the top social networks influencing consumer buying decisions today. According to a study conducted by Kantar Media Compete, 35 percent of consumers stated that Twitter influenced their decision to purchase a product, while 24 percent said Facebook drove them to buy something. Pinterest, while relatively new in the social media sphere, is already guiding consumer buying decisions: Bizrate Insights found that 32 percent of shoppers in North America have bought something after seeing a photo on a social image-sharing site, such as Pinterest.

The reason behind the power of social media referrals may lie in the natural tendency of people to want what others have, and the tendency to mimic the behavior of others (often subconsciously). These actions can be attributed to a person's "mirror neurons," which consumer advocate and author Martin Lindstrom describes as neurons that fire when a person observes an action, causing the person to "feel" what he or she sees another person feeling. What's more, according to Lindstrom, "Mirror neurons become activated not only when we're observing other people's behavior, they even fire when we're reading about someone performing it."

The latter activity, in this case, can be applied to social media referrals in that when a consumer reads a raving online review on a social network of a brand, product or service, her mirror neurons fire, making her feel the same positive feelings toward that brand, product or service as the other person. Thus, the shopper feels compelled to perform the same action -- i.e. purchase the product or service in question. This is especially true when the referral comes from a person we trust, respect or possesses qualities we want others to recognize in ourselves (for example, stylishness or intelligence), because by purchasing the same thing as the other person, we get a rush of dopamine, a chemical in the brain that causes the feeling of pleasure.

Consequently, social media referrals are significant to consumer purchasing behavior and therefore, a brand's online marketing strategy. Trend Hunter has uncovered a variety of ways brands are using social networks to drive purchases, such as the site Mulu, which rewards consumers for recommending products to their online networks. Discover more strategies and social media sharing campaigns by accessing our Social Media Trend Report and Retail Trend Report.