Emotions Influence Online Decisions As Much As They Do Offline

As seen in the picture, shown left, I initially began this "short" blog post before going to bed over an hour ago...BEFORE my internet browser decided to go to sleep on me. Fortunately, I have developed tough skin (online). This past weekend I attended a writer's workshop on how to start and operate a blog efficiently. The presenter offered tips on how to start a blog following and increase blog traffic. Somewhere during the abbreviated Twitter tutorial, one of the students said that this (social networking) was like an entirely different world with its own language.

It is surprising to me how many people subscribe to this way of thinking - that interacting online is totally different from interacting offline. After surviving the shift from Web 1.0 to 2.0, paying my respects to Myspace, and becoming flexible enough to almost keep up with Facebook changes, I have been through more emotions than the Hallmark Channel. No matter how much expertise you may have interacting online, so much of it is really emotion. In a recent study, This Is Why You Were Friended or Unfriended [STUDY], many of the same reasons people connect online is the same as offline. In review of this study, there are some cool statistics as well as few valuable takeaways to make note of if you have a business, want to work for a business, provide goods or services, or want to buy goods or services...okay so that includes just about everybody.

My Top 3 Takeaways About Online Consumers:

  1. People want to be romanced into a product or service. They don't want a hard sell. In what is commonly referred to as the "social breakup", 39% of Facebook Users deleted online friends for "trying to sell me something."
  2. People still want to learn about products and services, just in a more natural way. Consumers use friendly networking sites to read real consumer feedback and learn about products. In fact, 66% of consumers polled said they use social media to read consumer feedback for products and services, compared to 67% that use social media for entertainment. So, people are logging on at about the same rate to read consumer feedback as they are for entertainment. Online business owners are not just competing for value and price, they are competing for consumer's attention. Finding ways to connect with consumers on an ongoing basis may help them come back to learn more.
  3. Roughly, the same percentage of people who use their consumer leverage to give positive feedback log on to give negative feedback. With about 50% of social media users logging on just to give feedback, it would behoove business owners to take note of their customer service practices.

In closing, when dealing with consumers it is hardly ever "strictly business." We customers are more than just a decision to purchase a good or service. Our decision to buy is part education, part emotion, an educated emotion you might say.