Consumer Psychology:

Groups Influence Buying

By James Atkinson, LLB

Consumer Psychology - Groups Influence Buying: As I show in Persuasion Psychology and in particular Social Proof, groups of people can exert powerful social influence. In other words, prospects will draw conclusions about the right way to behave, or the persuasiveness of an idea, based on what other people are doing.

The influence is strongest if the other people are similar to the prospect.

People in positions of authority will also influence prospects People who are acknowledged as authorities within a group will exert influence on the other people in the group (see Authority and Influence). In marketing, groups are often called “reference groups.” Groups provide a reference point that shapes prospects’ attitudes and behavior.

Online, the primary way to exert influence through groups is by using social networking. Social networks like Facebook and MySpace as well as forums and blogs are where conversations are taking place in your market and opinions are being formed that influence buying.

This is how groups can influence buying online:

  • What people in the group think and do influences prospects according to the principles of social influence.
  • Groups provide prospects with information they need to make decisions.Groups can quickly spread opinions on social networks.

    Prospects hear about what others are doing, what products they’re using, and their experiences with different companies, and so on.

    This information is a major influence on buying.

  • Groups provide new ideas that may trigger prospects to recognize a need they weren’t previously aware of.
  • Opinion leaders or authority figures within a group are particularly influential.If you can gain their trust and respect they will help spread your messages virally throughout their network of contacts.

Let’s take a closer look at perceptions and self-concept:

Consumer Psychology > The Buyer's Mind > Buyer Emotions > Emotional Benefits > Emotional Benefits And Buying > Prospect Attitudes and Buying > Groups Influence Buying > Buyer Perceptions and Self Concept >