The YouTube video Social Media Revolution 2018 by Social Media College identifies the following five trends that can have an impact on how individuals behave as digital citizens.

  • Facebook has 2 billion monthly active users. 54% of these users only use their mobile to access the platform and 88% of Facebook’s ad revenue comes from mobile ads.
  • Social media networks influence 74% of consumer buying decisions with 88% of consumers trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • Never before have businesses been able to communicate with their target audience on a one-on-one basis as often as they want.
  • 59% of influencers believe Instagram is the most effective network for engaging with their audience.
  • Businesses make an average of $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing.

Looking at this information as an avid user of social media, I found myself reflecting on how my spending patterns are influenced by social media. Since 2018, I have been trying to make a conscious effort to curb my spending habits, particularly when it came to buying makeup and skincare product since I realised that as soon as my favourite beauty guru on Instagram or YouTube raved about a product, I was jumping online to try and purchase said product. I did not always realise the gushing over a new foundation might not have been totally sincere.

Some of YouTube’s popular beauty gurus.

Speaking from personal experience, I find social media influencers can come across as very friendly, very boy/girl next door and as I have been watching some of my favourite influencers for years, I tend to think I know them personally. This however means that I forget that a huge part of an influencers job is to influence me into buying a particular product. They are salespeople and I am a customer, businesses want me to think a friend is recommending me a product.

Organisations need to have Information policies to address these behaviours because it is important that users of social media know how much money social media sites are making from ads and how much businesses use social media to try and sell them products. I don’t think people are surprised by ads and knowing businesses are trying to get them to buy their products, I think issues of transparency arise when people are not aware influencers are paid by companies to advertise products and the praises heaps upon a product may not be an honest opinion.