How do people buy things?
I probably should have called this one: how do people find things.
Because when I want to know about a business, a product or whatever, this is what generally happens; I Google it, look up the website, look up Instagram, and most likely look up the Facebook page.
I go to these places because I'm trying to find information. On Google, I'm looking at their star rating, location, contact details, and open hours.
On a website, I'm looking at: when was it made? Within the last five years? (let alone updated within since the last blue moon). Do they give you any helpful information or just try to sell you stuff? How personal is it? Do they show people, people you think work there? Or is it just a bunch of stock images?
Do they have an Instagram? Some businesses don't and don't need to have Insta. But if they do, how many followers do they have? What kind of posts do they put up? Do they treat posts as ads, or are they genuinely posting stuff I want to see? Have they posted anything lately? Stories count.
Facebook is not my go-to but is next on the list. Here I'm looking at reviews and the last time they posted? Are there any updates here that are worth seeing?
There are some key things to point out.
- I work in marketing.
- I acknowledge that I am a 30-year-old, and this is my way of doing things.
- This process isn't for every product (but even for high involvement purchases; this is the start of research).
- I look for stuff. The internet makes it easier - somewhat - to find that stuff. But since there is so much stuff to look through. Credibility has become a far more scarce resource.
I'm looking for the same things each time.
A) Can I find the business?
B) Can I get the information I need? Open hours, addresses, contact numbers.
C) Can I believe what I see?
Since it's harder to give credit to what you see - an important topic that's worthy of its own elaboration - the way to assess 'believability' is to look at: how well is the business regarded? What do others say? How do they rate them?
Not every business can be summed up within a five-star rating on a couple of platforms. You will not buy an industrial gearbox based on a star rating (not yet, at least). But again, how well a business is present and how well it presents itself is part of the purchasing process.
How is any of this helpful?
I have worked with a range of clients, and now, on many different projects. To my great surprise, just being on these platforms (Google, Instagram, Facebook, and having a website) without pixelated images and logos is all it takes to get you into the top percentile of the bell curve.
Having up-to-date information is a bonus point.
Having good Creative posted within the last month also gets bonus points.
And there are double bonus points if you also have an email newsletter that isn't rubbish.
This kind of setup with just four platforms removes friction when people look for you—making things easier for someone in a hectic world.
Easy is appealing, it's enticing, it's the reason Netflix has the auto-play feature. Easy is good.
Now sure, there are plenty of things not to like. Facebook has a lot of crazy people on it and changes its algorithm at the drop of a hat. Instagram helps teenagers have body image issues and changes its algorithm at the drop of a hat. Google sells your data to anyone who wants it and changes its algorithm at the drop of a hat.
But for now, you have to be in it to win it, "it" being new customers. If you win enough customers, you can run things purely based on reputation because people will come to you directly, be on your email list, or visit your website for updates. Though in reality, this isn't the case for most of us. To address this discrepancy, obviously, you can call me.
My process and this particular platform setup do not reflect the need for everyone or every business. There's no magical shotgun approach to marketing these days that covers all of your bases. Whom you're trying to talk to still determines where you should be. But having a website and being on these platforms Google, Facebook, Instagram is the bare minimum of what you should have in your marketing makeup.