Social Media and Its Control Over Consumers

In the age of social media, launching any of these apps leads to you being bombarded with posts showing influencers promoting products, clothes, and even water bottles to their followers. But how much do these posts promote bad consumerism habits?


With over 3.4 billion active social media users all around the world, businesses would be naive to not use social media as a business strategy. But in an overcrowded market where everybody is competing for their chance to say their product is the best, conflicted consumers might not even know what to buy.


Because of this saturated market, it enables the possibility of consumers buying items that they might not actually need and making impulse purchases. Of course, making the odd purchase here and there is totally fine, but overconsuming can happen.


I know I'm not the only one who is guilty of purchasing something that they have seen being marketed through social media either on Instagram or TikTok, so there is no need to beat yourself up about it. You just need to think about how much you buy and whether you truly need the item or not.


Whether it's Molly Mae, Kim Kardashian or Kylie Jenner, all of your favourite influencers and celebrities have a hold over what you buy and consume.

49% of consumers seek guidance from influencers before making buying decisions.

Since many social media stars get paid to promote products, it’s debatable how much we can actually trust that their views are their own. There have been many scandals over the years regarding celebrities promoting products that they don’t even use - Shay Mitchell pretending to wipe her face away with Biore products, or Millie Bobby Brown faking using her own products just to name a few.


Despite all this, people still trust influencers on products that they recommend, and I mean it is hard not to when so many people with huge followings are recommending the same products over and over. It becomes easy to look beyond whether the product is worth the hype or not.


As well as in the last two years online purchasing has surged due to the pandemic, with more and more people accessing, viewing, and buying products online.


So, you're probably thinking about how social media affects your consumerism. Well, I've composed a list below of a few reasons why social media harms consumers and promotes a culture of throwaway products.


How social media promotes consumerism


1. It creates a faster way to purchase products

Adverts on social media often provide direct links to the products they are promoting, making the time it takes to add the product to your bag and complete the purchase go from minutes to only a matter of seconds.


2. Fear of missing out

You might not think so, but every time you post an image on Facebook, a TikTok, or simply add a story on Instagram, all of your followers see it and they might be influenced to buy or consume what you're picturing. This creates a fear of missing out, where people think they must need that product. It works for you, your closest friends, and especially your favourite influencers.


3. The power of influencers

Whether you believe it or not, influencers play a huge part in what we buy and consume on a day to day basis. In fact, micro-influencers play the biggest part, because we view them as a friend when they have only a few thousand followers compared to big names such as Zoella.


4. The constant turnaround of products

With many of us following brands on social media, they are constantly producing clothing and product content for their audiences with the launch of new items, and it can become hard to look away.


5. Chasing likes

Not only does seeing what people purchase influence what we buy, but often we buy items to share with our friends and show everyone what we have bought to gain more likes or followers.


How to beat the system

To help create an easier way to navigate through social media as a consumer, I’ve composed a small list of things you should think about next time you find yourself with your finger hovering over the “Buy” button:

  1. Think twice before you buy

  2. Set out monthly budgets to stop yourself from overspending

  3. Step away from Klarna

  4. Look at reviews for products, is it really worth the hype?