Shocking news everyone. It turns out that millennials are influenced by social media. I'm not kidding. It's been uncovered that young people (yes I'm including me in my late 20s) are more affected by social media than we are by other forms of advertising. I know - it knocked me for six as well. And a recent study has indicated that social media has more impact on where we decide to travel than a travel agentwhich... well, when was the last time you stepped foot inside a travel agents?
All my sarcasm aside, I don't know how much longer we can be surprised that social media has a huge impact on consumer decisions. People make a living being 'influencers' online because we all spend so much time browsing that we're more likely to take in a recommendation from a blogger than we are to watch travel programs or read magazines even. I don't often buy magazines anymore because by the time things are printed they've often been floating around online anyway. And, you know, save the trees. Peace. Of course we're going to be affected by what we see there, and what other people are getting up to.
I think, being honest, that a lot of the travel inspiration on social media comes back to social media itself. A lot of the time people seeing other people's holidays on Instagram think 'ooh I need to go there' not just because it'll be a nice trip but because they can, in turn, post their own jealousy-inducing pictures. It's an cycle of jealousy that has fuelled consumerism for decades, but people seem to just now be realising how much it applies to travel.
The thing I found funny about this is how much it evidently applies to me. They seemed surprised by the fact that millennials were more influenced by social media than travel agents and I thought.... well duh. You might book through a travel agent online, but generally you already know where you want to go, probably happening upon their deal on a comparison site. We know what we want and we want to get it for the best price.
I went on holiday recently and had a dreamy time in Trinidad and Tobago, and then Jamaica, but I wasn't on social media for lots of the time. Aside from the fact that I didn't want to get it full of sand, my phone has recently decided that it doesn't much like connecting to wifi, so I was pretty much incommunicado unless within a couple of metres of a router. However I definitely felt like I was in serious ~aspirational holiday picture~ territory. I'd never been to the Caribbean before and spent too much time looking at other people on sandy white beaches. It was my turn. Also, we stayed at Sandals in Jamaica, which since I was little has pretty much been the pinnacle of romance. You know when you'd see the adverts on TV in the 90s and it was couples only and no children and in these far off destinations? I felt very smug and in love the entire time knowing how mystified 9-year-old me would have been.
All in all, I think it's safe to say that we already knew that we pay attention to where other people are travelling - but more importantly, data is now showing us exactly how much we follow our peers and that means than social media marketing is proving it's worth in the current dynamic. Whether or not you realise it, you may well be playing into the monkey-see monkey-do marketing system... and if you are then you'd better at least get some good photos out of it.
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.