Burson releases WOM study

New York: A recent study of word-of-mouth (WOM) activities among African Americans shows that while they use the Internet for business, they oftentimes rely on offline communications for social networking.

New York: A recent study of word-of-mouth (WOM) activities among African Americans shows that while they use the Internet for business, they oftentimes rely on offline communications for social networking.

The African American-fluentials study by Burson-Marsteller found that 52% use online methods for business contacts versus 28% of the larger e-fluential population. Burson defines e-fluentials as "Internet users who are responsible for much of the word of mouth generated about products, services, and companies."

"African Americans are using the proliferating choices of online tools and channels, but there's an interesting split," said Mireille Grangenois, MD of Burson's US multicultural practice. "They use [the Web] for business pursuits, but still use interpersonal methods for other types of topics."

Grangenois said results should influence how pros target the demographic, adding that they should use offline channels such as grassroots and CSR elements as well as digital elements.

The online survey took place in August with a random sample of 1,000 African-American adults.

Among other findings: 39% of African American-fluentials are likely to make friends online versus 58% of the general e-fluential population, and only 15% of African American-fluentials are likely to write an entry or comment on another's blog.

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