NEW YORK: When it comes to female consumers active on social media, Facebook is the most trusted network for product and service recommendations, according to a study released this week.
The Social Recommendation Index survey, conducted by Social Media Link in October, revealed that more than two-thirds (68%) of 10,337 online respondents trust Facebook as a review platform, compared with 56% for Pinterest, 51% for YouTube, and 41% for Twitter.
Participants in the study, 93% of which were women, are all members of Smiley360, a community of social consumers who try and review products and services. Seventy percent of respondents were between 25 and 44 years old.
Susan Frech, CEO of Social Media Link, said the survey's results show that communicators and marketers have a “tremendous” chance to successfully engage consumers online.
“This is an opportunity for brands to go out at scale and reach and mobilize the masses. [They can] get consumers to talk about their brands and products and know that it's meaningful and impactful, maybe more so than the celebrity endorsements or bloggers they've invested in,” she explained.
The research also shows that 77% of consumers who are active on social channels need to read fewer than 10 reviews to be persuaded to buy a product or service. Respondents also said that recommendations from friends and family have the greatest impact on purchasing decisions (86%), while only 39% can be compelled to buy a product based on a blogger review. Only 11% of participants are swayed most effectively by celebrity reviews.
Jordan Herrmann, director of marketing at Social Media Link, said it is important for companies to realize that consumers like to hear personal stories, and they often want to share their positive experiences with brands.
She added that marketers should seek people who have had a positive experience and prompt them “to share their personal stories versus just getting them to retweet the brand messaging to show how the brand [affected] their daily lives.”
Nearly half of participants (47%) said they have posted an online review based on a negative experience.
Herrmann said Social Media Link advises brands to reach out to a consumer who posts a negative comment online, because otherwise they can “miss an opportunity to turn someone around.”
“Customers want to be heard,” she added, which is why brands need to react in some way to negative reviews, as well as positive ones.