Facebook is most trusted review platform: report
December 10, 2013
When looking to make informed decisions on purchases, consumers tend to check social media for input, and according to a recent report from Social Media Link, Facebook is the most trusted review platform over Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter.
Social Media link surveyed 10,337 people who are active on social media and more than two-thirds of the respondents said they trusted Facebook over the other channels. The survey also showed that 77 percent of respondents would be compelled to make a purchase after fewer than 10 reviews.
“With so many advertising messages thrown at consumers, people rely on the recommendations from other people to cut through the clutter and help guide their purchase decisions,” said Jordan Herrmann, marketing director at Social Media Link, New York. “People love to talk about the products and brands they interact with on a daily basis. Whether it's because they had a particular experience with the brand or because they want their opinion heard, consumers like to share.
“Social media amplifies the reach and impact of these recommendations,” she said. “In fact, consumers' overall exposure to reviews and recommendations has increased."
It is not news that consumers are on Facebook often, but the study points to the large impact the social media site has on purchasing behavior.
Sixty-eight percent of respondents said that Facebook was their most trusted platform, 56 percent said Pinterest, 51 percent said YouTube and 41 percent said Twitter.
“We believe that out of all the social networking channels, Facebook friends are most likely to be people you know and interact with in real life,” Mr. Herrmann said. “Facebook is also one of the most closed and protected audiences, and people value the relationships they have. If you're posting something on Facebook, you feel it's meaningful to the audience, and your friends understand that.”
The survey also showed that consumers look to friends and family for reviews over paid or professional reviews.
Eighty-six percent said that reviews by friends and family have the biggest impact on purchase decisions. Thirty-nine percent are swayed by blogger reviews, and eleven percent are influenced by a celebrity review.
Only 45 percent of respondents trust paid blog reviews.
Consumers also appreciated personal stories in reviews as opposed to a list of product benefits and star ratings.
Social media trust
Mobile and social have both been rising in popularity in the past few years. And the two are definitely intertwined.
According to Mr. Herrmann, 71 percent of consumers use mobile devices to access social networking sites, and accessing social sites was labeled as the top activity on smartphones.
Since consumers are always connected via mobile and social, sharing happens in real-time.
“When it comes to consumer recommendations in social media, we've found that the best practice is to keep it simple and keep it impactful,” Ms. Herrmann said. “Consumers trust and are impacted most by people whom they know.
“They love to share when they have a positive experience, and one individual doesn't need hundreds of reviews thrown at him or her in order to purchase,” she said. “They really just need a trusted source giving a personal experience with the brand.
“Many times, brands focus narrowly on hiring bloggers to promote their products. But there's a huge additional opportunity to leverage social recommendations through an individual's social circles and mobilizing this effort to achieve mass, high trusted reach across social media.”
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York
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