Positive reviews, social sharing, and word-of-mouth are all keys to successful marketing efforts both online and offline.
People trust their friends more than ads or commercials, so it is important to try to reach the consumer in a way that builds trust, encourages sharing, and fosters a climate for brand advocacy.
Online Recommendations and Sharing via Social Networks
Studies show that people are more open to sharing and posting reviews than ever before. At least 70% of people who recommend products on social networks do so at least five times a year. An additional 16% recommend products at least 15 times a year. If you can encourage your customers to post reviews, share purchases, and tell their friends, most likely they will continue to do so. This is an excellent way to tap into the power of social media.
“Industry experts and big-time social media influencers may seem attractive to marketers. But often, the regular Joe is the most powerful type of advocate out there and can have the greatest effect on his friends and family,” said Kimberly Maul, eMarketer writer/analyst. “By leveraging connections with these everyday influencers, brands can amplify word-of-mouth online and increase engagement.”
Purchasing Based On Recommendations
A survey by Sociable Labs found that 1 in 4 online shoppers who login to Facebook at least once a month have purchased something based on a recommendation they found online. 62% said they were influenced by their friend’s comments on Facebook, and 53% of those who clicked through to the product site ended up buying the product.
People also consult Google and other search engines for product reviews prior to making a purchase. According to research by Reevoo, 88% of consumers look for product reviews online when they’re about to make a purchase. 48% of respondents said that consumer reviews influenced their purchase decision, and 52% said friend recommendations were influential– a number that supports the aforementioned study by Sociable Labs.
Whether the reviews are positive or negative, anonymous or directly from friends, studies consistently show that they influence consumers. True brand advocacy can’t be bought or faked, so the best approach is to put out a great product with excellent customer service and encourage the consumer to spread the word, tell their friends, share their purchases, and leave positive reviews.