Even with all the talk of Facebook’s increased privacy settings and the concern about sharing too much online, the majority of Americans still reveal personal information on social media networks. So why would it come as a surprise that these personal details include product, company, and brand preferences? If I have the most amazing sandwich ever or a really bad flight experience, I’m going to want to rant and rave to my friends. Maybe they will have had similar experiences or a better recommendation. Or maybe they’ll take my advice and go to that sandwich shop or choose a different airline.
A recent Harris Interactive Poll released last week showed that of the 2,131 U.S. adults surveyed, 34 percent use social media to broadcast their feelings, whether positive or negative, about a company, brand, or product. Of these respondents, 26 percent have been negative, 23 percent have been positive, and 19 percent have given reviews or recommendations. Similarly, as I mentioned in my post, The Social Media Revolution Continues, a video on Erik Qualman’s book Socialnomics showed 34 percent of bloggers post opinions about products and brands, myself included.
So with all these personal reviews, opinions, and recommendations out there, how much is this impacting traditional advertisements? …As it turns out, quite a lot.
The Socialnomics video revealed that 78 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations, whereas only 14 percent trust advertisements. Yikes! This makes sense though, since Harris Interactive found that 46 percent of Americans feel they can be brutally honest on the internet, whereas traditional advertisements may seem skewed to consumers since they are paid for by the brand they are portraying.
So, it appears as though all our social media exclaiming is making more of an impact on consumers and our peers than we may have thought.
The Harris Interactive Poll showed that 45 percent of Americans who use social media say reviews from friends or people they follow on social networking websites influence them either a great deal or a fair amount. And this is precisely what people talking about products or companies want. About 38 percent say they aim to influence others when expressing their preferences online (it’s interesting to note that this includes nearly half of the younger generation, 18-34 year olds).
With 90 percent of people now skipping traditional TV ads, according to that same video, thanks to the inventions of TiVo and DVR, social media is clearly stepping up to fill that space. So, be careful the next time you tweet about a company, product, or brand – it may be getting more attention than you think!