The one thing that makes social media marketing so attractive lies in four words: word-of-mouth marketing. This is one of the most effective and credible forms of marketing a product or service and is the reason why so many companies feel the need to have a presence on many social networking sites. However, these social media users prefer a different type of interaction to help them inspire or prompt an online search…
According to a recent survey, conducted by BIGresearch for the Retail Advertising & Marketing Association (RAMA), they found that in-person, face-to-face communication was a social media users’ top reason to start an online search for a specific product or service.
The study revealed that social media users were even more influenced by face-to-face word-of-mouth than an average adult’ opinion found online.
This preference of face-to-face communication held across all age groups within the survey, and the only difference among any age group was that 18- to 34-year-olds were more likely to search online because of something they had seen on cable television, which was a smaller force among older users.
The study also demonstrated that online communities, such as MySpace and Facebook, influenced less than one-quarter of social media users to search for a product or service which is still a notable percentage. When it came to gender differences, men were marginally more likely than women to report such an influence from a social networking site and age had an even larger effect. Among the 18-to-34 group, nearly three in 10 searched because of social networks, compared with less than 20% of 35- to 54-year-olds and 15.3% of those 55 and older.
More than 71% of the respondents communicated about a service, product or brand in person after an online search, compared with only 21.6% who spread the word via sites such as MySpace or Facebook. Not all digital communication was shunned, however; about one-half used e-mail to tell others what they had found.
Social media users are particularly attractive to marketers because they are more likely to both look for and give purchase advice than the general population. Word-of-moth marketing continues to be one of the most valuable marketing tools available to companies so they should be focusing a lot, but not all of, of time in the online arena, especially in social media.
Information Provided By: eMarketer
Blog Post Written By: Kent Seiders