Social media matter because peers are one of the heaviest influencers of purchase decisions.
Last week, a couple staffers traveled to Washington, DC, for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) conference. From what I hear, the buzz at this event was tremendous. There were over 500 attendees, and many sessions were standing room only. That's pretty impressive for a conference this late in the year.
WOMMA events always have great energy; lots of like-minded people gather together to share war stories and swap helpful tips so we can collectively raise the state of the art. Let's face it, word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing is a nascent discipline, and there's still lot of confusion about what works and what success looks like.
Chad Stoller, our executive director of emerging media, had the opportunity to speak on a panel, "Social Networks: Creating a Presence and Getting Connected," with Randy Melcher from ecrush and Gordon Gould from ThisNext. The panel covered some interesting topics, including:
The most interesting part of the session was near the end when an audience member asked a question that struck at the heart of why the entire topic matters at all: "Why should we care what someone on a social network says about our brand?"
The most obvious answer is consumers can tell millions of their closest friends what they think. But there's more. Consumer comments within social media can influence purchase decisions. A new Compete Research study proves the effect of consumer-generated influence is quantifiable.
"Business Wire" says:According to the study, 51 percent of auto and travel buyers turn to consumer generated media to narrow their purchasing decision, nearly one quarter say that consumer review sites influence their purchase decision; and 24 percent change their mind about the type of vehicle/travel reservation they end up purchasing as a result of CGM influence. Additionally, consumers influenced by CGM have a major viral effect on other buyers, with 68 percent influencing friends and family post-purchase and magnifying the overall impact.
Social media matter. Peers are one of the heaviest influencers of purchase decisions. If you didn't have the courage to dip your toes into the waters this year, think about doing it in 2007. Now you can leverage the collective wisdom of those first movers. Good luck, and let me know how it goes.
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