As social media has developed as a method of amplifying the power of online reviews about brands, Facebook has become the most trusted channel for product and service recommendations.
The new Social Recommendation Index by Social Media Link reveals that 92 percent of respondents trust social recommendations from people they know. Close to 70 percent of them turn to Facebook for product reviews, compared to 63 percent prefer blogs and retail websites, respectively.
Meanwhile, 56 percent of consumers surveyed said they trust Pinterest for product and service recommendations, 5 percent more than YouTube. Forty-one percent go to Twitter and Google Plus.
"Of all the social networks, your Facebook friends are people with whom you have the deepest relationship. Relatively, Facebook networks are closed and thus valued by marketers," says Jordan Herrmann, marketing director at Social Media Link. "People share content on Facebook that they think their networks will respond to, and consumers understand this."
Recommendations from family and close friends have gained the most credibility when it comes to purchase decisions, while celebrity reviews are the least reliable, according to the survey.
"Often times, brands will look to the most popular blogger or celebrity, or race to generate hundreds of reviews on a particular retailer website," Herrmann tells ClickZ. "The reality is that people are most influenced to purchase by recommendations from people they know and that involve a personal story about the brand."
A brand review containing personal stories is more likely to resonate with consumers, as it is valuable to 40 percent of respondents. In comparison, a list of product benefits (34 percent) and a rating scale (15 percent) are less influential.
"There is a fantastic opportunity for marketers to leverage brand advocates to share their own brand experience with their unique social circles to influence purchase and mobilize this effort to help scale it," Herrmann says.
Social Media Link surveyed 10,337 consumers by asking them 20 questions online. 93 percent of respondents are female. See the full Social Recommendation Index for further insight.
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Yuyu Chen is an Editorial Intern at ClickZ. Her work has appeared in Local East Village, New York Daily News and Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce website. Yuyu received her M.A. in Business and Economic Reporting from New York University in May, 2013.
March 19, 2014