I'm a Social Media convert and I hate to sound jaded, but the barrage of news, case studies, and reports that indicate people listen to each other is getting mundane. Every day, it seems a new report or press release arrives in my RSS feed indicating WOM works; it's as regular as the sun coming up and Twitter going down.
In some respects, it's a bit funny and a little sad that some people need a report or case study to prove that something that's worked in the real world since the beginning of human existence--people listening and talking to each other--is also effective online. But apparently they do, so here is this week's batch of social media examples and studies for your consideration:
- Opinion Research tells us that consumer reviews play a big part in purchase decisions for online shoppers. Sixty one percent of respondents said they had checked online reviews, blogs and other online customer feedback before buying a new product or service, and of those who looked for reviews and other feedback, eighty-three percent said such evaluations had at least some influence on their purchases. eMarketer reports that online shoppers value product reviews from other consumers even more highly than professional reviews. How many reviews does it take to convince a shopper? Nearly one-half of US consumers surveyed who shopped online four or more times per year and spent at least $500 said they needed four to seven customer reviews before making a purchase decision.
- The Wall Street Journal reminds us that the best way to build Word of Mouth isn't to create a Facebook profile, to Tweet, or to blog--it's to offer products and service that get people talking. The WSJ shares a brief interview with Marka Hansen, president of Gap North America, who pulled the retailer's high-profile TV ads in order to focus first on getting things right in the stores. With sales lagging, the brand needed something to get people talking. Says Hansen, "You don't want to have everybody over to your house for dinner unless you are sure the food is going to taste good and the house is cleaned up. So we have been working hard to make sure we get the product piece right and let the word of mouth happen."
- Of course, another way to get people talking is to hit the right chord with consumers via advertising. Here's the story of a small Chicken Finger restaurant in Mobile, AL that lashed out at Boeing and ended up sparking enormous WOM, and it all began with a single billboard, if you can believe that. Mobile's future as a major manufacturer of large airplanes was put in jeopardy when Boing complained to the the Government Accountability Office about the bidding process. Boeing won their appeal, and the restaurant decided to express its feelings with a billboard reading, "We would like to offer Boeing a finger." The billboard was front page news in the local newspaper, was covered by all three network affiliates, and currently has 631 mentions on the internet. Giving people something to talk about is still--obviously--the best way to get them talking!