What’s Missing in Social Media?
The last 3 installments of our articles have discussed how and what people are purchasing based on the ‘like’ of friend, as informed by our social media survey results of October 2011. Within that, our respondents have indicated that a friend’s ‘like’ has a positive effect. In fact, 42% of respondents reported they made a purchase of that ‘liked’ product and an additional 32% at least considered (or checked out) the product, as shown in the chart below.
Let’s round out the discussion by switching gears and looking at the flip side. Let’s talk about the 26% of survey respondents that did not make a purchase or even consider the purchase of a product based on the ‘like’ of a friend.
When this 26% was asked to select all reasons they did not purchase or consider a purchase based on the ‘like’ of a friend, the two top reasons were 1) more facts were needed about the product—not just opinion, and 2) social media is used only for personal reasons and not to view ads for products or merchants. This applied across all age, gender and income levels.
However, regardless of reasons for not buying, most respondents still indicated they were somewhat positively influenced by their friends ‘like’ as shown in the graph below.
While there may not be any one thing you can do about the respondents who didn’t buy because they only use social media for personal reasons, there may be something you can do about those who need more facts about the product before purchasing.
In addition to making sure your site displays detailed product information, consider integrating information from product review sites like CNET.com (pictured below) that feature ‘likes’ as well as reviews by consumers and experts.
The inclusion of or ability to easily access reviews is also supported by the feedback we have received from participants in many of our lab based studies. They have said that having an unbiased review from an expert or the ability to read through negative and positive reviews by consumers was very helpful in making a purchasing decision.
While some companies worry about exposing consumers to negative reviews about their products, participants in our lab studies have made it clear that in most cases, one “great” review or one “horrible” review does not sway them, but looking at multiple reviews (positive, negative, neutral etc.) helps them gain a better understanding of the product as a whole.
In fact, while users highly valued consumer reviews, most acknowledged that at times they suspected some reviews might be skewed in support of the product, regardless of its actual quality, or conversely, by those who had a vendetta against the company or product. The bottom line, viewing a wide range of opinions was important to them.
Additionally, many participants in our lab studies indicated that if product reviews are not available on the website, they will leave the website to read product reviews from other websites until they feel certain about the purchase.
So if your social media campaign has been successful and a consumer has been led to a product on your website based on the ‘like’ of friend, encourage this 32% (as referenced in our previous article) to stay and buy. Give them the tools (detailed product information and reviews) to make a purchasing decision on your website and complete the sale.
As our research shows (based on the results of our social media survey and the data gathered from lab participants), providing a one-stop shopping experience that includes social media and reviews may be the ticket to increased sales and conversion.
To create a successful social media campaign, ensure that research is done with your target market to determine the best use of your time and money in this realm. Implementation of social media is shown to increase sales; make sure your social media campaign is doing the same for you.
–Katie Mauck, Senior Usability Analyst