The Social Media Monthly – Word of Mouth is key to dominating the consumer conversation

Brand marketers are always developing strategies that influence purchase intent. For the last decade or so, these marketers assumed that social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram are driving consumers to engage with brands and make purchase decisions. Social media continues to grow at a rapid rate; daily active users for Twitter increased 11 percent year-over-year, and Facebook’s increased 18 percent during that timeframe. But, the reality of the situation is much more complex. Most consumers continue to look to their peers for face-to-face advice and recommendations about their favorite brands, impacting their purchase decisions.

While consumers use social media for a variety of reasons, face-to-face word of mouth recommendations among family and friends remain a vital force in consumer purchase decision-making. It is perennially cited as the most trusted source of information by consumers. The volume of real world conversations about brands continues to dwarf the conversations that take place on social media, often by a factor of five to one, according to our word of mouth tracking data. And the impact on sales from offline conversation is greater than the impact of social media.

“Family and friends remain a vital force in consumer purchase decision-making.”

In a new, first-of-its-kind analysis of combined online and offline consumer conversation data, we uncovered a group of “Category Crusher Brands,” which are brands that outperform their competitors in social media performance and offline word of mouth recommendations. Included among the Category Crushers are American Express, BMW, Dove and Gatorade.

Read the entire WWD article, here.

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