In 2016, Influence Central surveyed more than 400 U.S. women, looking at major trends in social media recommendations and reviews to determine the overall impact of social media when consumers need advice, opinions, and recommendations.
The research findings about today’s social media recommendations and reviews show that the current shopping landscape looks far different than it did in previous generations. No longer do consumers drive from store to store looking for the best deal, endlessly buy the same brands they grew up using, or find themselves swayed into a purchase after seeing an in-store display.
Today’s cohort of shoppers has become far more discerning and less impulsive than ever, says the report, scrolling through e-commerce reviews for product insight and specifics, and embarking on shopping excursions, online and off, armed with informed opinions on every item before handing over their credit cards.
New findings from Influence Central’s newest Consumer Insights Study reveals how the profound growth of social media recommendations and online reviews has upended how consumers gather information, says the report. Authentic feedback, expressed by a trusted source, has a greater impact on consumers’ behavior at the tipping point of the decision to make a purchase than any other form of marketing. Today, consumers increasingly look to their trusted social networks for advice before making purchases.
Consumers point out that they are more active on social media, have more connections, and say they know who they can trust for good advice.
The study finds that social media sparks connections, fosters relationships, with 91% of women consumers who agree that “social media has dramatically increased the number of people I feel an ongoing connection to, literally expanding my active circle of friends.”
As social media matures as a communications channel, the connections we can make prove more diverse, the responders conclude. The top three categories of influencers include:
At the same time, women consumers increasingly reach out socially to share their own opinions with their social network, with 72% of women consumers often sharing their own opinions, advice, and recommendations via social media.
When asked “…what makes recommendations particularly useful”, two responses tied as top answers to this question with 65% saying:
With a newfound faith in the efficiency and utility of peer recommendations, consumers are turning to them more and more:
As they look at online opinions or recommendations, women consumers cited the following as the Top 2 signals that they can trust the recommendation:
When asked which attributes are most important when it comes to evaluating the opinions or recommendations of others before buying or trying, women consumers said:
Stacy DeBroff, Founder & CEO, Influence Central Influence Insights, concludes by saying, “… as social surrounds us… we’ve never had more on-call peers to advise us… peer advisors, experts, niche experts, and trend-spotters… we’ve actually encircled ourselves within the web… in a circle of opinions that we welcome…”
To read more of the Influence Central report, please visit here.