Consumers don't put much trust in corporate blogs or social network profiles, but will readily listen to people--even if they are employed by the company selling the product--provided that they are open about their mission and relationship to the company.
DEI commissioned a study by OTX, a consumer research and consulting firm, which surveyed 500 Americans over the age of 13 from August 8-13. The study showed that 67% of consumers are likely to pass along information from an actual ("real live") brand representative to other people, and 57% are likely to take action based on that information--if it is believed to be accurate. Sixty-two percent of consumers felt that information received from a brand representative was more valuable than advertising or promotional materials.
In addition, DEI found that 70% of consumers have used social media--including networks and chat--to get information about a brand or product, and just over one-third have then passed that information along to others.
Of this second cohort, 60% once again used social media to propagate the information (that's about 20% of the total). DEI is also launching a social media analyzer tool on its Web site that allows marketers to see how their target audiences respond to different social marketing channels.
Consumers are far more skeptical of information insinuated into social media but lacking the personal touch, according to another study from Forrester Research, which found that just 16% of consumers trusted corporate blogs. A mere 18% trusted corporate social network profiles.
By contrast, 77% of consumers say they trust emails "from people you know," and 60% said they trust consumer reviews.