Widget company ShareThis, along with The Paley Center for Media, have undertaken research by Beresford Research to qualify the monetary value of online recommendations.
It appears that content sharing and recommendations influence consumers’ buying decisions more than brand or price. Statistical methodology was applied and it turns out that a recommendation can motivate consumers to spend 9.5% more for a product or service.
Other key findings from the research were:
- Ratings generate 6% additional value
- Reviews generate 7% additional value
- In-person recommendations generate 10.6% additional value
- Professional reviews generate 10% additional value and intent to purchase
- An online share has a value of between $0.33 for a brand or store recommended by a stranger, and $1.33 for brands recommended by friends or family
- Mums online rule and are three times more like to be socially active than the rest of the family
- Mobile accounts for twice as many shares as desktop
- In the last year, Pinterest has enjoyed a 58% growth; Facebook sharing grew by 57%, LinkedIn by 40%, and Twitter by 15%
- Email sharing fell by 11% throughout the year
- Negative sharing decreases purchase intent and value by 11%
So what does this mean for you?
Ratings and reviews must become a fundamental part of your online and mobile strategy.
Here are a few tips:
- Ask people in your own network and your friends to help you get the word out. When you ask you will be surprised that 90% of people are really happy to help you get the word out.
- Look for other forum sites, online magazines and news sites that have an interest in what you are selling and promoting. These sites need lots of content to stay fresh and often are really happy to take vouchers / offers of your product for their readership. Then ask them to rate it.
- Connect with people in business networks and online, and tell people about yourself and what you are trying to achieve. Ask their advice and you will be surprised how many people will help you build a community, bringing their communities to meet yours.
- Offer people great content and ask for their opinions online through ratings, reviews, comment boxes, etc.
- Provide feedback mechanisms that are personal at every point of your social media strategy. This is where small businesses can win over larger businesses. They are more agile to respond and more able to offer an excellence in customer service that the big boys can’t match.