People who use online social networks trust opinions, advice and news they receive from people they know much more than from blogs, news communities or advertisers, according to a Faves.com survey reported by Marketing Charts.
Of the 820 US web users surveyed, 90% said they would highly or moderately trust information they received through social networking sites such as Facebook or Bebo from friends or acquaintances.
By contrast, just 4% said they would put any stock in information they received from vendors or advertisers, blogs or forums or news communities such as Digg or Reddit.
But it is clear that people do make purchasing decisions based on information they get through social networking sites, with 70% saying they rely on online product or book reviews and 62% rely on users’ votes or ratings of products.
The lesson, then, is that while social networking sites can be very powerful marketing tools, just whacking an ad on their isn’t going to get you anywhere. To get ahead, it’s all about harnessing the power of customer opinion to your cause.