Marketers are always looking for new ways to strengthen their brands. Word of mouth has always played a strong role in this endeavour but in the new world of social media, where almost everything is judged by peers and similar peer groups, just how important is it for your brand to be liked?
According to a poll conducted by Ispos Loyalty with online Canadians, the importance of positive reviews from peers in social networks is paramount. These findings are significant particularly for the online gaming industry which continues to build its presence in the social networking space.
The Ispos Loyalty poll showed that half (49%) of online Canadians state that they are either strongly (5%) or somewhat (44%) influenced by brand or product recommendations by members of their social network. The influence of social network recommendations is significantly stronger for online Canadians aged 18-34 (56%) than for online Canadians aged 55+ (40%).
Additionally, the findings showed that within social networks, being “liked” or “promoted” is also critical, as four in ten (41%) online Canadians are influenced when those in their social network “like” or “promote” a brand or product. Once again the influence of being “liked” is significantly higher for online Canadians aged 18-34 (46%) than for online Canadians aged 55+ (34%).
Dave Pierzchala, Vice President with Ipsos Loyalty explains the results of the Ispos study saying, “These results show that social networks influence impressions and ultimately the bottom line. For younger Canadians the importance of being ’liked’ is the generational equivalent of being ’recommended’ at the backyard BBQ.”
The poll showed that close to half (48%) of online Canadians with an online social network “follow” or “like” at least one brand, with younger online Canadians being more apt to do so. Six in ten (59%) of younger online Canadians (18-34) follow as least one brand and they follow an average of five brands. At the other end of the age demographic, less than a third (30%) of older online Canadians (those 55 and over) follows a brand and on average they only follow one brand).
Perhaps one of the most significant findings of this study was just how fickle consumers can be. Just because your brand is liked, it doesn’t mean it will stay liked, the poll showed that as 28% of online Canadians have “unliked” or stopped “following” a brand or company. Younger online Canadians are more fickle (41% have “unliked”) than their older online counterparts (15% have “unliked”). The main reason given for “unliking” is that the consumer simply “lost interest” (55%).
It’s a “what have you done for me lately” attitude that we are seeing here with brands in social networks. Just having a presence in the social networking space isn’t enough, in fact, if that presence isn’t nurtured and grown, it could have adverse affects, going from liked, to generally unliked.
Dave Pierzchala explains, “Brands and products cannot assume that once a consumer befriends their organization that they will be friends for life. To be successful, organizations must work on their virtual relationships as hard as they work on their face-to-face ones.”