Social Media Users Thrive on Networking and Depend on it as Their Most Trusted Information Source
Using social media sites for both online and offline networking is one of the most important activities among people who use Web 2.0 type sites. The results of Beresford Research’s “Use of Online Social Networks” white paper show a surprisingly high percentage of Web 2.0 site users list offline face-to-face interaction as an important outcome of their online social network participation. This is especially significant when dealership’s consider their participation in online social media marketing.
When looking at the Beresford research report’s list of online activities, the only activity more popular than social networking was using email. Even the use of online Chat clients and the most basic of all online activities, Web browsing actually ranked lower in significance compared to social networking by the Internet users surveyed.
Online versus Offline
Internet users participating in the study were asked to compare using web based social networks with several popular offline activities. Social network users responded that going out with friends on a face-to-face basis was the online offline activity more important than online social networking. Real would face-to-face activities such as playing games, reading, watching TV and playing sports… All ranked below online social networking in importance to these consumers.
Web 2.0 User Activities
As for which activities within Web 2.0 sites had the greatest significance, the Beresford study reports that posting photos was the most important of all social networking activities. 81% of the study’s respondents use their Web 2.0 sites for storing and displaying photos.
Submitting their response, or commenting on the forum and blog posts of other Wb 2.0 site members and posting their own opinions, comments and information was reported as the second most important WQeb 2.0 site activity.
Most interesting to those of us who are working on developing ways to use Social Media as a marketing and advertising tool for selling cars, was that 25% of Web 2.0 site users visited the sites of a company, product or service listed on their social networks. Remarkable to those accustomed to looking at reports with Click Through Rates (CTR) of less than 1% was that 38% of the study’s participants regularly click on display advertisements appearing within their Web 2.0 sites.
People who use Web 2.0 sites place a high degree of trust in their social networks. 50% of Beresford’s respondents said they considered information shared on their networks to be highly credible and was considered important to them when making a buying decision… With a yet higher level (65%) of Web 2.0 site users aged 18 to 24 relying on information they receive from social network members when making purchase decisions. The potential for leveraging social networks in an effective manner to generate “buzz” about cars or the deals being made at a dealership would appear to be significant, and worthy of marketing focus by dealers.
“This is a particularly important finding,” according to the Beresford report, “in that it suggests that these younger users have integrated social networks into their lives to such an extent that it has become a trusted resource for their decision making.”
The Beresford study’s results focused on decision-making among Web 2.0 site users in general, not just purchase decisions. However, what is new information is that they suggest a much greater reliance on social networks for information used in purchase decision making than earlier surveys have shown. For example, in March 2009 a study published by Knowledge Networks found that between 10% and 24% of Web 2.0 site users obtained information from social networks when making purchase decisions… Less than 5% said they “always” did research within their social networks in the older study. The new findings reported in the Beresford study shows much higher number of people relying on consumer generated reviews and reports available online. This more recent information makes the development of a Reputation Management strategy all the more important for dealers and car companies.
Data and Information sourced from eMarketer.com