Consumers will often buy the brands recommended by friends and family members. In the offline world, this behavior is labeled word of mouth. In the digital world, researchers are finding a link between the brands consumers purchase and those that are followed by friends and family on social networks.
To maximize the impact on potential increases in revenue, marketers should understand why consumers are friending their brands and which consumers are most influenced by the activities of friends and family members. Earlier this year, Burst Media’s study on social media use revealed that women, especially those with children, engage in specific ways with brands.
- Keep up with latest content 43.5%
- Share content with family and friends 41.9%
- Share opinions or comments 33.3%
- Interact with site authors/contributors 29.3%
More recently Ipsos OTX and Ipsos Global @dvisor looked into how consumers respond when friends engage with a brand in social media. In the U.S., 18% of consumers between the ages of 18 to 64 say they would buy a brand if a friend ‘likes’ the brand. Women, 18%, are slightly more likely to be influenced to do so than men, 17%. Researchers also uncovered wider variations in behavior based on age:
- Under age 35: 23%
- Between 35–49: 21%
- Between 50–64: 9%
While the total numbers remain modest, it’s clear that younger consumers who are moving into their heavy spending years can become advocates for brands. When brands win over these ‘influencer’ consumers, their investment in social media can pay big dividends. Brands will likely continue to reach out, especially to women with children, to encourage them to engage and like their products and serve as brand ambassadors. Their opinions will sway the actions of larger groups of purchasers over time.[Source: The Ripple Effect of Following a Brand on Social Media. Emarketer.com. 10 Jul. 2012. Web. 25 Jul. 2012]