One of the phenomenons of social media is how it has encouraged all of us to share more. The sharing generation has created a movement built around people accustomed to sharing. Sharing everything from what we had for breakfast to major life events or simply offering up opinions or advice. This movement has created an open flow of information. People want to hear what other people have to say, and other people really like to share what they think. For brands this can be good or bad, do you know what people are sharing about your brand?
We share everything, everywhere or at least that’s what it feels like. It is no longer reserved for reviews sites or from “professional” critics. Now, everyone can be a critic of food, fashion and everything in between by commenting on social networks or blogs. What this means for brands is that today a single individual might have as much impact or influence as paid media once had.
Celebrity influence is nothing new, however now their influence can be instantly shared via Twitter or Instagram. Social media has created their own wave of celebrities and influencers. The power of blogging has created hyper-segmented audiences with built in loyal followings. Influence marketing will only increase in the coming year and become a more valuable resource for brands.
According to the below infographic created by Social Media link, Social Recommendation Index we trust product recommendations from people we know. Keep in mind that due to social media, those we know and trust may be people we have never actually met (IRL) In Real-Life. In fact studies show that for woman, social media friends are their most trusted influencers. The interesting thing to note for brands is that we trust recommendations from social connections more than we do from traditional media or advertising channels. Think about that when you set your marketing budgets.
It becomes more critical for brands to pay attention to what fans, followers, advocates or disgruntled customers have to say about them. First impressions don’t always take place in person, they can happen by way of a search result, a review from a connected friend or social media post. Now, those same first impressions carry significantly more weight as they are documented and archived online, while also being shared with friends and followers.
A sharing generation will only continue to gain power, the smartphone makes it impossible not to share. We no longer have to head back to our desktops to rate a restaurant or share an experience. Mobile ambassadors make monitoring comments and mentions for brands a 24/7 job. No longer is simply monitoring mentions of your brand good enough, as comments away from your brand’s profiles can be even more damaging. In fact it might be more important to monitor the comments or reviews that don’t mention you.
Comments No loner require a computer, as smartphones make it both real-time and easy.
The bottom line impact of sharing comes down to sales, Social Commerce can be attributed to social media’s influence on a purchase or visitation. From restaurants to finance user-generated reviews can make a difference in purchases. According to SaveIGo, 73% of consumers say it would be important to read user-generated content before making a decision based on food, while a whopping 83% say it would make a difference when choosing a bank or financial service.
The interesting thing is that we are so accustomed to sharing our experiences, that we may not even know that we are either damaging or endorsing a brand. Simple social media actions like checking-in on Foursquare or snapping a picture on Instagram becomes an implied endorsement. Sharing can have great impact, let’s just hope for your brand that it’s making a positive impact.