37% Trust What Friends/Family Say About Brands On Social Media

A recent study by Knowledge Networks and MediaPost Communications surveyed teen and adult social media users about their reaction to brands and product recommendations on social media.  Overall, 37% of respondents trust what friends and family say about a brand or product on social media, while only 10% trust what a stranger says, as reported by eMarketer.

However, the level of trust varies by the type of social media:

  • 26% trust what friends and family members say in blog posts
  • 25% trust friends and family posts on social media sites
  • 20% trust friends and family tweets
  • only 7% trust the blogs and posts of strangers
  • just 5% trust strangers’ tweets

Conducted in May 2011, “The Faces of Social Media” study also looked at how customers interact with social media via mobile during the shopping process. According to the survey, 40% of respondents access social media via mobile phone, up from 28% in September 2010. Fully half of mobile web users “interact with social media at some point in the shopping process:”

  • 27% of US mobile internet users use social media to compare or check prices before, during or after shopping
  • 24% check reviews
  • 16% get coupons or discounts for local businesses

Brand relationships and purchase decisions are increasingly influenced by social media:

  • 23.1 million teen and adult social media users discover new brands or products through social media (up 22% from 2010)
  • 22.5 million use social media to learn about unfamiliar brands or products (up 9%)
  • 17.8 million are strongly influenced in their purchase decisions by opinions in social media (up 19%)
  • 15.1 million refer to social media before making purchase decisions (up 29%)

The presence of social media (especially via mobile) in shopping and purchase decisions continues to grow and gain influence, as does the importance of friend and family recommendations made via these networks.  It will be interesting to see how this trend ties into geo-location apps, such as Foursquare and Facebook Places.  Will your friends’ purchases or favorites someday show up when you check in to your favorite store?