Going online to research a product before you buy it is something nearly everyone does at least a few times a year. People look up everything online, especially high-tech items, clothing, cars, and even DVDs and CDs. And you can bet that what they read online is influencing which item they buy and who they buy it from.
But where do people look for information? Lightspeed Research has the answer.
As you can see, social networking lands at the bottom of the list, which doesn’t bode well for all those brand “likes” on Facebook.
Naor Chazan, Marketing Director, Americas at Lightspeed Research says,
“Despite their role in our digital lives, social networks don’t yet seem to be the place where Word of Mouth is delivering its full power.”
I respectfully disagree. The problem here is not in the results but in the question. It’s totally true that people don’t go to social media to research a product, because it’s not made for that. Social media is not easily searchable and the information is delivered so randomly it wouldn’t make sense to start there if you wanted to know about the benefits of a new Ford.
On the other hand, if I’m on Facebook and I see that a friend is excited about a new book, I’m going to go find that book on Amazon and I might buy it. In effect, I have been influenced by a review on social media. The reverse is also true. If my friend has a negative experience with an airline, I’ll think twice about booking a flight with them in the near future.
I’m not knocking Lightspeed’s research. Their paper is loaded with excellent information in regard to consumer shopping behavior and I recommend you read it when you’re through here. I just think we need to be careful about viewing social media as the be-all solution for marketers.
When I cook, I use a variety of tools to get the job done quickly and properly. Same goes for marketing. Social media may be your favorite tool, but it’s not always the best one for the job.