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Survey Says Reviews, Not Likes Influence Consumer Trust

Trust is a big factor when it comes to buying anything online be it a .99 music download from iTunes or $5,000 wedding dress. Customers want to feel secure in the knowledge that they’re getting a quality product from a reliable source, that the item will arrive in a timely manner and there will be customer service help available should they need it.

One of the sources people use to determine a company’s trustworthiness is social media, but it’s the reviews, not the likes that sway them one way or the other.

Would you look at that, according to About.com’s The Trust Factor report, the overwhelming majority of folks say likes don’t matter. This is very interesting, because as much as I stand behind that concept, I have wondered about doing business with companies who are light on the Facebook likes. Are they light because they’re new and people haven’t found the page yet? Or are they light because no one actually likes them enough to click the button?

Now reviews are very concrete. Someone used the product or service and felt compelled to write about their experience. Good, bad, somewhere in between, it’s more info in the decision-making process. The folks in this survey also said that seeing a picture of someone using the product upped the trust factor (34%), a like from a friend was a factor in 33% of the cases, and 21% said they got a trust boost when they saw a picture Pinned on Pinterest.

Of all the trust factors listed in the report, accuracy (99%) and relevance (98%) took the top spots. I can see this. I’ve passed on buying items because the information on the page didn’t make sense or it conflicted with information elsewhere on the site. That’s something you can control. Double check those pages for accuracy and make sure you’re being as honest as you can be about the features and benefits of your product or service.

As for relevance, all you can do here is target your marketing. Sending me an email promoting bike tours of Europe is a waste of your time and mine. Now if you’ve got a mystery novel or a new DVD, I’m happy to learn more.

Once you make the sale, encourage happy customers to leave a review. I’ll admit, I’m very bad about doing this and I pledge to try harder going forward. Positive reviews are the best advertisements in the world, so make it easy for your customers to leave them on your web site, on Amazon, or Facebook.

If you’d like to read the full The Trust Factor Report, it’s free and it’s right here.