Almost 70% of online Americans say they visit blogs, online communities and social networks, according to the August/September 2008 Insight Report from MarketTools. One third of those use such social media sites to engage in product research before making a purchasing decision.
The latest report shows that the frequency of social media visits is increasing, as 42% of those surveyed saying they visit sites more now than they did six months ago.
Blogs, online communities and social networks have a direct impact on purchasing decisions, according to the report. Almost half (47%) of all respondents say that such sites have influenced their decision to purchase certain brands or services.
More than one-quarter (26%) of respondents changed their decision to buy after reading product information on a blog or online community.
“Our research sheds new light on just how ingrained blogs, communities and social networking sites have become in our daily lives,” said Beth Rounds, SVP of research solutions at MarketTools. “Insight into what drives consumers to buy, how to tailor content to different demographics, and even how to better engage with target consumers in these increasingly influential online forums, will all have a significant impact on organizations’ success and competitive advantage in the marketplace.”
Companies who use social media and online communities see improved customer satisfaction, improved reputations and better sales. Despite the benefits social media outlets have to offer, it’s a mystery why companies still avoid it.
Whether you’re doing it right or not, reports like these prove you must have a presence in social media to compete in the online world.