How Much Does Social Media Affect Buying Decisions?

How Much Does Social Media Affect Buying Decisions?

The research report (click on the pic above to access the full report) is very interesting and informative. While user-generated reviews have a strong impact on the decision making process, how they get to those reviews is a different story. Here’s an excerpt from the same report:

Where consumers start with their online research

The above chart seems pretty accurate to me. I generally start with Google no matter what I am researching. I know I am more likely to find user-generated content (also known as “organic”) in the search results. Often there are blogs and forum results (especially if you use the word “reviews” in the search request). Most of the time I ignore the manufacturer ‘reviews’ as well as any advertisements, which only have a 14% trust factor, generally speaking.

IF I think about it, I’ll ask my social network for their opinion. Usually that works well too, I just don’t always remember to ask.

So for an effective marketing plan, what’s the best course of action to take to maximize both aspects? Social and Search? I’m glad you asked. The simple answer for nearly every corporate social media effort is blogging.

Without getting too technical, blogs allow you to add 2 known “online visibility factors”: pages of content to your website, and backlinks. Google likes more pages, and backlinks (other sites linking to yours) gives your site more authority. Other sites will link to you if they feel your content is engaging and well-written. If you can solve problems for others (on your blog), your chance of engaging, lead conversion and customer acquisition increases over time. You future customer will appreciate your written efforts and recommend your content to others.

To add social to the mix, make sure to share at least some of your content to your social network. Most blogging platforms have that capability built right in to their system. If you have a newsletter already, it’s often a simple matter to re-purpose newsletter content into blog posts, saving time and money. To maximize your efforts, get a knowledgeable person to do long-tail keyword research and include those keywords into your content regularly. Over time you’ll see more and more results!

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