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BizReport : Social Marketing : February 11, 2010


Peers and friends no longer credible sources on social media

Are consumers still hanging on to every word their peers say on social media? Public relations firm Edelman recently released the findings of its 2010 Trust Barometer survey and many social marketers may find the results hard to swallow.

by Helen Leggatt

It looks like consumers are on to you, social marketers. They figured out you brainwashed their friends, peers and followers and are using them to channel marketing information to them. They believe every product review was written by an ex-Belkin employee and blogs posts are sanctioned by a sponsoring company's marketing department.

Ok, perhaps it's not quite that bad, or is it? According to Edelman's results the number of people who trust their friends to provide credible sources of information about a brand or product has taken a dive - dropping from 45% in 2008 to just 25% in 2010.

Consumers have also lost faith in socializing company employees - their credibility dropped from 31% in 2009 to 28% this year.

"Social networking used to be innocent, peer to peer conversation and now it's turned into a marketing playground in which almost everything -- blog space, tweets and, in some cases, opinion -- is for sale," writes ZDNet's Jennifer Leggio.

And don't consumers just know it.

Of course, mistrust of social marketing methods isn't the only reason behind the drop in trust. Other reasons for the decline could be:

- The sheer volume of recommendations being pushed, via friends and peers, to social networking feeds each day. Their importance is diluted by these numbers.

- Larger networks of friends that include people they don't really "know".

- The recession has made consumers more skeptical and they now tend to turn to experts rather than acquaintances.






Tags: consumer behavior, research, social marketing, social media, social networks, word-of-mouth








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