J. Kelly Hoey

Sorry Brands, You’re Too Perfect for Social

Source: Getty Images

Blame it on being immersed in writing a book on the ways we build relationships in the digital age or being tossed in to a meeting with very capable marketers clinging to old world (aka pre-digital) notions on how people make purchasing decisions and engage with a brand, but I’ve got being social on the brain. I’m very firmly (and unscientifically) of the view that mobile, digital, social hasn’t made connecting with people more complicated, it’s just that these tools, together with all the data they collect and toss out, reveal how complex and multi-layered we are. And just how bad we are at engaging as people with other people.

Then you throw brands into the social media networking mix and the whole thing gets really awkward and uncomfortable.

Case in point — think about how we shop now. We research products on-line. We test our social graph by posting a question (“has anyone tried”) on Facebook. We count the number of Amazon stars and sort our choices by “most popular”. Fact is 68% of consumers trust online reviews from strangers more than a brand’s marketing (so much for shelling out for a full-page ad in the September issue). Yet, sponsored Tweets invade our Twitter conversations and freemium business models are now code for “the consumer will be bombarded by ads”. According to another survey, 77% of online shoppers use reviews to make a purchase decision. Let me repeat that: 77% use reviews (the stuff strangers write about your product). That is a lot of people reading the good, the indifferent and the negative about your product — not getting swayed by your glossy celebrity endorsement or promoted post.

And guess what? Those negative reviews you’re scared of? Negative reviews are no longer deterrents, flashing bold red warning signs — rather those reviews are a sign of authentic experience. Your product is validated as being “real”. Those product imperfections are just another data point to take into account as part of the purchase-making decision process…

Read more at Inc.com


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