A new report from media agency Universal McCann reveals that consumers are more likely to trust recommendations from internet users when making purchasing decisions than they are to trust advertising.
This new wave of consumers is being coined as the "influence economy" where users of social media such as blogs, IM and social netowrking sites Facebook and MySpace are influencing consumers more than traditional advertising - so how do brands reach consumers if not through adveritisng?
Invest in exceptional product
Ultimately in a world driven by consumer opinion the main thing that matters is an exceptional product and service. Bad service will lead to bad brand in the influence economy.
Listen to the buzz
Use the tools of social media to see what people are saying about your brand and the latest trends – track blogs, Twitter and social networks.
Use the tools of social media to adopt a position of transparency. Give the staff a voice through blogs and create content to share in social media. Often companies and brands have some of the most interesting stories to tell.
Utilise social media as an advertising channel
Make your brand active in social networks, go to the places that consumers are and be part of the conversation.
Be more accessible
As consumers adopt an ever greater number of digital channels to communicate, so should products, services and brands. Make your communications and service across online, mobile and traditional outlets and media.
Tom Smith, head of consumer futures, EMEA at Universal McCann, said, “The influence economy is all about truth and transparency. Brands that live up to their marketing promises and deliver quality products will benefit from consumer recommendation. Marketers need to engage with this new platform if they are to ensure their brands thrive in the era of influence.
“Brands need to reach out to these creators as they will become the most powerful voices in the influence economy. The old media of expert commentators is being replaced by the consumer and anybody with an opinion and a computer can be part of it.”
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