The importance of customer reviews and comments online and at social media sites can never be understated. You will ignore them at your immediate peril. Nothing, it has become clear, is a more powerful marketing and branding force online.
Recently, the Nielsen Company ventured out to 50 countries and spoke with 25,000 online and social media users and customers with respect to the impact that peer and stranger reviews and comments have on their purchasing decisions and their opinion of a particular brand.
While the results were rather startling, they were not wholly unexpected. Peer reviews and customer comments have been steadily gaining resonance and impact as both Gen Y and the Millennials both heavily depend on them for their decision making. These two generations have come to rely on social media reviews and comments concerning everything from which washing machine to buy to where the best place to get a latte might be. Peer opinion is huge for them.
If you have yet to notice this trend, now is the time to do so. The Nielsen report discovered that well over 90% of the people they spoke with explicitly trust views and recommendations made by peers and friends online and at social media platforms. In addition, over 70% of them admitted that they trust comments and reviews that are posted online.
- There has begun a huge shift in thinking with regard to all of this, especially at the retail level. Retailers may just be the ones most affected by these recent developments. Many pundits are even predicting the demise of the physical retail presence on Main Street and at the malls.
- Other marketing and social media guru’s are looking for a revolutionary shift in how social media and online comments and reviews can be used as big data for many companies especially the retailers. For instance, certain schools of thought see reviews and comments taking on more of a contextual nature. They see future comments as being no longer anonymous but actually linked back to a social media platform in which the reviewer is a member further allowing marketers to target and hone in on a demographic.
- Another movement could very well be the standardization of the online and social media review format. Now, each social media site, as well as company websites, have differing formats with regard to leaving a review or comment. The future could see a uniform situation from which immense amounts of marketing data will be gathered.
Those businesses that tend to pay little attention to their online and social media comments, or worse, simply ignore them, will soon feel the crunch of their bottom line being crumpled. Comments and reviews, especially the negative ones, must be addressed immediately and used to grow your brand and assure potential customers that their needs are foremost in your actions.