I wrote on Tuesday about the importance of reviews and word of mouth after a survey came out in support of email to communicate with the younger market out there. Lo and behold today has seen a study by Rubicon Consulting bestowing the virtue of reviews and word of mouth in your marketing campaigns. Some of the key findings of the study were:
- The Web is the #2 resource for customer support information, after user manuals. It ranks ahead of calling the manufacturer or asking a dealer.
- Website categories that get the most daily usage are search, social communities like MySpace and Facebook, general news websites like CNN.com and NYTimes.com, and online banking.
- The websites that Americans value most are (in order), Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Wikipedia, and Facebook. Although Yahoo’s financial challenges have generated a lot of press attention, it continues to have a very large and loyal following.
- Young people (age 22 and under) are much noisier online than their elders. They account for about half of all the content and comments posted online.
- Facebook appears to be ahead of MySpace in terms of number of users in the US, and perceived value of the site.
- Despite extensive publicity, the community sites SecondLife and Twitter reach only a few percent of US Internet users.
- Democrats are more active online than Republicans. Democrats are more likely to participate in online communities, and say they are more heavily influenced in their voting decisions by information they find online.
Of course to do well in these areas requires both an excellent product and a good deal of time and effort to liase with the communities in your industry. Unfortunately many marketers want a short cut when interacting with communities and cannot resist spamming at the first opportunity. The following steps are a good start for those wishing to use communities as part of their marketing strategy.
1) Lurk, work out how things are done.
2) Respond to posts, share knowledge.
3) Start posts on topics of interest.
4) Discuss with the admin/owner any way that you can help them.