A recent research report from Knowledge Networks finds that “social media [is] hardly used for guidance on purchase decisions”.
According to the survey of 502 members of KnowledgePanel, while many people are using social media, they aren’t referring to it for purchase decisions, especially for travel.
I wonder about the mindset behind the questions asked. When I’m planning a holiday, I do internet research, yes, but I also ask the people I know for advice. If someone asked me whether I would turn to a site for advice, I’d probably say no, I turn to people. It just so happens that those people are on various sites, known as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
My friend Jake always reminds me to ask what the thought is behind any question. The thought behind this question seems to be, is social media an effective advertising channel to reach you, the consumer? The answer is no. Social media has been a disaster area for traditional, broadcast-style, one-way advertising.
But it is a great place to meet your customers, where they are. To meet them on an equal footing. To listen to their needs and get to know them better.
Maybe it’s best to think of social media as a place for PR rather than direct marketing. Building relationships and profile, and creating an atmosphere conducive to purchasing. It’s relatively simple once you understand the basics, it does take time, and it does pay off.