Holiday spending is in full swing, and user of social media are more likely to spend money, recommend gift ideas to friends, and have more influence than those who aren't, according to a new study by social media and marketing firm "Mr. Youth."
It seems from the study that recommendations from friends and from brands on the social sites are about equally influential with users.
Eighty-six percent of social media users receive ideas from their friends for gift-giving, and 65% buy as a result of those suggestions.
The numbers are even higher when users interact directly with companies. If a user posts to a brand's page or Twitter account and gets a reply, 80% will buy based on that reply!
Yet, brands only respond to about half of the posts they receive. It is obvious that most businesses still do not understand how to use social media most effectively.
This is partly because most businesses are geared to traditional advertising. They do not realize the power of establishing a real connection with a customer through social media. When the customer posts to a company, and gets a reply, that customer feels important and valued. So it is no surpirse that a rsponse usually results in a sale. But when a customer posts and is ignored, the customer feels slighted, and will look elsewhere.
It is very important that modern businesses understand and embrace the new opportunities to interact with consumers that social media provides, and holiday spending is a clear sign of just how influential users at sites like Gather, Facebook, and Twitter are.