Earlier in the week a friend forwarded on to me that silly one bad Twitter tweet post from last November claiming that a negative tweet about a brand causes it to lose 30 customers. I wish I had that kind of power because there are some companies out there I'd like to cause some major hurt! That same day I got another email that eventually sent me to this piece of research by the WOM experts at Keller Fay Group. I am embarrassed that I missed it given its ESOMAR award and its interesting perspective on WOM and social media. Key findings from the study:
- Ninety plus percent of word of mouth conversations take place offline with just seven percent online, and the overwhelming majority of those online conversations are either by email or IM, not blog posts.
- Offline conversations about brands are felt to me more credible and more likely to lead to purchase.
- Half of all online conversations about brands are among teenagers.
In truth, these estimates probably are even worse news for social media than they seem. The study was done in the US and online, so when you consider that about one in four Americans don't even use the Internet and the tendency for online respondents to be among the heaviest Internet users that seven percent starts to look like overkill.
I probably am more prone to embrace technology hype than the average guy, but this makes me think twice about just how soon social media will be the research bonanza we've been imagining.