Travel brands most at risk from user generated comments
Travel products and services was identified as the sector most at risk from negative comments on social networks, according to the 2007 Social Media for Brands Report commissioned by search conversion agency Tamar. (7/30/2007)
The report, which polled the views of a representative sample of 698 UK adults aged 18-35 (conducted online by YouGov), shares that in the case of travel brands almost six out of 10 (58 percent) acknowledged that negative comments would lead to them abandoning a purchase.
Six out of 10 British consumers would be willing to interact with a brand on social networks if offered the right incentives, discounts and special offers, according to the report. Consumers are more open to contact with brands through social networks than many may think, and more than half of us are willing to act as brand advocates through social networks, the company added.
However, brands must make sure when targeting consumers through social networks, that they approach them in the right way, as the report reveals that more than half would be put off from dealing with a company having seen negative comments on social networks. More than three quarters of social networkers actively commenting on brands The 2007 Social Media for Brands Report reveals that a massive 80 percent of people who use social networks have either chatted about, commented on or reviewed a brand or product on an online forum or social network.
The report also reveals that two thirds (66 percent) of 18-35 year olds in the UK are actively engaged in social networking and almost two in five (38 percent) are members of two or more online forums or social networking sites. There is a clear correlation between age and social network use, with usage figures increasing amongst younger age groups, peaking with eight out of ten 18-20 year olds actively engaged in social networking, according to Tamar.
Neil McCarthy, director, Tamar said, “The rapid growth of social networks and user generated content is shifting the online balance of power away from marketers towards the consumer, and the effectiveness of traditional online marketing channels is decreasing. With so many consumers actively commenting on brands through social networks, online reputation is becoming even more important. Social networks are a large and unregulated channel with a massive user base, through which brands could see their good reputation built through other channels, undone very quickly.”
“The first step is to understand how your brand is talked about in the social media space, and then decide what the best way of targeting a certain group of consumers is. The approach preferred by the consumer is clear: brand owners must look to ‘befriend’ consumers on social networks rather than advertise to them, and the best way for them to do this is by offering discounts and special offers.”