New word-of-mouth (WOM) research from COLLOQUY shows Americans are increasing their use of social media for discussions about favorite brands, while slowing down on face-to-face and phone conversations about product likes and dislikes.
Social media brand recommendations have grown 4 percent since COLLOQUY conducted survey research in 2011 on the WOM habits of U.S. consumers, while face-to-face recommendations have declined 4 percent in that time period.
COLLOQUY’s latest WOM insights are featured in a report titled “Hashtags, Tweets and Likes: Nurturing Digital Word-of-Mouth Engagement.” The report is authored by COLLOQUY Research Director Jeff Berry. COLLOQUY is the research arm of LoyaltyOne, a global provider of loyalty and marketing programs.
In previous WOM research, COLLOQUY coined the term “WOM Champions” to describe the select group of consumers who are most loyal to, engaged with and willing to recommend brands. In “Hashtags, Tweets and Likes,” Berry says WOM champions are driving the move to social media.
This particular group is almost twice as likely to recommend brands via digital channels compared to the general population, according to the 2013 research. In fact, six out of ten WOM Champions use social networking communities to recommend or discuss products and services, the latest research shows.
“Brands that want to spread the digital word should engage WOM champions found in their loyalty programs,” Berry said. “That will be done most effectively by focusing on young adults, women and Hispanics, the segments with the most WOM champions.”
Berry based his recommendation on COLLOQUY research results showing that among young adults who participate in loyalty programs, 40 percent are WOM Champions. Close behind are women at 38 percent and Hispanics at 37 percent.
In another key finding from “Hashtags, Tweets and Likes,” nearly half of the general population believes social networks are an inappropriate way for brands to interact with customers. But that sentiment isn't shared across the board. The research shows that 73 percent of the youth segment said it is appropriate.
COLLOQUY’s 2013 WOM study is based on a June 2013 survey conducted among a representative general population group and five other segments. The segments are affluent consumers, young adults, seniors, core women and Hispanics. Results are based on responses from 2980 U.S. survey participants.
(Photo by Jason Howie.)