The study by InSites Consulting, which asks people about real conversations rather than those on social media sites, shows that 90 per cent of ‘offline’ conversations about products and categories involve brands.
Evidently, the word of mouth factor is huge and the research also takes an interesting look into the types of conversations that are happening across categories as well as analysing the different types of influence consumers have in brand conversations.
However, advocacy on social media is just as important in word of mouth than those real conversations between people. The conversation aspect might be lessened when you are tweeting about a new phone or updating your Facebook status on a great brand you have come across as these could fail to get a discussion going but that content is still vital to brands.
What is important is the context of that advocacy online and what brands can get from that insight. In real time conversations between consumers if they pass on a bad experience about a brand this negativity stays with those consumers and could affect their purchasing decisions in the future without the brand knowing why.
Where as if a consumer shares a bad experience on social media, brands that monitor those channels have a chance to reply and possibly repair the damage.
There is also room for development in online advocacy, for example, a partnership between American Express and Twitter allows its customers to buy gift cards and products from Amazon, Sony, Xbox and Urban Zen using special hashtags. For those brands taking part it means extended reach through those associated hashtags.
Real conversations about brands and their products and services will remain a key word of mouth driver but social is where that word of mouth can be used for insight.