In this day and age, consumer created media is one of the strongest influencers in the buying decision. Consider these statistics:
- Consumer reviews are significantly more trusted — nearly 12 times more — than descriptions that come from manufacturers, according to a survey of U.S. mom Internet users by online video review site Expo. (eMarketer, February 2010)
- 44% of Moms use social media for brand/product recommendations; 73% trust online community recommendations. (BabyCenter LLC, July 2009)
That said many firms (and in particular in their legal departments) are simply afraid when contemplating encouraging just this sort of behavior … having consumers join and often lead discussions about the product.
Just as marketers leap for joy to learn a celebrity uses their product, caution is suggested when reposting from a major news outlet. As experienced social media executers get with the flow of their particular niche on Twitter, nervous managers advise everything be run by legal. Even worse, in a crisis, too many companies, unprepared, let the naysayers take hold of the message … as they see it and broadcast it across the web.
We are not advocating a reckless “anything goes” approach, especially for brands with significant equity. We do, of course, live in a litigious society. But by being too cautious one runs the risk of ignoring those moms who can be your biggest advocates and your best defense in a crisis situation.
So truly engaging the alpha moms, the influencers, the early adopters means letting them speak for your company. It’s not so far away from the traditional relationship that we’ve had with trusted media outlets … we shouldn’t be afraid.