A new study just released shows just how powerful the PR benefits of social media can be. Performics, a search marketing division of Rublicis Groupe, conducted a study of 3,000 U.S. consumers who regularly access at least one social network. The study looked at how different groups of consumers related to social networks each day, with a special emphasis on their purchasing behaviors around various types of products, and in comparison to other types of media channels. The study was compared to a previous study performed in October 2009.
More than 80% of the study participants had an active Facebook account, up from 71% in the previous study. Nearly a fourth of the people who don’t have one said they planned to join within a month. Almost 40% of the respondents who use Twitter said
that they respond to the tweets of other people at least once a week. YouTube mobile access has grown by 22% and Twitter mobile access by 15% since the previous study. These statistics clearly show that consumer use of social media sites is rapidly growing. And that growth is proving to be a significant boon to marketers and PR professionals.
Nearly half of the study participants said that they use Facebook as a place to find information about products and companies. More than 30% of them said that when they see an ad on a social networking site, they go to a search engine to find out more. And more than a third said that they typically follow their friends’ advice and suggestions if they are fans, followers, or “like” a particular product. More than half of the Twitter users in the study said that they regularly recommend products and/or companies in their tweets. In fact, almost half actually post links to ads for the products/companies, and about the same percentage end up buying the products.
As this study shows, social media is becoming a powerful force for turning awareness of products and services into action on the part of U.S. consumers. PR professionals who know how to capture that power will be able to share their brand with fans, who can then influence all of their online contacts, with just one click of the mouse.