Social media gives the average American more control over brand reputations. Consumers can now impact businesses by publicly sharing opinions and directly interacting with brands through social media platforms.
Over 50% of Americans spend more than an hour each day on social media, and during this time, users find and share information about brands to make smart purchases.
Read on to discover how peer interactions on social media can influence a consumer’s intention to purchase from a brand.
What is Electronic Word of Mouth (eWOM) ?
The formal definition of Electronic Word of Mouth (eWOM) was developed by researchers Hennig-Thurau, Gwinner, Walsh and Gremler stating:
“Any positive or negative statement made by potential, actual, or former customers about a product or company, which is made available to a multitude of people and institutions via the Internet." (Journal of Interactive Marketing)
In other words, eWOM is a type of buzz marketing that relies on the online communication among peers to stir up conversation about a particular brand or product.
When you share a status to your newsfeed that you walked around the city in your new Steve Madden shoes without forming a blister, that is eWOM. Or when you message your Facebook group chat to tell your story about grabbing the last pair of sunglasses during Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale, that is also eWOM.
eWOM has developed into a vast digital landscape made up of 3 main components - online reviews, peer pressure, and influencer marketing - that have changed the way consumers think and talk about brands.
Print and commercial advertising was at one time the most effective marketing strategy for a product or brand. Now, consumers tend to distrust this industry, causing traditional advertising to lose much of its persuasive power.
Today, consumers turn to online reviews to receive honest communication, gathering real opinions from those who have shared their experience with a particular brand or product.
70 percent of consumers say they trust and are influenced by product reviews from peer communities on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram.
Take a look at this Facebook review for a New Jersey wedding venue, Il Tulipano. The review is descriptive and provides information about the staff and bridal attendant. Not only will potential customers see this 5-star review, but they will also notice how the brand responded, which further demonstrates excellent customer service.