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Go Back to CURRENTS Social Networks Lose Trust

COMMON WISDOM in recent years has proven that social networking is an essential element of a company or brand’s online presence and marketing mix. However, as the scope of social networking broadens and becomes more commonplace, the danger exists that consumers can become jaded and less open to its infl uence. Now more than ever, it appears that a strong social networking approach must be just one part of a larger strategy. “T e events of the last 18 months have scarred people,”

said Richard Edelman, CEO and President of Edelman Public Relations, in an AdvertisingAge interview. “People have to see messages in diff erent places and from diff erent people. T at means experts, as well as peers or company employees. It’s a more skeptical time. So if companies are looking at peer-to-peer marketing as another arrow in the quiver, that’s good, but they need to understand it’s not a single-source solution. It’s a piece of the solution.” Recent reports by Edelman, for example, have shown

that consumers are trusting their peers less; only 25 percent now, as opposed to 45 percent in 2008. T at’s a drop of

nearly half in the past two years. Experts like Edelman are recommending varying forms of marketing reinforcement, specifying that consumers may need to see and hear things in as many as fi ve diff erent places before they trust it. It’s possible that the social networks themselves can be con- tributing to the decline in trust. For instance, with Face- book and Twit er permit ing people to connect with vast amounts of “friends” and acquaintances, the credibility of the network itself can be diluted. T e more acquaintances a person has, the less likely consumers may be to trust that person when making a purchase decision. Another possible reason is that consumers may be

get ing wise to the infl uence marketers have on these social networks. Blog posts and tweets are oſt en part of marketing messages, either directly or as a result of com- panies sending out products for review. Even in a third party review, there’s the possibility of the “reviewer” being swayed by having received a product as part of a market driven eff ort.

Free Shipping Crucial For Web Orders

AN OVERWHELMING 99 percent of small companies surveyed say that free shipping is an important factor in deciding on an online supplier, according to a recent poll commissioned by Staples. Almost half (46 percent) say that they could not operate if they had to pay shipping costs for their purchases. In other survey results, 86 percent of companies say they like online ordering because it saves time. However, only a quarter said they even possess a mobile device such as a smartphone, that can be used to place orders away from the offi ce. T e survey did not say how many of those device

owners actually use them to contact wholesalers and place orders online. However, small businesses that shop online

frequently (three or more times per month) are more than twice as likely to say that mobile capabilities are important, compared to those that place one to two orders online per month. T e survey covered a national random sample of 300 small businesses with 20 or fewer employees. Another recent survey of small business owners,

mostly asking about insurance, revealed that only two percent of the over 600 respondents don’t buy anything online. T at poll was conducted by Working Solo Inc., on behalf of TechInsurance Group. With the great majority of business people turning to the Internet for at least a portion of their purchasing needs, suppliers can at ract their dollars by off ering effi cient purchases and free shipping.

Find other great ideas for running your business at:–news 16 September 2010

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