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Report Shows Social Networks Have a Huge Effect on Purchasing Decisions

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Think businesses can ignore Social Networks?  Think again!

A recent study conducted by Harris Interactive found that company or product reviews on social networks now hold as much influence as more traditional print media (newspapers/magazines).

According to the report:

“…what people say online about companies, brands and products matters. In fact, nearly half of Americans who use social media say reviews about a particular company, brand or product from friends or people they follow on social networking websites influence them either a great deal or a fair amount (45%) – the same number as Americans who say reviews in newspaper or magazine articles influence them (46%).”

The report goes on to explain that people sharing reviews on social networks do so with the specific intention of influencing others:

“Many people who express their preferences online do so with the intention of influencing others. Nearly two in five online adults (38%) say they aim to influence others when they express their opinions online, including nearly half of 18-34 year olds (45%). In fact, it seems 18-34 year olds are less hesitant to voice their opinions, as half (51%) say they feel like they can be brutally honest on the Internet, compared to two in five of both 45-54 year olds (41%) and those 55 and up (40%). Additionally, over two in five 18-34 year olds (44%) have used social media as an outlet to rant or rave about a company, brand or product-much more so than those 55 and up (16%).

So what do these findings mean to staffing and recruiting agencies?
To start, the need to continually monitor social networks is extremely important to maintaining your reputation.  For staffing and recruiting firms in particular, a few negative comments from unplaceable candidates could really hamper future recruiting efforts–especially in tight talent communities.   Likewise, positive reviews can dramatically enhance your recruiting and business development initiatives.

So where should you start?

  1. Consider setting up automatic alerts for your company name, your recruiters’ names, and even your competitors.  Google Alerts is a good starting point–and it’s free.
  2. Establish a presence on Facebook and Twitter and begin building a community filled with promoters.
  3. Strengthen your LinkedIn community and ask for recommendations.
  4. Pay attention to review sites like Yelp!
  5. Take advantage of both positive and negative comments you come across.  Even a negative comment can turn into a positive situation, if you reach out to the unhappy person and rectify the situation.  In many cases, those people will turn around and become your biggest promoters.

If you’re looking for other ways to monitor social network conversations and establish a stronger online reputation, just let me know.

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