Whom do you trust? Friends the most, Bloggers the least?

Friends’ recommendation matter more than anything else, when it comes to consuming a service ! And blogger’s perspective? Doesn’t really matter a lot!

That’s really the precise findings from Forrester Research – i.e. 83% trust the word of a friend, 63% expert’s reviews and 60% consumer reviews on a review site.

forrester social media

What’s really interesting to note is that most of the users trust consumer reviews as much as experts reviews.

Why do people trust strangers?

They don’t, not as individuals. But they do in groups. Strangers are assumed not to have an axe to grind. If 100 people on eBags say a laptop bag is great, then it is great. If they say it’s inferior, then it is inferior. Regardless of what a so-called “expert” might say.- Josh

Herd mentality?Maybe, Yes.

And now, the bigger question – how do you plug consumer reviews for your product? How do you build community?

Another research firm Pollara points out (via Jeremy):

Of more than 1,100 adults polled in December, nearly 80% said they were very or somewhat more likely to consider buying products recommended by real-world friends and family, while only 23% reported being very or somewhat likely to consider a product pushed by “well-known bloggers.”

Any social media consultant will tell you to focus on influencer segments (i.e. bloggers), but essentially what’s really important is to seed conversation within a group (and no web2.0 consultant will teach you how to do that!).

Essentially, interactivity in product/feature set is what is really important to get the conversation going:

Few thoughts:

  • Design the product in a way that users get to interact with each other (and not just with the product),
  • Have pretty permalinks which can be distributed to friends.
  • Have a rating/review mechanism inside the product,

Back home, Indians too rely a lot on WoM, their friends instead of advertising etc.

Advertising in India: Whom to people trust?

  • WoM (i.e. Word of mouth) is the most trusted source: 87% users believe so.
  • Opinions expressed online : 73% trust them
  • Opnions expressed on brands’ Web sites : 72%, [More.. ]

So what should marketers do? How should they build communities? Are bloggers really an effective channel?

What’s your opinion?

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