Reading through the 2009 PowerReviews Social Media study with 117 online retailers*, it seems that Facebook and Customer Reviews are respectively the most popular and most effective social media tools for e-commerce. 86% of online retailers now have a Facebook page,65% have a twitter feed, and 55% publish customer reviews/have a blog) (click to enlarge chart).
In answering the question “Which community and social media tools do you believe would or do generate the greatest sales increases?” – Customer Reviews came out top – with 78% of online retailers placing such reviews as the most effective sales driver (good then that Power Reviews sells customer reviews software ;-)). Only 13% ranked Facebook page as most effective as a sales tool.
The study defined social media tools by example; “facebook, twitter, viral videos, customer reviews, customer Q&A, blogs, community forums, social listening tools and product suggestion boxes”.
Other top line findings of the survey:
1) Merchants’ and Brands’ greatest concerns about social media trends today are people’s ability to trash their products in front of a large audience (#1 concern), use of outdated marketing/ merchandising techniques (#2 concern), Customers inclination to leave their site to find a more socially-engaging site (#3 concern)
2) Merchants’ and Brands’ primary goals for using social media aside from increasing sales overwhelmingly include greater customer engagement (#1 goal), mobilizing advocates to drive “word of mouth” (#2 goal) , and increasing brand loyalty (#3 goal)
3) Today, social media tools are part of the customer experience and marketing mix for most merchants where 5 out of 10 tools have a 50%+ usage penetration including: Facebook Fan Page (86% of respondents), Twitter Publishing (65%), Customer Reviews (55%), Blogs (55%), Viral Videos (50%)
4) In the next 12 months, the highest growth in social media adoption is expected in: Facebook Connect (31% of respondents), Social Listening tools (31%), Customer Reviews (26%), Product Suggestions (26%)
The full study can be downloaded from PowerReviews here.
*See study for full breakdown of participants but in terms of size – 29% $20M or less / 23% $20-100M / 18% $100-500M / 9% $500M-1B / 21% $1B+