Facebook “Likes” Overtaking Review Sites
Facebook has become one of the largest online social media websites, and is making a real impact in offline businesses. Although other restaurant, retail store and business review sites receive millions of monthly views, nothing compares to the use of the “Like” button on Facebook. The website only added the option a year ago, but the 2011 National Online Consumer Behavior survey held by CityGrid Media and Harris Polls shows that it is the top preferred way for customers to indicate their approval and support of a local business.
Deals and discounts utilizing the social media systems of the internet have made a lot of noise lately, but the study also showed that it wasn’t the only deciding factor that influenced a purchase or visit to a restaurant. Internet savvy shoppers do their homework and rely on a number of different review sites, group deal offers and other information sources to make informed choices.
While consumers preferred clicking the “Like” button on a business Facebook page over writing a review, few consumers are using these “Likes” to actually shop for products or services. A “Like” does indicate a fan, but it doesn’t offer the same in-depth information as a written review. A customer can highlight the quality of food of a restaurant while still criticizing the service, while the Like button just indicates general approval. Consumers may start their search by considering well “Liked” businesses, but they still check for positive written reviews before making a decision.
However, the old fashioned face to face recommendation still trumps all online review systems. 75% of people surveyed still tell their friends when they discover a good business, and nearly as many shoppers rely on a friend’s recommendation to find new restaurants or shops. While businesses should embrace new social media reviewing tools, they should also encourage and reward customers for word of mouth advertising.