Survey: How Businesses Can Use Online Communities

A recent research study from Rubicon Consulting found some very interesting facts and trends about how people use the Internet and online communities.  Especially important to note for a Hypnosis business is the first bullet point about the influence of online reviews and comments.

  • Online reviews and comments are second only to word-of-mouth when it comes to consumer buying decisions
  • The Web is the #2 resource for customer support information, after user
    manuals.  It ranks ahead of calling the manufacturer or asking a dealer.
  • Website categories that get the most daily usage are search, social
    communities such as MySpace and Facebook, general news websites like
    CNN.com and NYTimes.com, and online banking.
  • The websites that Americans value most are (in order), Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Wikipedia, and Facebook.
  • Although Yahoo’s financial challenges have generated a lot of press
    attention, it continues to have a very large and loyal following.
  • Young people (age 22 and under) account for about half of all the content and comments
    posted online.
  • Facebook appears to be ahead of MySpace in terms of number of users in the US, and perceived value of the site.
  • A person’s age makes a difference in the types of online
    information they are influenced by. However, across all age groups, the
    web has a significant influence on the purchase of consumer electronics.
  • About a quarter of web users say they have dated someone they first met online.

Key Point: Online information is important in the purchase-decision process, but the most influential information is user-generated.

This is just one of many studies showing the growing usage of the Internet.  You can no longer ignore marketing on the Internet or your business will suffer.

About the survey: In September of 2008, Rubicon Consulting’s
web strategy practice surveyed 3,036 web users age 13+ in the United
States. The survey was conducted online, using respondents sourced from
a national sampling company, and should be projectable to the US
web-using population, or about 75% of US residents.  The white paper, “Online Communities and Their Impact on Business: Ignore at Your
Peril,”
is free and available for download.

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