Recent research conducted by YouGov for the Chartered Institute of Marketing, shows 25% of consumers claimed to have seen a fake online review, increased from 17% when the survey was last conducted in 2014. Also, 21% (up from 14% in 2014) of consumers say they have seen a brand incentivising customers to share positive comments on social media without making it clear to the users, with 16% saying that brands pay someone for promotion without payment being declared.
“This has led to consumers querying if what they are seeing is genuine. There is a growing awareness of certain practices out there, brands should be wary,” says CIM CEO Chris Daly.
Brands social media platforms are losing trust with consumers. 30% say they have little or no trust in the brand information they view on Facebook, 20% rise since 2014. The increase is matched across Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
Brands should be concerned as social media is a key source of information for consumers when making purchase decisions. When questioned by CIM, 62% of people said they now ‘Often’ or ‘occasionally’ use social media when deciding whether to make a purchase.
“Consumers are looking for reassurance on social media that the restaurant they have booked for a special occasion or laptop they are thinking of buying is the right choice.
“Creating a degree of transparency and honesty will make brands appear authentic and boost loyalty.” – Chris Daly, CEO, CIM
The Advertising Standards Authority has undertaken work to engage with, raise awareness of and produce advice and training to marketers. 52% of marketers have little or no understanding of regulations about marketing on social media,“We take a dim view of marketers who ignore the ad rules,” says an ASA spokesman. “They risk having their ad banned and the resulting negative publicity and damage to their brand and could land them in hot water with the CMA for potentially breaking the law.”
“With consumers increasingly expecting a two-way conversation, brands must be far more honest and authentic in trying to build that trust and engender customer loyalty,” says Daly. “Brands that try to cut corners or be disingenuous will be found out through social media.”
CIM has issued guidelines to help brands navigate social media. These include making sure marketers know the rules, are equipped with the right skills and knowledge, have a social media policy and talk about it with customers.
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