Of the Big Four, Facebook Is the Most Trusted Review Platform

This blog, written by Brittany Falconer, was originally featured on the Publicity Club of New England’s blog. Brittany is an account executive at Racepoint Group and served a guest blogger for the Pub Club.

I have to admit it seems weird typing “Facebook” and “Most Trusted” in the same statement, considering all the flack Facebook has received in the past when it comes to security settings (if I had a nickel for every time I saw one of those “legal notices” in my news feed…). But according to research from Social Media Link, it just might be true: over 10,000, people who are active in social media said when it comes to product and service recommendations, Facebook was the most trusted platform; over two thirds (68 percent) say they trust Facebook over Pinterest (56 percent), YouTube (51 percent) and Twitter (41 percent).

It doesn’t take an onslaught of reviews to sway people looking for a recommendation, either. For 77 percent of respondents, fewer than 10 reviews could sway them to make a purchase decision, but they need to be substantial ones. Personal stories carried the most value (44 percent), whereas a simple rating using the five-star system only hit home with 15 percent of those surveyed.

Who are folks listening to? No surprise, friends and family take the cake, having the greatest impact on 86 percent of respondents. Celebrities, on the other hand, only impact 11 percent of the pool. Tough luck for the likes of Heidi Klum, who has endorsed everything from Yoghurt Gums to Target.

What did surprise me was that 78 percent of review drivers came from positive experiences – a drastic change from when I learned in college that people were twice as likely to complain as they were to share good feedback. Maybe it’s because people love a good story. If that’s the case, we PR people are in luck, because it’s up to us to tell great stories.

But why Facebook? If I had to venture a guess, I’d say Facebook networks tend to have the highest volume of friends and family. Facebook users also have to mutually accept friendships, which suggests an inherent trust and familiarity of some sort from the start. Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube lean toward a subscriber model: you can pay attention to what other people are posting, but that doesn’t mean you’re in their news feed algorithms, too. When you post on Facebook, the people in your network are those you’ve accepted into your circle of friends – however big that circle may be. Chances are you hope they’re listening. So when you post that you’re looking for restaurant recommendations in the Back Bay and your foodie buddy who you know visits every hip restaurant in Boston makes a suggestion, chances are you’ll at least give it a consideration.

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