Consumers Find Social Media Increasingly Trustworthy

social media iconsWhere do you turn when you need a trustworthy source for information regarding financial matters?

Surely, publications like Barrons, The Wall Street Journal and Money all top your list. Maybe you also include Bloomberg, CNNMoney and CNBC, too.

But, would you ever consider looking for financial updates on your favorite social media platform?

Apparently, more and more consumers are doing just that, as they grow increasingly trusting of information they find on Twitter, Facebook and etc.

In a recent study from ING,  1,500 Dutch consumers were questioned regarding what impact, if any, social media has on their financial decisions.  Although the social media channel has certainly not replaced more traditional sources, the results revealed that consumers increasingly view their social networks as reputable sources of data, facts and current events.

Here’s how information gleaned from social media updates fared when compared with what people read on more established websites:

  • While more than half of the respondents stated they see updates on financial topics on news and newspaper websites at least once a week, a third indicated that they also come across such news just as frequently on platforms like Twitter or Facebook.
  • Four out of 10 of those surveyed felt that what they learned via social media was believable, compared with a little more than the six in 10 who felt the same way about other sites devoted to financial news.
  • Frequent users of social media indicated a higher level of confidence in the information they obtained from those platforms and were more receptive to social media messaging from financial institutions.
  • A generation gap exists. Younger respondents were nearly twice as likely to believe and/or react to economic scoops garnered from Facebook or Twitter posts than the older people surveyed.

“The role of social media is becoming increasingly important in the development of reputation and brand preference of organizations,” concluded Harold Reusken, specialist Social Media & PR, ING Netherlands. “Our study shows that the impact of traditional media with the emergence of social media is under pressure.”

Well . . . that might be over-stating these findings a bit.  But, the potential of social media as the new information super highways should certainly not be underestimated, and I definitely agree with Reusken when he adds, “The impact of traditional media drops sharply the more the consumer uses social media. This shift means that organizations will feel the need to invest more and more in new media in the near future.”

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