As Facebook moves toward its historic IPO, it’s time to take stock, if you’ll forgive the pun.
What is Facebook, really? Is it where the young and hip conduct their entire commercial as well as social lives? Or is it destined to be little more than the place where people share pictures of their grandchildren?
The truth lies somewhere in between. In any case, Forbes suggests that “Facebook May Not Be Enough For The Next Generation,” at least in terms of being guided in purchasing decisions:
With thousands of “friends” on Facebook and a constantly connected lifestyle, you’d think the Millennial generation would trust their friends above all else. However, when it comes to making purchase decisions, young people are more likely than older generations to trust complete strangers as much as their friends – and they strongly feel that companies should go beyond Facebook and Twitter to offer more ways for them to share opinions and experiences online.
According to a new report by Bazaarvoice and Kelton Research, Millennials are less likely to trust opinions from friends and family than Boomers (56% vs. 69%) when making buying choices, and more likely to seek out opinions from “those with most relevant experience” (44% vs. 31%). A majority (51%) say user-generated content written by strangers is more likely to influence their purchase decisions than recommendations from friends and family, while just 34% of Boomers say the same.
As they research and buy, most Millennials (84%) are comforted that they have access to the opinions and experiences of strangers, and a majority (64%) of Millennials believe that companies should continue to offer more ways for consumers to share their opinions online in the future.
Facebook Is Not Enough
By now, every marketer knows the universal truth about Millennials: They are social, connected, and want to be entertained and engaged – not “advertised at [or “to”].” But this research adds a new wrinkle to the Millennial marketing conundrum. Many CMOs have centered their Millennial-marketing programs on social media – launching Facebook and Twitter campaigns to connect with the “always-on” generation. But it turns out Millennials don’t necessarily use these social channels to research purchases, preferring instead to seek expert opinions from people who have direct experience with a brand or product.
Must give us pause, as we stride forth into the brave new world. Perhaps social media aren’t quite everything…
Of course, we did learn about the Forbes article through LinkedIn…