New research has found that almost half (46%) of consumers count on social media when making an online purchase.
The results from a YouGov survey of over 2,000 UK consumers suggest that word of mouth has translated seamlessly into online conversations.
This highlights the opportunities created for small businesses by social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. However, the study also revealed potential negative consequences of these social networks. Over half (55%) of under-35s said they use social media to vent about bad customer service, and 35% of all other age groups also do this.
To take advantage of the growing use of social media and to avoid negative backlash, small businesses must be in control of their social media channels at all times. They need to encourage positive conversation around their brand and should respond quickly to any complaints or queries from customers.