For all of the hoopla Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the rest of their social media ilk have generated in recent years, there’s another digital realm out there marketers would do well not to overlook—one that long predates Web 2.0 and shows no signs of abating in popularity.
I’m speaking, of course, about online forums. And if a newly released survey of 1,000 Americans by PostRelease and Synovate is to be believed, folks who contribute regular to online forums play a far greater role in “influential” activities (both of the online and real-world variety) than those who don’t.
Here’s the part marketers should be paying especially close attention to. According to the survey, people who use forums are:
• Three-and-a-half times more likely to recommend a purchase to someone else.
• Three-and-a-half times more likely to share links about new products.
• Four times more likely to post online ratings and reviews.
• Nearly twice as likely to share advice in the “real world” based on information they’ve read online.
By the way, just in case you’re wondering about the demographic make-up of forum contributors, here’s a sampling:
• Insofar as the gender breakdown goes, 23.5 percent of men said they contribute, compared to 15.7 percent of women.
• Participation definitely skews younger. A third of respondents aged 18-24 and a fourth of those aged 25-34 say they contribute to forums, compared with one in five overall.
• Parents are more likely to participate in forums than those without kids (26 percent versus 16.3 percent).