Facebook and Twitter crucial in swaying buying decisions

Opinions expressed on social networking sites are becoming an increasingly important driver of consumers’ buying decisions, according to a LexisNexis report. The research firm says 60% of consumers have avoided a particular brand as a direct result of reading negative comments on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

According to the report, consumers are expressing opinions more readily online, with 57% saying they are more likely than last year to publish their opinions on the web. More than half say they would comment if they were unhappy with a product, and 62% would post positive comments. Two-thirds of those who shared negative feedback online say they have not had a response from the company they complained about.

"This represents a massive missed opportunity for companies and brands to engage with unhappy customers," says Bob De Laney, director of new business at LexisNexis UK. "It is clear that even if brands have their own online venues where customers can express views it is vital to track conversations and engage with people in the places where they choose to discuss products and services."