There has been a significant increase in the number of Canadians using social media for discussions about their favourite brands, according to word-of-mouth (WOM) research from Colloquy.
In a recent survey, 38% of Canadians said they're using social media to make brand recommendations. That's up from 28% when Colloquy asked the same question in a 2011 study of WOM consumer habits, representing a 36% jump in two years.
In previous WOM research, Colloquy coined the term 'WOM Champions' to describe the select group of consumers who are most loyal to, engaged with and willing to recommend brands.
The 2013 research shows that despite growth in brand recommendations on social media across the general public, the actual number of WOM Champions in Canada has decreased from 31% to 24% in 2011 among the general population.
However, the number of young adults classified as WOM Champions has remained steady, about one-third (32%) of the population, across the same time period.
In another key finding, just more than half (55%) of the general population believes that social networks are an appropriate way for brands to interact with customers. But that sentiment isn't uniform across all segments, as the latest study found that a much higher proportion (74%) of young adults (those aged 18-25) felt that social media communication by brands is appropriate.
"Brands that want to spread the digital word should engage WOM champions found in their loyalty programmes via social media," said Jeff Berry, Colloquy research director. "That will be done most effectively by focusing on young adults, who remain the largest segment of WOM champions, and the most open to that communication channel."