38 surprising facts about trust in social media 8

Posted on September 29, 2013 by Rob Petersen



Trust in social media

While  trust in our government and CEO’s is declining, our trust in social media continue to increase and rapidly according to the Edelman Trust Barometer.

“Technique and technology are important, but adding trust is the issue of the decade” – Tom Peters

If trust continues to be added to social media, why?

Here are 38 surprising facts about trust in social media.

  1. 92% of consumers say they trust earned media, such as social media, word of mouth, recommendation from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising (source: Webbed Feet)
  2. 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations (source: Socialnomics)
  3. 85% of customers expect businesses to active in social media (source: Vocus)
  4. 83% of consumers say it would be important to read user-generated content before making a decision about banking or other financial services (source: Bazaar Voice)
  5. 82% of consumers trust a company more if they are involved with social media (source: Forbes)
  6.  77% of online shoppers use reviews to make purchase decision (source: Vocus)
  7.  77% of people like getting exclusive offers that they can redeem via Facebook. We assign more value to products that are less available.
  8. 77% of consumers said they are more likely to buy from a company if the CEO uses social media (source: Forbes)
  9. 77% of B2C companies and 43 percent of B2B companies acquired customers from Facebook. (source: Business2Community)
  10. 76% of social media users post vacation photos to their social networks (source: Webbed Feet)
  11. +75% increase occurred last year for trust in social media as it went from 8% to 14% as a trusted information source (source: Edelman Trust Barometer)
  12. 70% of global consumers say online consumer reviews are the second most trusted from of advertising (source: Webbed Feet)
  13. 69% of parents are “friends” with their children on social media (source: Socialnomics)
  14. 63% of people need to hear something three to five times before they believe it (souce: Edelman Trust Barometer)
  15. 57% of us respond that we “cannot trust” most people; 38% of us respond that we can trust most people (source: General Social Survey)
  16. 56 percent of customer tweets to companies are being ignored (source: Media Bistro)
  17.  56% of internet users do at least one of the creating or curating activities we studied and 32% of internet users do both creating and curating activities (source: Pew Internet)
  18. 55% of travelers “Liked”‘ Facebook pages specific to their destination (source: Webbed Feet)
  19. 55% more web visitors and 67% more leads come to companies that blog (source: Vocus)
  20. 53% of people on Twitter mention products and/or services in their tweets (source: Socialnomics
  21. 52% of Facebook users say their friends photos inspire their travel plans (source: Webbed Feet)
  22. 48% who use social media to research travel plans  stuck with their original plan (source: Webbed Feet)
  23. 46% of adult internet users post original photos or videos online that they themselves have created. We call them creators (source: Pew Internet)
  24. 40% of personal travelers and 46% business travelers use social networking to share travel experience (source: Bazaar Voice)
  25. 38% trust government officials; down from 52% in 2011 (source: Edelman Trust Barometer)
  26. 43% trust CEO’s; down from 50% in 2011 (source: Edelman Trust Barometer)
  27. 41% of adult internet users take photos or videos that they have found online and repost them on sites designed for sharing images with many people. We call them curators.
  28. 40% of Facebook users in our sample made a friend request, but 63% received at least one request (source: Pew Internet)
  29. 34% of bloggers post opinions about products & brands (source: Socialnomics)
  30. 34% of marketers have generated leads using Twitter (source: Huffington Post)
  31. 33% who use social media to research travel plans changed their hotel (source: Webbed Feet)
  32.  26 percent of retweets are incited by a request to retweet (source: Huffington Post)
  33. 25% of search results for the World’s Top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content (source: Socialnomics)
  34. 23 percent of Facebook’s users check their account 5 or more times daily. (source: Huffington Post)
  35. 14X is how often people on Facebook press the like button next to friends’ content, but they had their content “liked” an average of 20X (source: Pew Internet)
  36. Only 14% trust advertisements (source: Socialnomics)
  37. 12% of users tagged a friend in a photo, but 35% were themselves tagged in a photo (source: Pew Internet)
  38. 6% higher average order value occurs for consumer packaged goods brand for visitors who read reviews than visitors who don’t read reviews.

Richard Edelman says consumers are looking to have participatory conversations so it is critical for brands to be involved. And to understand that trust occurs through the kinds of conversations you have, rather than what you put in the conversation. Listen for yourself.

Do these facts explain why social media is increasing in building trust? Do they give you ideas on how to have better conversations with your consumers? Are you planning on using social media to build trust for your brand?

In 2012, 1 out of 2 companies will have a blog. 23 reasons it should be in your business plan 0

Posted on October 14, 2011 by Rob Petersen


One of the steadiest trends in social media is the company adoption rate for blogs. By 2012, 44% of companies (or roughly 1 out of 2) will have blogs.

Here are 23 reasons it should be in your business plan.


  • MORE WEB TRAFFIC:  55% of companies report more traffic to their website due to their blog (source: Hubspot)
  • HIGHER SEARCH RANK:  97% receive more links from other websites which is a primary factor for raising search rank. Google algorithms are more likely to recognize your company as an “Authority” and this is their primary criteria for determining search rank (source: Hubspot)
  • QUALITY LINKS:  Links from blogs are recognized as “quality” links by search engines and an integral part of any search programs by SEO experts (Source: SEOmoz)
  • COST EFFECTIVENESS:  In addition to high quality, links from blogs are cost efficient because they occur with just a comment on a blog and a reply back
  • KEYWORD IDENTIFICATION:  Keywords, especially in the headlines and first paragraphs of blogposts, send a signal to the search engine that content is continually being updated and the website is dynamic
  • GREATER SEARCH PRESENCE:  Companies with blogs report 434% more indexed pages in search engines (source: Hubspot)
  • EMAILS:  With very modest changes, a blog serves as an email.  This way, it reaches current prospects while the blog works as outreach
  • EBOOKS: Blogs around a common theme can be compiled into an ebook for downloading and lead generation
  • WEBINARS: The primary points in a blog, once outlined, can be turned into a webinar for interactive engagement
  • FACEBOOK POSTS: Key content in a blog can broken out as relevant Facebook posts
  • TWITTER “MICROBLOGS”:  One of the primary reasons for being with Twitter is to be a microblogging platform with the use of short links.
  • LINKEDIN STATUS: In your status box, people can learn more about you and your company
  • SHARE CONTENT: Want to build a relationship with an industry thought leaders? Acknowledge those who views you admire; share their content and ask if they’d share yours
  • GUEST POSTINGS: Ask an industry thought leader to post as a guest on your blog
  • TECHNORATI “AUTHORITY” SCORE: Technorati gives an “authority” score by blogs and posts. It is score from 0 to 1000 and it represents the number of links within the last six months. It’s a great way to find the bloggers most relevant to your category
  • COMPETE WEB TRAFFIC METRICS: Compete measures the web traffic of blogs. Its lets you let see trends for a year or longer
  • ALEXA MEASUREMENTS: Alexa let you see the audience demographics, keywords and the actual website that link into your website or blog
  • LISTEN TO CUSTOMERS: 75% of customers post comments on blog regarding product and customer services; 88% use blogs for research and browsing and 91% click through to a company’s website (source:
  • BUILD A DIRECT RELATIONSHIP: All it takes is a comment and a reply to take the next step and have a 1-to-1 relationship. People like to do business with people they know
  • SELL DIRECT: With an SSL certificate and a PayPal account, you can sell product and service directly from a blog
  • CUSTOMERS READ BLOGS: 75% read at least one a day (source: Sherpa)
  • BLOGS INFLUENCE PURCHASE DECISION: 75% say blogs effect purchase decisions, either somewhat or very much (source: Sherpa)
  • MOST TRUSTED SOCIAL MEDIA SOURCE: 64% of people trust the information from a blog. That is, if the blog is written by a person at the company. People like to do business with people they know (source: eMarketer)

Is a blog is your company’s  business plan for 2012? Any reason why not?

10 life lessons social media taught me about business a building and ROI 0

Posted on September 07, 2011 by Rob Petersen


Every business, big or small, turns to social media to save money versus other marketing channels. Since the costs are lower, many then expect the ROI (Return on Investment) to be higher.

The good news is these are realistic expectations. We see this for clients that range from Fortune 100 companies to smaller B2B companies.  But, unless you understand the principles at work and work at them, as with anything worth doing well, it’s probably not going to happen.

Here are 10 life lessons social media taught me about business a building and ROI.

  1. A BLOG CAN BE AS EFFECTIVE AS A WEBSITE (BUT COSTS LESS).  A website is essential for digital presence and branding. But did you know 95% of people never read more that 5 pages or visit for longer than 5 minutes? You may not need to build a website when a blog can do just as well. This website for BarnRaisers, an online marketing and social media solutions company, is a blog build on sweat equity. It’s been effective for lead generation. It’s helped secure new business and, best of all, it’s been our learning tool for WordPress, the website platform we use for all our clients, including an e-commerce brand with over 100 SKU’s. Plus, the frequency of blog postings steadily increased our search rank. Could we build a traditional website? Yes. Would we? Why.
  2. BY SHINING A LIGHT ON OTHERS, YOU ATTRACT ATTENTION TO YOURSELF:  It takes times to build an audience in social media, but less time if you acknowledge others.  For example, comment on others’ blogs and establish “links” that improve SEO; Re-Tweet the Tweets of those you admire and they are more likely to follow and Re-Tweet you.  The overall effect is you are seen as a person “in the know” and distinguish yourself as a giver in a world of takers.
  3. YOUR SOCIAL VOICE IS YOUR  VALUE PROPOSITION: A Value Proposition is a summary statement of why a consumer should buy a product or service from you. It is used to target customers who benefit most for what you are offering and appeal to their strongest decision-making drivers.  Companies pay the price when they veer off course and lose sight of their Value Proposition.  I could substitute the words, Social Voice, for Value Proposition in any of these sentences because it’s the same thing.
  4. PEOPLE LIKE TO DO BUSINESS WITH PEOPLE THEY KNOW: A simple truth about business and branding is familiarity is a big advantage.  It creates trust and minimizes risk.  Social media gives people the opportunity to know you, often before you even meet. Aren’t you more likely to open up to someone whose blog you’ve read or participated in a LinkedIn discussion? Isn’t it easier to have a conversation? The ROI of familiarity is it accelerates the buying cycle.
  5. CONSISTENT COMMUNICATIONS ARE BETTER THAN AN OCCASIONAL FLASH OF BRILLIANCE: Good content and frequent publishing are two important social media requirements.  You won’t get anywhere without them.  You can obsess all your want about what you write but you won’t make progress if you’re not publishing frequently.
  6. SOCIAL MEDIA ELIMINATES THE MIDDLEMAN:  Higher ROI’s occurs in social media because there are many low-cost widgets, apps and measurement tools, made for marketing purposes, that do the work of services that have traditionally cost a lot more.  For example, we are doing a sweepstakes for a terrific product, TortillaLand fresh, uncooked tortillas, from Circle Foods in San Diego.  TortillaLand tortillas cook in 60 seconds and taste like they were just made for you in a restaurant.  The brand is running a sweepstakes on Facebook, Win 3 iPads – 1 for you, 2 for friends, using the Wildfire app.  The prize costs more than all the marketing expenses combined.
  7. SOCIAL NETWORKS HAVE THEIR OWN PERSONALITIES, JUST LIKE THE PEOPLE WHO USE THEM: I can tell you about 6 businesses that have great results with Facebook and 6 businesses in the same category that have great results with Twitter.  What’s the difference? The people who do the posting. Some have a gift with 140 characters. Some like to post with a little show and tell. What’s the lesson? Find what works for you and stick with it.
  8. YOU’RE COMPANY IS NOT IN THE PRODUCT OR SERVICES BUSINESS; IT”S IN THE RELATIONSHIP BUSINESS: “The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer,” said Peter Drucker.  Pretty sound thinking because every company is in the customer satisfaction and relationship business. When you think about your company in these terms, social media has a role as a listening and engagement tool.
  9. YOU START A GLOBAL BUSINESS THE MOMENT YOU BEGIN: Social media attracts consumers from all over the world.  This may or may not be a priority but think about this.  For brands that do want to go global, it used to take years. Now, it happens the moment you begin.
  10. SOME OF THE MOST INSPIRING CASE STUDIES ARE BUSINESSES THAT TURN TO SOCIAL MEDIA AS THEIR LAST RESORT: This blog lists a good number of social media case studies.  We’ve written 67 Case Studies that Prove Social Media ROI and 34 Case Studies that Prove Social Media ROI.  We’ve found when the chip are down and no other marketing resources are available, social media has been the turning point.  Joe Sorge of Burger Joint, AJ Bombers, with no resources for traditional marketing, used Twitter as his customer service department.  It became a distinguishing feature of the restaurant and sales increased +60%within a year. When Mari Luangrath of Foiled Cupcakes opened for business, she could make the cupcakes on time but the website developer couldn’t deliver the website. With no Plan B, she launched her business on Facebook and Twitter instead and exceeded her business forecast by +600%. Today, 95% of her customers still come for these two social networks.

All of these lessons taught me only by jumping in and doing do you see results to inspire others. What do these lessons about social media and business building teach you?


9 facts with charts show how blogs drive sales 1

Posted on May 16, 2011 by Rob Petersen


blogs drive sales90% of purchase decisions begin online. Wouldn’t you like it to be someone you know?

That’s what blogs do. They help us to get to know someone better. Does it increase sales?

For people and companies that invest the time, the numbers are in your favor you will see significant results.  Need proof?  Here are 9 facts with charts that show how blogs drive sales.

1.  95% REPORT HIGHER SEARCH RANK:  Blogs can drive search rank with a bullet.  They are a dynamic way to:  1) Use the keywords consumers use to find you and 2) generate “links” from others who share similar interests as well as exchange your “links” by commenting on their blogs.  The value of “links” is they establish “authority” in your areas of expertise.  “Authority” is the primary criteria search engines use for rankings.

2.  75% OF US READ AT LEAST ONE BLOG A DAY:  Blogs are read with a great deal of frequency these days.  In fact, the great majority of us read at least one a day.

2.  70% SAY BLOGS INFLUENCE WHAT WE BUY:  Most of us respect information, advice and opinions we get from blogs to the point where it “somewhat” or “very much” affects our purchase decisions as this chart from Hubspot shows:

4.  55% OF COMPANIES WITH BLOGS DRIVE MORE VISITORS TO THEIR WEBSITES:  Traffic from blogs can go to websites and be captured by the search engines as web traffic.  There are a number of way to integrate your blog to your website.    From worst to best, they are: 1) Host on a unique domain through a solution like WordPress or on a sub-domain (these can be treated as unique from the primary domain by the engines) and 2) add as a sub-section of the primary domain (in a sub-folder or page – this is the best solution).  Regardless of how you do it, the numbers indicate you will drive more web traffic.

5.  45% TRACK ADDITIONAL REVENUE DUE TO THEIR BLOG:  Almost half of the people or companies who blog realize revenue from their blog.  This is reported as direct revenue from: 1) Consumers who first write comments and then turn into customers or clients, 2) prospects who find a company through the immediacy of a blogpost that speaks to them as opposed to numerous navigation tabs that don’t, 3) customer service issues that are addressed and resolved on blogs, 3) direct sales from blogs and 4) ad revenues for blogs that generate sufficient traffic.

6.  43% OF COMPANIES IN 2012 ARE USING BLOGS FOR MARKETING AND THE PERCENTAGE IS GROWING:  Trends show blogs are being used with increased frequency by almost half of all companies as a marketing tool. Is yours?

7.  36% INDICATE A BLOG IMPROVES CUSTOMER PERCEPTIONS:  People like to do business with people they know.  Blogs give businesses a human voice.  Maybe that’s why one of out every three companies notices a blog image perceptions with their customers.

8.  #1 SOCIAL CHANNEL FOR GAINING TRUST:  eMarketer says blogs are the most trusted source of information in social media.  They also point out, if is a company blog, the level of trust is greatly improved if the writer’s name is featured as opposed to the company name.

9.  BLOG CONTENT CAN BE RE-PURPOSED:  Blogs take time to write but the same information can be used to reach different audiences.  For example, a blog can also be used as an email because the former creates outreach while the latter speaks to current prospect.  The investments in time can do double duty.

For all of these points, the numbers would be 0 if it weren’t for blogs so all percentages represent incremental gains.

The sources for this post include: comScore,eMarketerHeidi Cohen, Hubspot, Nielsen, Penn Olson, SEOMoz and WebTrends with my thanks for their smart thinking.

Does this help show you how blogs drive sales?

An adman’s journey into social media marketing 0

Posted on May 09, 2011 by Rob Petersen

Sometimes, the best person to tell your story is someone else.  At a recent PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) speaking engagement, a reporter, Maggie Caldwell, from the Greenwich Post just outside New York was in the audience. 

She wrote this story about my journey from adland into social media marketing.  Thank you Maggie. 


By Maggie Caldwell, Hersam Acorn Newspapers

Small business owners of the world take note: If you are a Twitter contrarian or Facebook foe, you are likely diluting your business’s potential by ignoring a major customer base.

So says Rob Petersen, founding partner and president of Barnraisers, a Wilton-based online marketing solutions company that builds brands primarily using social media. A veteran ad man who has been at the front lines of the changing advertising field, Mr. Petersen discussed trends, tactics and best practices in social media before a group of PR professionals and small business owners at the Hyatt Regency in Old Greenwich last month. The luncheon was sponsored by the Public Relations Society of America’s Westchester/Fairfield chapter.

“Social media is a different kind of marketing channel. It is based on a conversation, not a monologue,” Mr. Petersen said. “People access the Internet so much more. The capability to access your friends for recommendations, rather than listening to an ad is just the way you do it now.”

The Internet has changed consumer behavior, he explained, citing statistics that 90% of purchasing decisions now begin on the Internet, 75% of consumers shop online before they buy at the store, and 85% of consumers look for independent reviews.

“Consumers are now in control,” he said.

Mr. Petersen’s own foray into the world of social media came after he saw ad sales plummet as the recession set in in 2008. He says he is no “techno geek” but started blogging for his own company about trends in advertising. He later taught himself how to use Facebook, Twitter and other social media programs.

“I did it because I was scared,” he said. “I had clients and then the worst recession since the Great Depression happened.”

Through the experience of keeping a blog, Mr. Petersen became a self-taught expert on social media. It changed his whole course of thinking about advertising as he began to recognize the potential of this new platform. He noted that the way people buy products, which had been the same for decades, was shifting. He saw that once consumers bought a product, they wanted to share it, leading to purchase reviews.

His blog on its own became such a success, Rutgers University offered Mr. Petersen a job teaching classes on social media and digital branding. The university is now one of the first to offer a social-media specific MBA program.

“Traditional marketing strategy boiled down to one thing: Shout it out!” Mr. Petersen said. “If you want to grow, shout it louder. Now it’s changed… People don’t buy the way they used to. Now let’s listen to what people are saying.”

At his Web site,, Mr. Petersen lists a number of case studies about companies successfully using social media to their benefit.

“Social media is the difference between launching with many millions of dollars, versus many millions of fans,” Mr. Petersen said paraphrasing Chris Bruzzo, vice president brand, content and online at Starbucks, which launched a highly successful social media program called “My Starbucks Idea,” where consumers invent and then vote on new drink offerings at the coffee chain giant.

Trust factor

One of the major components of social media is that it imbues the consumer with a sense of trust, Mr. Petersen said. He cited the case of Foiled Cupcakes, a company launched by a Chicago woman who started baking in her home kitchen and selling her cupcakes for delivery online. The business has no storefront and relies almost entirely on social media to get the word out about her services.

“The value is in trust, engagement and timely responses,” Mr. Petersen said. The company created a blog and set up Facebook and Twitter accounts and created its own community of followers.

“People like to do business with people they know,” he said. “Social media offers more than a phone number or e-mail address… it gives a face to a product.”

Another company that ran a hugely successful campaign online was Blendtec, a manufacturer of industrial blenders that was looking to expand from the B2B (business-to-business) market to reaching everyday consumers.

The company launched a video series entitled “Will it blend?” in which the company’s founder, Tom Dickson, blends all sorts of household items, from golf balls to stuffed animals to glow sticks. Two videos of him blending an iPhone and an iPad received more than 10 million views each on YouTube.

“Blendtec had a product that you had to see in action to understand how good it is, and he found a medium for it,” said Mr. Petersen. “This was a campaign that probably cost less than $20,000 and in turn, the company’s sales increased by 700%.”

Social media budget

After going over some case studies, Mr. Petersen said it might behoove business owners who are either Internet shy, or too busy, to create a social media budget.

“At the end of the day, it is a time equation,” he said. “When you bring someone on, you have to ask how much time do you require to do this, and what is the compensation.”

In looking for the right “social media marketer,” as he termed the profession, Mr. Petersen advised people to seek out a person who will embrace the business, who has an interest in what they are promoting, and who has a proven track record that they can amplify the message.

He said it takes time to draw people to a new Web site or Blog, but there are proven methods to grow an audience online. These include searching for other people who are writing on a topic that has to do with the business and commenting on their site, or inviting them to view your own.

“Use the social networks to say ‘I have a blog out,’” Mr. Petersen said.

The worst mistake someone entering the world of social media could make, however, is to build an audience and then just stop Tweeting, Blogging, or interacting.

“People will wonder what happened,” he said. “You must make a dedication to this. At least three to six months to start.”

  • About

    BarnRaisers builds brands with proven relationship principles and ROI. We are a full service digital marketing agency. Our expertise is strategy, search and data-driven results.

↑ Top