Infographic: Consumer Trust in Social Networks Up from Last Year

Facebook and Pinterest remain the most trusted social networks for product recommendations and shopping, according to the Social Recommendation Index released today by Social Media Link. But reviews are just as useful to consumers, as long as they are personal and include pros and cons instead of just a number or star rating.

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Facebook and Pinterest remain the most trusted social networks for product recommendations and shopping, according to the Social Recommendation Index released today by Social Media Link. But reviews are just as useful to consumers, as long as they are personal and include pros and cons instead of just a number or star rating. If the review comes from someone within a customer’s social network, all the better.

The average age of survey respondents was their mid 30s and they were 94 percent female. Some of the key findings:

  • 70 percent of respondents say they trust product reviews from people with whom they connect on Facebook and Instagram
  • Trust in Pinterest increased from 56 percent in 2013 to 64 percent in 2014
  • 69 percent of those surveyed trust online reviews for apparel and personal items
  • 53 percent say they use social networks to learn about new products
  • 62 percent follow fewer than ten brands on Instagram

And if you have a star rating system for your products, get rid of it. Social Media Link concluded that:

According to 93 percent of those surveyed, the most valuable reviews are those that contain personal stories.  Beyond that, a list of pros and cons were also considered valuable, and simple “star” ratings less so.  According to the respondents, special values and discounts motivate 60% to share information about a given brand.

Susan Frech, chief executive officer of Social Media Link, already has Valentine’s Day on the mind:

When everyone is looking for trusted information on the best chocolates, flowers and restaurant recommendations from social circles, Facebook will carry the most credibility.

Here are some of the results:

You can learn more about the survey’s methodology here.