Dutch consumers find social media increasingly trustworthy

Dutch consumers find social media increasingly trustworthy

In line with ING’s ambition to be at the forefront of developments in social media, ING is today presenting the study ‘Impact of social media 2012 (#SMING12)’ based on a survey among 1,500 Dutch consumers. The survey shows that consumers find social media increasingly trustworthy. 65% said they find the information posted on online media to be trustworthy. 40% of consumers find posts made on social media to be trustworthy.

ING has expanded its social media presence rapidly over the past years in its main markets, implementing monitoring tools and stepping up ING’s online interaction to bring the customers closer to its company. Social media are always considered to be very influential. But what impact does information posted on social media actually have on consumers and the reputations of companies? How trustworthy do consumers find this information?

Consumers still find information posted in traditional media such as television and newspapers to be the most reliable, but the impact of social media and online media is growing. According to ING’s study ‘Impact of Social Media (#sming12)’ for which 1,500 Dutch consumers were surveyed, no less than 65% of the respondents say they find the information posted to be trustworthy. The impact of traditional media drops sharply the more the consumer uses social media.

Traditional media vs. social media

The research shows that financial information posted on online media and social media has a large impact on consumers. The importance of social media is growing when it comes to the development of reputations and the brand preferences of organisations. The impact of traditional media and online media (including newspaper websites and news sites) on consumers currently still exceeds the impact of social media. It is worth noting, however, that information posted on social media changes opinions, preferences and behaviour more often than information appearing on traditional and online media. Even though traditional media are deemed to be trustworthier and to have a greater impact, this impact is under increasing pressure due to the growth of social media.

Reliability of online information deemed high

The study shows that 55% of the respondents are confronted with online information regarding the financial sector at least once a week. 65% of them said they find the announcements reliable. Newspaper websites and online news sites score high on trustworthiness at 77% and 71%, respectively. Posts on social media like Facebook and Twitter score much lower at 40%. More than a third of the consumers surveyed said they come across information about financial services on social media every week.

Information posted on social media increasingly leads to change in behaviour

The impact of information on financial services posted on social media is high and more often results in a change in consumer behaviour. Between one-fifth and a quarter of the respondents said posts on social media can alter their opinion about a financial institution, both in a positive and a negative way. More than 50% of consumers who use social media like Facebook on a daily basis said it confirms they chose the right bank. Some 40% of frequent Facebook users said information posted on this platform may even result in them switching banks. Posts on social media are remembered better and more often. A notable finding in the survey was that the impact of traditional media drops sharply the more the consumer uses social media.

Customers more trusting than non-customers

They study showed a difference between customers of a financial institution and consumers who are not customers when it comes to how trustworthy they believe the information they receive is. ING asked both customers and non-customers whether they think information provided by ING is trustworthy. The findings showed that ING customers were more trusting than non-customers, awarding average scores of 3.9 (on a scale of 1 to 7) and 3.6, respectively.

Young people most sensitive to social media
The study showed that young people are more sensitive to information posted on social media, with the impact on them being twice as high as the impact on older people. This could be a logical consequence of the fact that young people have embraced social media more. It is therefore expected that information posted on social media will become increasingly important to consumers in the future. The study revealed signs that the impact of traditional media increasingly declines as the impact and trustworthiness of social media and online media grow. This shift means that organisations will feel the need to invest more and more in new media in the near future.

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