This chart from Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, written by analysts at Forrester, illustrates some interesting trends dealing with who people put their trust in when it comes to information about products and services. The data shows that people trust friends as information sources above traditional media and expert opinions. Experts are relied upon only slightly more (3% more) than the reviews of strangers on websites. Josh Bernoff gives some suggestions about what this might mean for your brand in his post Data chart of the week: who do people trust?, including a tip that there might already be reviews of your organization on websites such as Yelp and the Consumerist.
This trend of placing trust in one’s peers over industry experts is echoed by the Edelman Trust Barometer 2008:
“In Brazil, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the United States, “a person like me” is considered the most credible source of information about a company.”