August 9, 2011, 1:47 PM

Social networks serve as the water cooler for web purchases, especially electronics

A new report finds 50% of consumers are sharing product advice on social networks.

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A new study finds that 63% of online consumers discuss electronic products on social networks, 43% talk about apparel and 41% chat over appliances. Moreover, half of consumers said that they share product advice on social networks and 24% said they have made a purchase directly as a result of something posted on a social network.

The report, “S-Net: A Study in Social Media Usage & Behavior,” comes from ROI Research Inc. and was sponsored by marketing agency Performics, a division of Publicis Group. The report examined the behavior of 2,997 consumers who regularly use social networks to discuss such products as apparel, appliances, electronics, entertainment and travel.

The report found that 22% of shoppers have made an electronics purchase based on social media content. That compares to 17% for apparel, 13% for household goods and 12% for appliances.

That’s not surprising as 39% of consumers said they give advice about electronics, which outpaced all the other categories, including travel (32%), appliances (28%), entertainment (25%) and restaurants (23%).

The study also found:

● 32% of respondents have become fans of appliance brands and retailers to learn about new product announcements; 

● 42% follow electronics brands on social networking sites for coupons or discounts;

● 45% are fans of apparel brands and retailers because of their affinity for the company. 

“Social networkers crave participation with the companies or brands they Like or follow so it’s important to adopt performance marketing strategies that engage participants in every channel of your media mix—across all platforms, devices and screens,” according to the report. “However, because the desired involvement differs in each product category you must develop a social media strategy tailored specifically to your audience.”

The study used a 30-minute online survey to collect information from 2,997 U.S. respondents who access at least one social network regularly.

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