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Using the Workplace Water Cooler to Sell Your Products and Services

June 29th, 2012 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

When we talk about social media, we talk a lot about people influencing their friends and families to make purchases or explore new brands. But if the results of a new study by Nielsen for Captivate Network are any indication, marketers may be overlooking a key word-of-mouth channel: the office.

According to the study, more than 83 percent of working adults trust their co-workers’ recommendations when considering purchasing a product or service.  In fact, respondents were significantly more likely to trust recommendations from a co-worker than they were from their own spouse or significant other.

Women age 35 to 49 were the most likely group to trust co-workers’ recommendations, and the most trusting group of all was affluent women. Nielsen found that these women discuss technology products and services more than 15 times a week, with 44 percent saying that most of these discussions take place at work.

Workplace influence has a trickle-down effect, with people being particularly swayed by the recommendations of peers or bosses. Respondents were less likely to be influenced by their subordinates’ opinions of products or services.

Of course, workplace purchases aren’t all that’s being discussed. Respondents in the survey, particularly affluent ones, say they give co-workers advice about personal products more often than they do their friends or family.

The white-collar employees Nielsen polled have a wide reach that extends beyond the people in the office. They average 113 LinkedIn connections, 84 Twitter followers and 288 Facebook friends.

Interestingly, affluent employees were more likely to be active on LinkedIn than the average employee; affluents had an average of 155 LinkedIn connections, substantially more than the average of 113 for all employees.

What do these results suggest about your marketing efforts? Consider using LinkedIn to spread awareness of your products and services, especially if you’re selling technology products or targeting women. LinkedIn users are more likely than Facebook users to be connecting with co-workers and sharing recommendations and suggestions with them.

Image by Flicker user pupismyname (Creative Commons)



The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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