With the holidays just around the corner, spending will increase and many consumers are turning to the Internet for help. According to a study by the digital marketing agency ODM Group, 74% of consumers rely on social networks to guide purchase decisions.

Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have allowed brands to effectively market to a wider audience. For consumers, these platforms allow easy access to brands, but also help to guide product decisions and purchases.

On Twitter, 53% of consumers recommend companies or products in their tweets. Of those, 48% follow through with the intent to buy that product or service.

The most effective platforms in terms of mobilizing consumers to talk about products are Facebook with 86%, followed by Twitter at 65%, blogs and reviews are tied at 55%, and videos come in last with 50%. Not only should you have a social presence on these platforms, but you should make sure to monitor closely for mentions of your brand or products.

In terms of listening, businesses use consumer insights in 80% of sales and merchandising decisions. As consumers increasingly turn to the Internet to research and review products, ODM Group believes that by 2014, 53% of total retail sales will be affected by the web.

While the facts aren’t necessarily surprising, the results act as a good reminder to not only understand your target users, but to implement better communication and customer support strategies across social media platforms.

[Via: All Twitter, Image credit: Peter Hilton]