How to capitalize on the power of social recommendations

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When our friends and family make a recommendation, we almost always check it out. "You've got to try this restaurant!" "When you go to Paris, you have to stay at this hotel!" "That movie is the best movie you'll see all year!"

We might not always agree with our friends and family on their recommendations, but admit it -- we're very tempted to look into recommendations from our connections, even if it is not something in which we'd normally be interested.

How to harness the power of social recommendations

Here is a scenario: I have too many electronic devices with too many power cords, and it's nearly impossible to keep track of them. I needed to find a product that would allow me to put all of my plugs and cords into a briefcase for commuting and traveling. But instead of doing a quick search on Google, I decided to take to Facebook to see what my friends recommended. Here's the resulting thread:

In total, I received over 28 recommendations from my friends. I settled on a winner, but it ended up being too big, so I went to another suggestion, which ended up working perfectly. I announced my decision on Facebook, and gave credit to the friend who made the recommendation:

When I shared the product that I bought, it actually led to an additional purchase from one of my friends. Social recommendations can set off a chain of purchases, all from a single piece of advice. And if you're a brand, you should be excited to capitalize on such a tremendous and powerful opportunity.

Let's look at a couple examples of brands using social recommendations in innovative ways.