While services such as Facebook can make a great movie and a good stock buy, at least so far, they can also be a way electronic systems contractors can connect with customers and potential clients, and a way to be “Liked.” On the other hand, there is the growing concern over the alleged manipulation of these sites, especially in reviews and so-called user ratings, and a growing business in restoring reputation by specialists when bad words are posted.

There is no doubt about the growth of social networks. According to a 2011 National Online Consumer Behavior study by CityGrid Media and conducted by Harris Interactive, the Facebook “Like” button is the new consumer preference to show support online for businesses. However, no single factor or source overwhelmingly influences the final choice, including highly-touted deals and discounts, according to the report.

With the popularity of the Facebook “Like” button, businesses don't need to broadcast their popularity to the world. Apparently a consumer approval on social media trumps other messages when people want to show their support for businesses, whether local, regional or national.

Leading ways that users show support are:

  • 75 percent of people tell their friends.
  • 20 percent say they "Like" a business on Facebook to show their support, compared with only 13 percent who write a review.
  • 40 percent of people under 35 "Like" a business; 49 percent in the 18-24 group, as compared to 18 percent who said they would write a review.
  • 25 percent of women hit the "Like" button, versus 11 percent who write reviews.