Word of Mouth Marketing or WOMM is an age-old concept. Your turn your customers into your brand's marketing agents. The people who won’t stop gushing over your brand. It’s one of the most effective marketing tools out there.
Especially now with social media, in the picture.
Traditionally people only talked to their immediate family or friends in a day. But in today’s hyper-connected world, they can talk to hundreds of people in one day- through Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp and more.
The power of word-of-mouth advertising has strongly amplified over the last few years, thanks to social media. Now’s the time to invest in a social media word-of-mouth marketing strategy if you haven’t done so already.
Social Media Word-Of-Mouth Marketing For Small Businesses
Here’s how you can make Word-Of-Mouth Your BFF for a small business like yours:
The Brand Promise
You have the best advertisers in the world and your business will still not get off the ground if your product fails to meet customers’ expectation. What you advertise should be what you offer.
Remember Nintendo’s Virtual Boy?
Nintendo released its 3D game console in 1995, trying to bank on the virtual reality craze of Steven Spielberg’s movie, Ready Player One. The advertising promised an experience of virtual reality similar to one in the movie.
However, the technology hadn’t caught up to the Spielberg’s imagination. The console failed its advertising promise.
The result: Virtual Boy became a prime example of product failure. Nintendo had to discount the product within a year.
The first rule for word-of-mouth advertising is to fulfill your advertising promise. That’s pretty straightforward. Recommendations from others are still the most powerful advertising tool out there. According to the Nielson Global Online Consumer Survey, 90% of the people trust other people’s recommendations when it comes to trying a new product or service. But these recommendations will only come if your product fulfills its promise.
Great Customer Service
A brand’s perception is half product and half the experience your customer has been buying the product. Through exceptional customer service, brands can connect with the customer and create their most loyal fans for life. The rule of thumb is to treat your customers the way you want to be treated.
Make it easier for the customer to connect with you. Respond to their message at the earliest. Don’t keep them waiting. Service your loyal customers with something special or unexpected.
Here's how Tesla won hearts with its timely and personal customer service. Paul Franks, a Tesla customer, tweeted to Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, suggesting a product improvement. Musk responded to the tweet within 30 minutes promising to work on the improvement.
Needless to say, Musk's response generated a lot of positive love on Twitter.
Help Your Customers
Package your product or service with a seminar or a demonstration. If yours is a beauty product brand, do a live video on Facebook. Show your customers how they can take care of their skin in winters.
When you offer helpful advice and information to your customers, you establish yourself as the expert. Your followers start trusting you. They are more likely to do business with you and recommend your page or profile to family and friends.
That's what word-of-mouth marketing is all about.
Getting your customers to recommend you and call you an authority figure.
Martha Stewart has very cleverly incorporated this concept to better sell her products. On her Facebook Page, you’ll see Martha Stewart doing live shows, tutorials, recipes, AMA’s etc. Martha is already a household name when it comes to cooking and housekeeping. With her active social media presence, she has extended her reach and added to her brand persona.
Martha Stewart also uses her live videos to strategically sponsor products throughout the videos.
User-generated content or UGC has a higher social imprint. When people share their experience with a brand, it’s 28 percent higher engagement level when compared with the brand’s own posts. It’s also twice more likely to be shared.
When mommy, Laura Iz started instagramming her daughter Joey as various characters while sleeping, Netflix banked on the viral buzz and regrammed the above photo. It shows Joey as Eleven of Netflix’s popular original series, Stranger Things. When users upload posts regarding your company, you should be using that opportunity to extend your reach and build a strong brand image. This ensures both higher reach and higher engagement for the brand.
Your potential customer wants to hear what your existing or previous customer thinks about your business. 88 percent of the customers trust word-of-mouth advertising from the people they know or admire.
According to Matt Moog, CEO of Power Reviews, people are 65% more likely to purchase a product that has just one review compared to a product with no reviews. With sales of 2 trillion annually, online business is on the increase.
Much of this increase is on account of the trust created through user reviews and testimonials. That’s one reason for the massive success of Amazon. Even if consumers are buying from other websites, they check out the user reviews for the products on Amazon.
Firmo is making a good use of testimonials by enrolling bloggers and influencers to market its eye glasses. They offer eye wear to influencers with just one condition. Offer an honest testimonial for their products. By doing this, they establish trust among their customers and get influencers talking about their brand.
When you offer something for free, you are essentially giving your product a big boost. It creates a feeling of obligation in the receiver. He wants to return the favor. They usually do so with a positive review or referral. They talk 20% more about the product.
That’s word-of-mouth marketing right there.
Offer Discounts on Referrals
Referral Marketing is when you get your potential customer’s friends to sway them towards your product. Wouldn’t you want to watch a movie when your friends rave about it?
According to a Nielson report, your customers are four times more likely to buy a product when it’s recommended by a friend. By offering an incentive your referral, you basically make sure your customer's word-of-mouth marketing gets to the right people, in the right way.
A prime example of this is Airbnb. Airbnb started as a small startup from California in 2008. But the company is now known throughout the world for its innovative idea of subletting homes. But how did word about such a small startup get out?
Airbnb’s referral marketing is unique in the sense that it offers benefit to both the promoter and the receiver. Most people don’t feel comfortable becoming sales agents for a company in the fear that they might appear greedy.
So Airbnb came up with its gift referral program. When customers refer the website to a friend, both the friend and customer get $25 for referring. That way both benefit. Customers don’t feel that they are making money off their friends.
There was a time when people called customer service phone numbers to talk to the company representatives when they had a problem. They sometimes had to wait hours, even days, before they could reach the company. Those days are officially over.
Now customers expect brands to answer their queries and issues online on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media platform. To build a positive brand perception, you need to make your customers feel important. Listen to them. Make it easy for them to connect with you. Create a social profile on at least two social media platforms. Give your contact details where customers can easily reach you. And always remember to respond to them within hours.
Engage with Your Customers
Do you know what Wendy’s is famous for?
Hint: It’s not just their curly fries.
Wendy’s wit has become quite famous after some of their quirky replies on Twitter. Twitter users are actually trolling Wendy’s. That’s a prime example of customer engagement. You reply to your customers, even when they aren’t talking to you about business. It shows you are active and interested in maintaining good customer relationship.
They are not only entertaining their customers but showing them that they matter.
People know who our rivals are. We get tweeted about them daily. We figured if we’re all going to have beef, we should at least have fresh beef. https://t.co/lcGiRcaUCG
We have always talked about inviting influencers to your restaurant or spa. Keep influencers, journalist and other local celebrities in the loop. Inform them about latest products or services you are offering. Any new offers you have.
The best example of this is perhaps the Ice Bucket Challenge. Though it’s unclear who started the challenge, it soon went viral with celebrities over the world including Justin Beiber, Chris Pratt, Oprah Winfrey and many others taking on the challenge. People admire these celebrities and influencers. With them talking about your product, word-of-mouth marketing moves to a higher level.
Monitor Your Online Presence
After getting the word out about your business, the job doesn’t end here. You need to monitor what people are saying about your brand.
People are going to talk about your business. There will be some negative comments and hopefully a lot of positive ones.
Frequently search for your brand mentions on major social media platforms. Find out what people are saying about you. By keeping tabs on any conversation regarding your brand, you also get crucial insight about your customers. It can help businesses improve their products and services.
While it’s important to bank on your positive raves, it’s also crucial to address the negative reviews and comments. It helps mitigates the extent of the loss.
With so many products in the market, getting your product noticed can be quite difficult. But, with your customers cheering you on and supporting for your product, you can create a strong foothold in the market. That’s why as a small business, it’s crucial to make social media word-of-mouth marketing your best friend in promoting your business.
A referral program is a deliberate, systematic way of getting people to make referrals to your business. Referral programs are often called word-of-mouth marketing, because they reward existing customers for sharing and incentivize new customers to try out your brand.