Who do you turn to when you want to know whether to pur­chase a prod­uct or ser­vice? Word of mouth mar­ket­ing extends far beyond face-to-face and phone con­ver­sa­tions to tex­ting, mes­sag­ing, social media and blog­ging. We are now the media to our audi­ence.

Peer rec­om­men­da­tions dri­ve sales. 70% of con­sumers said they were influ­enced by a friend or fam­i­ly member’s online rec­om­men­da­tion, beat­ing out in-per­son rec­om­men­da­tion (61%), online arti­cles (59%), ads (49%), or some­one they fol­low online but don’t know (32%)” ~ Bri­an Solis

How you use social media will depend on your par­tic­u­lar needs and focus, but there are sev­er­al ways in which you can get the word out on your brand. What makes word of mouth mar­ket­ing so pow­er­ful?

It is sim­ply a per­son rec­om­mend­ing your com­pa­ny to anoth­er per­son who could then becomes a poten­tial buy­er. For exam­ple, if their best friend says “use this busi­ness” most chances are they will and also share it with oth­ers online.

Word of mouth mar­ket­ing is con­sid­ered to be more trust­wor­thy than oth­er forms of mar­ket­ing as well as paid adver­tise­ments. It’s one rea­son why com­pa­nies love to get celebri­ties and influ­encers to pro­mote their prod­ucts and ser­vices. What’s more, it’s free. You don’t have to pay peo­ple to talk about your busi­ness — they’ll do this will­ing­ly. Social media helps you build up that loy­al­ty through authen­tic com­mu­ni­ca­tion and offer­ing high val­ue to your com­mu­ni­ty.

Here are some ben­e­fits of lever­ag­ing social media the right way to encour­age word of mouth rec­om­men­da­tions:

1 – New leads and customers

You’ll have access to a lot more peo­ple via var­i­ous social media net­works — this opens the doors to con­nect with many more peo­ple beyond your web­site. Once you cre­ate your spe­cif­ic strat­e­gy and focus on the right net­works for your niche, you’ll know how you’ll con­nect with new peo­ple and what your pur­pose will be. For instance — your goal could be to build more brand vis­i­bil­i­ty or to enter into a com­pet­i­tive mar­ket with your own orig­i­nal spin.

2 – Forge authentic relationships

One of the ben­e­fits of social media is to con­nect with your cur­rent cus­tomers on a more per­son­al lev­el rather than through a sales approach. It costs a lot less to keep a cus­tomer than to find a new one. These brand fol­low­ers are some of your biggest advo­cates, and engage in mar­ket­ing your com­pa­ny for you — for free.

3 – More brand recognition

Some­times social media is used to expand and build brand vis­i­bil­i­ty online. When you are active and involved in mul­ti­ple groups for your tar­get mar­ket on places like LinkedIn and Face­book, you’ll be able to for­mu­late a strat­e­gy that increas­es brand aware­ness through valu­able con­tent, feed­back, and help­ful videos and arti­cles.

4 – See what your competition is doing

Through care­ful research and obser­va­tion, you can emu­late what your com­peti­tors are doing and learn what needs are not being ful­filled for your tar­get mar­ket by them. For exam­ple, launch­ing a cam­paign about how you’ve always done xyz right. You nev­er need to bring up their name of course, but can take advan­tage of a trend­ing top­ic of inter­est.

5 – Reputation management

Whether you know it or not there is buzz about you and your busi­ness some­where out there. In fact, social media mea­sure­ment web­sites like Klout are even giv­ing your brand a score based on a pre­cise algo­rithm of fac­tors. A strong social media pres­ence allows you to have more con­trol over what is being said and even direct the entire con­ver­sa­tion. You can incor­po­rate var­i­ous social media mon­i­tor­ing tools and find out what your mar­ket is after.

Social media should nev­er be a sub­sti­tute for your web­site. You need great con­tent that offers use­ful and rel­e­vant infor­ma­tion as well as descrip­tions of your prod­ucts and ser­vices. Keep in mind that most peo­ple are using social media with their mobile devices and to grab their atten­tion right away with the right head­lines and visu­als.
Make your mes­sage and con­tent about your audi­ence, and about how you can best solve their prob­lems with­in your niche. The best way to encour­age peo­ple to spread the word about your busi­ness is to focus on what’s in it for them instead of out­ward pro­mo­tion as seen in tra­di­tion­al adver­tis­ing meth­ods.