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.