The research is in, and world of mouth referrals are the clear winner when it comes to brand recommendations that consumers trust. While only 10% of consumers trust the content of traditional advertising, 70% trust information about brands from friends and family. Savvy businesses are turning to social media to extend their word of mouth reach, but where do you go from there? Let’s look at a few tactics…
Quality Over Quantity
In the past, brands have largely focused on racking up huge numbers of fans, friends, followers, likes, and what have you. While these things are certainly important, social media experts have more recently found that engaging fans and creating a tight-knit community is more important than having a ton of brand acquaintances. Why? More and more, consumers are looking for a relationship with the businesses they buy from, and recognition that they’re an important part of making that business thrive.
Amplify Your Marketing
Social media can play a significant role in turning traditional advertising into word of mouth advertising. Let’s say you post a promotional video of some sort, whether it’s a standard commercial or an interview or whatever other content you might create. Coming from your business, that’s fairly traditional advertising. When a follower shares it, however, it picks up some of the credibility that comes with a friend’s recommendation.
Reach Out to Influencers
As I’ve talked about in the past, there are multiple types of people who extend your WOM reach. These are your “influencers” – the people most likely to share your content, talk about your business, and recommend your brand to others. Talk to them. Know of a blogger who reviews products similar to yours? Offer to send them a sample in exchange for a review. Is there a fan who’s particularly active in a community that’s relevant to your brand? Consider engaging them in a conversation. These are your mouths!
Maintain Your Integrity
Word of mouth is all about trust: someone who trusts your brand recommends it to someone who trust their judgment. In order to keep the WOM chain going, you have to be a business that people trust. It sounds simple, but social media is an easy place to totally amplify any unintentional gaffes you might make. Remember that word of mouth can go in the opposite direction, so while it’s important to humanize your brand through social media, there’s a fine line between human and unprofessional.
Focus on SEO
Often, the backchannel stuff gets left out of the word of mouth conversation, but being easy to find online is a huge part of making sure your social media profile and website get seen by the right people. Good social media SEO means that consumers who want to learn more about your business won’t be distracted by other companies who come up first in search rankings. Don’t forget to include keywords in your social media page and images, include your address and phone number for local SEO if you’re a brick-and-mortar business, and make it easy for followers to link to and share your content.
Create Awesome Content
Finally, you need a content marketing strategy. Simply put, no one is going to share your content if it isn’t share-worthy, and no one is going to read it if it isn’t interesting. Plus, informative and innovative content can help brand your business as a thought leader, building the trust and credibility you need to garner more word of mouth activity.
How is your business using social media to expand your word of mouth reach?
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