Is Social Media Marketing Word of Mouth Marketing?

Deborah Holland All Things WOMM 1 Comment

Some say social media marketing is digital word of mouth marketing. Others declare it's WOMM on steroids. Recently I read an article about social media strategy that cited research showing small businesses rated social media (48%) and word of mouth (45%) in the Top 10 tools they use for marketing.1 Although I'm glad the study reported so many businesses successfully use WOMM, it left me wondering why the two were separated.

Isn't any shared opinion or conversation about a brand word of mouth, regardless of the channel, platform or device?  Here's a simple diagnostic quiz that compares social media marketing and word of mouth marketing. You be the judge.

(Check the box if the answer is "Yes.")

  SOMM WOMM
Does it involve conversations about a brand, product or service?            
Are the conversations:
Peer to peer
Influencers to followers
Brands with consumers
Can it be paid, owned or earned?
Is it sharable?
Can it spread like wildfire or go viral?
Can it tell a story about a brand?
Is it genuine and trusted?

WOMMA is all about conversations. We'd like to get the conversation started around this question. For openers, here are some opinions:

"Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM). Isn't this really the original social media platform? I grew up with the famous Faberge commercial that showed a woman who 'told 2 friends' about the product and how 'they told 2 friends ... and so on ... and so on'. Hasn't WOM always been a powerful way to influence business results?
— Author Kimberly Whitler in Forbes magazine

"Social media marketing is a tool in the WOMM toolbox."
— Spike Jones, Vice Chair WOMMA Board

"Word of Mouth Marketing [is] a marketing method that relies on casual social interactions to promote a product. This method has been in place even before the advent of the Internet, and is widely touted as the most effective form of marketing. A person is more likely to believe something that comes from a person that he knows or respects, instead of a canned source like commercials and print ads ... word-of-mouth advertising has become even more powerful with the advent of online social networks."³
— Marketing Terms.com

What's YOUR opinion? Is social media marketing a form of word of mouth marketing? Please comment below to let us know what you think.

 

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1 http://www.waspbarcode.com/small-business-report

2 http://www.forbes.com/sites/kimberlywhitler/2014/07/17/why-word-of-mouth-marketing-is-the-most-important-social-media/#3f9d5ec57a77

3 http://www.marketingterms.com/dictionary/word_of_mouth_marketing/

Deborah Holland

About Deborah Holland

Deborah Holland is Executive Vice President at Publishers Clearing House, one of the nation’s largest multi-channel direct marketers of consumer products and services and a leading provider of digital play and win entertainment. She has extensive experience in direct/interactive marketing, creative, testing, analysis, multi-channel promotions, sweepstakes, and social media. Deborah serves as the 2016 WOMMA Board of Directors Chair.

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  1. Pingback: Word of Mouth Marketing Strategy, Benefits, Who Can Employ Word of Mouth Marketing, and Social Media and Word of Mouth Marketing - Know Facts

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