Getting customers to proudly voice their enthusiasm for you and to advocate your brand messaging is the art of word of mouth marketing. You can’t get people to share your message if you don’t give them the motivation and tools to tell their story to others. Social media, while an art form itself, is also a tool and a channel, for marketers to leverage the network affect of one-to-many and to broaden the reach of word of mouth marketing (WOMM) in a digital form. WOM and Social are often lumped together and confused – are they interchangeable or are their distinct differences?
Social media unleashes personal communication and interaction between consumers and businesses, and this interaction can reveal the personality of a brand which lends itself to traditional WOMM. Conversations that begin online can continue in person and recommendations spread more quickly. But you have to do this right, because as Gartner analyst Richard Fouts puts it in his Six Ways Digital Marketing Will Rock Your World “Today's interactive, conversational media demands more authenticity and more candor than the one-way conversations of old media.”
Social media can play a powerful role in boosting overall WOMM, and offers unique ways audiences can engage and share WOMM that differ from face-to-face conversations. To make social media and WOMM a dynamic duo, here are a few tips:
Give Customers Different Ways to Learn about You and Share Their Product Experience
Social media has become a picture economy in many ways, so look for ways to be visual and authentic in digital marketing. Share behind the scenes images of your brand that showcases the passion for your products and the people behind the logo. Encourage your customers to share photos and videos of their product experience and use this as marketing media. WOMM discussions will follow.
GoPro promotes its best user-submitted videos right on its main homepage that visitors can view and share socially.
Become Skilled in the Art of Soft Promotion
This is another tip from Gartner’s Richard Fouts. Take a look at how you communicate. Avoid leading with the words "we," "our," or the name of your business. Tee up conversations with the customer's perspective first, followed by your opinion and point of view. Hence, a good rule to follow using social media as a WOMM tool: customer first, you second.
Leverage Social Media to Identify and Organize Your Biggest Fans – Advocates
Advocates volunteer their unsolicited affinity for brands and businesses online. They also defend businesses they feel are unfairly reviewed or judged. Get to know them, and place them in a special formal digital advocacy program. Take control of advocacy marketing and start harnessing the positive content generated by your advocates in your marketing campaigns.
Red Envelope makes sharing a deal of the day simple, and includes social media messaging from advocates as its core content.
Go beyond Ratings and Reviews on Your Website with Engaging Social User Content
While product reviews are commonly used on individual product pages, adding company or service reviews at checkout can add a layer of confidence farther down the purchase funnel. Utilize your company pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to generate passionate, contagious, testimonials with the most visually compelling user generated content to entice shoppers – imagery and video – and place this content on your digital checkout counter.
Build In-Store and Online Experiences to Inspire Customer Chatter
Integrating your social user-generated content from advocates with your online ecommerce product pages or digital displays in-store provides compelling social proof where your buyers are buying. User-generated content from social media is unsolicited and often more emotive in nature, which inspires trust and a sense of community for people to engage with more freely.
WOMM and Social Media are not interchangeable, however, each can be a catalyst for the other, and when using them together, regardless of which comes first, results in a powerful combination.
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