Social Media and the Word of Mouth Marketing Evolution
Word of mouth is a reference to the passing of information from person to person. Originally the term referred specifically to oral communication, but now includes any type of human communication, such as face-to-face, telephone, email, text messages, or social media (Source).
The rise of social media has impacted how word of mouth communications are spread. Below we will share more details on social media and word of mouth marketing including social media’s impact on word of mouth of marketing, research statistics, 6 tips for using social media to increase word of mouth marketing, and a social media and word of mouth marketing infographic.
Social Media and Word of Mouth Evolution
What is one of the biggest impacts that social media has on word of mouth marketing? Speed. Word travels much faster than it used to. Which can be a positive thing or a potentially very negative and damaging thing for your brand.
Positive: social media allows you to create content that is easily and quickly shareable and allows quick communication between you and your customers. On the other hand, as quickly as positive information spreads about your brands, negative information can seem to travel even quicker (see #6 below)!
Social Media and WOMM Statistics
Social media influences word of mouth marketing, and vice versa. Consider these statistics (WOMMA):
- 81% of U.S. consumers are influenced by friend’s social media posts, compared to 78% for brands’ posts.
- 65% are more likely to return to a website that automatically welcomes them through social login.
- 78% consider buying based on positive recommendations from social networks.
- 72% of people navigate to a website after it’s mentioned by someone in their social network.
Social Media and Word of Mouth Marketing Working Together
Social media and word of mouth marketing, while different, can be used together to increase word of mouth communications and increase brand awareness. Below are 6 tips for using social media to accelerate your word of mouth marketing from Windmill Networking:
- Give people reasons to talk about you. You can’t spark word of mouth marketing without giving people reasons to talk about you, but social media can now make this easier than ever to accomplish by helping you directly engage with the public. Using the various social media platforms, ask a question, create an intriguing online event, or give away exciting freebies that can help start conversations with your followers. Conversations that are started online are continued offline, so have conversations and post information that would be deemed worthy of others to discuss.
- Provide targeted conversation starters through social ads. Through the micro-targeted advertising that can be done in social media through the likes of Facebook Ads (pun intended), we can now provide visuals and dialogue in a relevant way to spark conversations in social media that, if done right, can get people online and offline talking about your brand in an extremely targeted fashion. Remember, these ads are not about pushing your product but about starting a conversation!
- Create social media content that is begging to be shared. While tweets limit you to 140 characters, video as a type of social media content is of the most viral forms of media, so take advantage of this fact by creating YouTube videos that are begging to be shared. Here is one site that suggests a formula for the types of videos that have a better chance of becoming viral and sparking word of mouth. While social media posts are often personal, images and videos are often things that we want to share and experience with others, so take advantage of this to your brand’s benefit.
- Be sincere and find ways to improve your relationship with your customers. One reason why word of mouth is one of the most effective ways of marketing and advertising is because it’s honest. You have to make an effort to be sincere in your dealings with your followers. Don’t connect with them just for the sake of doing so, and as much as possible, try not to automate conversations. If you do need to use prescheduled responses or posts, make sure that you are also regularly monitoring social media so that you can answer your customers’ queries as soon as possible. Consumers feel so empowered by social media that sometimes a quick response from a big brand can spark word-of-mouth activities.
- Face your issues head-on. When something goes wrong, as something invariably does, don’t lie to your public or brush things under the proverbial rug, as this may anger your audiences even more. Take Chapstick, for example. An ad of a blond woman bending over to look for her lost Chapstick behind a couch has caused a stir on blogs and social media channels. Instead of properly addressing those who were offended, the company chose to delete negative comments about it on their Facebook page, which caused greater PR problems as the damaging remarks kept on coming with greater intensity. The moral of the story is, don’t shut your followers up or out. Be open about your issues, and prove to them that their concerns are being tackled quickly and accordingly. Word-of-mouth works as efficiently for you as it could against you.
- Continue engaging. Consistency is one of the keys for successful social media word of mouth marketing. It takes time to develop relationships offline, so it’s no different online. Keep the conversations going long past your online events or campaigns are over and keep your fans interested. This way, they know that they matter. Make them feel special and foster passionate brand advocates who will continue to recommend you to their friends both online and offline for a long time.
Social Media and Word of Mouth Infographic
An infographic from WOMMA and Column Five Media investigates word of mouth marketing, both online and off. Overall, it was found that the most influential element driving purchase decisions today is word of mouth. You can see the original post here.
Please let us know your thoughts on word of mouth and social in the comment box. And spread the word using the social bookmarking tools below!
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by Lindsay Brown
, Social Media
, Social Media Marketing
, Word of Mouth Marketing