The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) published findings in 2014 indicating 13percent of commercial sales are driven by word of mouth both online or offline. Statistics, like this and others, point to word of mouth as the strongest form of recommendation. Thanks to social media, word of mouth recommendations spread like wildfire. “Being the talk of the town” can easily morph into “the talk of the state/region/country/globe/galaxy,” and if that talk is about your business and its positive (heck, it doesn’t even have to be positive…ever heard of cicada ice cream? Google it.), you can pretty much bank on a significant spike in sales from new customers. According to a word of mouth can increase marketing effectiveness by 54%.
|Source: Word of Mouth Marketing Association|
So how do you get people to talk about you? Besides the obvious, offer exception customer service and quality products, Suzanne Fanning, president of WOMMA, suggests identifying your influencers. Good news for your marketing budget, Fanning says “The most sought-after influencers used to be celebrities, before the days of social media. Now just about anyone can be an influencer, but the best may be the ones who find you, or your star supporters who actively engage [with your brand].”
Zach Fagan, with StoreYa.com, recommends converting customers into brand advocates by making them feel like insiders, “let them be the first to know about and try new products and services,” writes Fagan. “By making the insiders feel special, you will make them feel more connected on a personal level to your company, so that they will be not only willing, but excited to test out your product and write reviews.”
Knowing your influencers and creating a group of brand advocates is great, but don’t expect to see fireworks if you’re not putting yourself out there. There are plenty of avenues for sharing information, photos and videos about your product and services (many of them free, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest). Even if you’ve got an arsenal of social media accounts, make sure you understand what topics are of interest to your followers. If you don’t know, gauging your audience can be as easy as tracking responses to targeted questions, such as “Who’s got kids going back to school?” “Do you celebrate your pet’s birthday?” If you get a lot of responses from parents/grandparents with kids going back to school or followers who really love their pets, try posting messages that tailor to your audience. Here's some examples, “Make your child the teacher’s pet with a gift of chocolates from…” or “Did you know we handcraft pet-safe treats for your furry family members? The first person to share a photo of their pet will receive a gift certificate for a free doggie/kitty treat.”
Has your business been “the talk of the state/region/country/globe/galaxy?” If so, tell us about your experience and what triggered the conversation.