For hundreds and hundreds of years, Our civilization and species have made tremendous strides and progress of ideas through simple but still mysterious word of mouth marketing. We like to call this p2p marketing or AKA “peer to peer”. I mean, who doesn’t like hearing from a trustworthy and known source about a product or service they’re interested in trying or have heard of? While Google is also a great source, it will never come close to your old pal or mother.
As more and more companies look to boost their sales, awareness and reach through multiple marketing channels, there is so much to gain and win from developing a true word of mouth strategy. One way is creating a referral network but that, however, can be very difficult to scale, and really prove measurable progress. The great thing is that the world has discovered something very powerful, which is the power of social media marketing. If you live in the United States, chances are you have a Facebook account. If you own a business, chances are your customers are online and talking about your product and service. Here are our complete thoughts on how social media marketing is pretty much the new word of mouth.
We know in the business world, that trust is a very, very scarce commodity. Many people usually, due to the internet and the age of information are very skeptical of marketing because unless you’re a huge, 100-year-old brand, they don’t know who’s behind the product or service. Getting people to trust your brand is not a small feat. However, to convince your following and customers is to get them to start talking about your business online.
Here are three good tips we always recommend business owners implement in their internal marketing strategy/funnel.
- Encourage your customers and visitors to “check in” while eating at your restaurant. Your customer’s friends will see that they checked in on their feed. Talk about trust. This is a good way because people tend to go try new things after seeing a friend or family member try it first and talk about it.
- Ask your best customers to leave a review on your Google listing and your Facebook business page. This is huge! You should probably include Yelp if you’re a restaurant. People tend to trust the reviews of others, and you can bet the first person they ask is Google or Facebook for recommendations and reviews.
- Always respond to any reviews, so people can feel and see your brand actively caring about their feedback and customers. Even if it’s a negative one. Not replying can hurt your business even more.
Remember your friend or classmate was talking about those amazing tacos in Midtown? That conversation, Facebook status, tweets, and of course, the obligatory Instagram photo with the sepia filter. That may not have felt like marketing but trust us, it was. It was a seed of trust that was embedded in your mind, and the next time you want some authentic tacos, you’ll hit up that restaurant. This isn’t elusive to just food, but brands, and in emphasis to clothing brands. Why do people rave about The NorthFace and Patagonia as the number one mountain wear? It’s because they saw their friend and close circle purchase it and wear it for that weekend hike. Those converse? All the cool kids wear them at school, and that girl just uploaded a new look online from Fashion Nova. It’s much easier to go with the wave than against it. As an experiment, see who from your network is actively giving recommendations to local businesses.
In its epicenter, Facebook and social media, in general, is just a big city of people talking about everything from who they voted for, 500 cute cat GIFS, and who tweeted what. For businesses, this presents a huge opportunity for awareness and marketing. The conversations once restricted to a bar, coffee shop, and boutique is now out in the open. If those conversations include a positive review of your business, that effect will be amplified by recommendations and visits.
Facebooks data mining machine and feed algorithm keep us incredibly informed about our communities and circles behavior and engagement, so any love shown to a brand or business by someone we know will be broadcast to hundreds, if not thousands, of people that are probably local. The craziest and perhaps strangest thing is that all of this is quantifiable, and can be measured with data and analytics. A good agency can give you a monthly report on how your business is growing online. Now, there are advantages, and disadvantages with this direct strategy. Bad reviews and horror stories can happen. However, if you focus on that human connection and truly provide value to your customers, you can do it!
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