Word of Mouth Marketing: A Communication Revolution
Word of Mouth Marketing Went Online
When most people think of word of mouth marketing (WOM marketing), they imagine two people chatting excitedly passing referrals and recommendations back and forth on the golf course, lunch, or on the phone. But just as often, word of mouth marketing refers to the process by which companies gain web traffic, business referrals, and sales leads through social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and even YouTube.
Word of mouth marketing — recommendations and referrals from existing customers and others who have a positive impression of the brand — is crucial for all businesses.
When contemplating getting into social media marketing, or getting more seriously into social media marketing, many corporate decision-makers ask, “What’s the ROI?” A fair enough question to be certain, but I find it interesting that the “Will my investment pay off” question is not as frequently asked about the golf game, the client lunch or dinner, the happy hour, or any of the many other word-of-mouth marketing initiatives. And yet, social media has a much longer “shelf life” in terms of search engine optimization (SEO) and potential to gain access to a much wider audience than any of the standard WOM marketing efforts.
Company decision-makers want to know if their company is a fit for social media marketing.
They wonder if their clients are active on social media sites.
The answer is yes and yes.
In the past six years, we have experienced a communication revolution as social media sites ushered in a new age of mass communication, merging social media as both a marketing and communication platform. Rather than tell a couple of friends or colleagues about a new product or service, we can now share it on social media sites and tell all of our friends instead of just a few.
No matter what age group you seek to reach, social media has become the go-to platform for doing so. A recent AARP study indicated that approximately one-quarter of individuals surveyed (all of whom were over 50 years of age) use social media websites (27%) with Facebook being by far the most popular (23%).
It is human nature to be influenced by the opinions and actions of others, especially individuals we respect, which makes social media an important channel for businesses because this is where the conversations are occurring. The question should not be “will we have a return on our investment,” but rather “what is the most effective way to engage, so as to optimize our investment?” The answer to this lies in knowing the value your business brings to its audience and optimizing that by offering highly shareable content. Delivering highly shareable content requires a strategic approach to the message and its delivery.
Prior to the communication revolution, companies were restricted to marketing only to the contacts in their database. Now, valuable, educational, informative, and highly shareable content has an almost unlimited audience in the social media space. This is the one space in which “viral” is a good thing. Companies really wanting to extend their reach must offer content that its fans, followers, and friends will like, share, comment on, tweet, pin, or embed.
As a result of the communication revolution, companies are now talking to brand followers and friends, and their friends’ friends, and their friends’ friends’ friends. And, this is word-of-mouth marketing at its finest, but only the companies that have invested in social media marketing have the opportunity to optimize it.
Frozen Fire is a Dallas internet marketing and video production company that helps companies harness the most powerful aspect of modern marketing—the internet—to engage customers in memorable and meaningful ways. Ways that ignite sales and business growth. Contact us to learn how we can help your business.