Word-of-mouth marketing has long been a tried-and-tested strategy, one that brands have relied on to extend the reach of their products and customer base. It’s a great way to attract and retain customers, as people tend to trust the recommendations of people they know.
It’s safe to say that today, word of mouth marketing is as crucial as ever to a business’s success. However, changes in the digital landscape have allowed us to share recommendations and experiences through a more influential means—social media. Below, we talk about how social media has changed the world of word-of-mouth marketing so you can grow your business more effectively.
Traditional advertising & the birth of online communities
Social Media has changed the way consumers engage with marketing messages. With television ads, radio commercials, print advertisements, and billboards, businesses once relied heavily on one-way avenues to bombard consumers with their message. This impersonal delivery was not only expensive but difficult to quantify. If advertising was proving ineffective, it might have seemed reasonable to assume the reason was a lack of reach or saturation, tempting companies to double down on ineffective advertising rather than improving a failing message.
This all made advertising a very costly endeavour, one that small businesses with tighter budgets simply couldn’t afford. So how did these small businesses advertise? They simply offered products and services of high enough quality to make customers tell friends, family, and coworkers about them. This once happened over the water cooler, the bar, or the dinner table, but today it happens online as well, where a single positive post or glowing review can reach hundreds or even thousands of people.
The role of social media in word-of-mouth marketing
Word-of-mouth has grown from face-to-face interactions to social networking. Online platforms such as social media, blogs, forums, review sites, and other online communities became powerful avenues for audiences to share their thoughts on brands. This inevitably made marketing more viable for small businesses, who could reach large numbers of people for free. All it takes is a savvy understanding of your online audience and, as always, a product or service good enough to get people talking!
Collecting to connecting—Use social media to listen
While some brands have harnessed the power of social media by focusing on likes and page views, smart marketers understand that social media marketing requires a plan that goes beyond the shares. Rather, it requires connecting with your customers to gain deeper insight.
Businesses must know how to engage with their audience and utilise the benefits of a supportive network. Social media is a great platform to listen to what consumers are saying about your brand. When you pay attention to what people say about you, you become better equipped as a business to deliver better services, become proactive in providing solutions and gain a positive response in return.
It’s also important that your consumers know they are heard. Not every single person on the planet will like your brand. There will always be a negative response or review from time to time, but you can still use this to your advantage. Make every customer feel included in the conversation. Don’t just use your platform to inform. Use it as a channel to invite feedback about your brand and take advantage of these responses to improve your products or services. Reach out to those who gave negative feedback and ask what you can do better!
Keep it transparent and organic
In the online world, it’s easy to fabricate positive reviews that risk your credibility as a business. That is why it’s important to stay transparent with your customers so that you can obtain organic results while upholding the reputation of your business. You can do this by creating an official page for your company and scheduling events that will attract fans, involve customers, and cultivate positive experiences.
Round out your strategy with Bartercard
Clearly, word-of-mouth marketing has greater potential now than ever before. Through harnessing available tools, you can increase social connectivity to boost your brand, but why stop at Facebook? With Bartercard, you can become part of a large network of businesses that can introduce your brand to different markets. Bartercard provides B2B networking opportunities that allow you to connect and trade with thousands of active members online. Become a member today!