April 25, 2018

Social Media Marketing: Changing Word of Mouth

Mary Wagner, Communications Manager

In a meeting with a client a few weeks ago, a statement came across our conversation: “Word of mouth was the thing years ago and now it’s not anymore.”

I sat there, processing what was just said by my client.

“Well,” I began to reply, “It may seem like it isn’t a thing anymore. But word of mouth is not obsolete. It’s still being used today. It’s just social media has more power now. And people share everything on social media.”

And after I said that, my mind thought about it more. Word of mouth isn’t necessarily defined by simply saying something in person anymore. It is now being translated across new platforms. Word of mouth can be found literally anywhere online. Reviews. Google. Twitter. Instagram. Facebook. Linkedin. Snapchat. Pinterest. You name it. You’ll find it.

But why use social media? Social media today can have a bad rap. It’s often seen as another “fun” application for millennials or simply a place to escape. Neither one is necessarily true.

Today, more and more businesses are being smart and utilizing social media as a tool to help boost their sales, interact with a broader audience, and gain an ROI. The majority of customers can be found online through at least one platform. By using more than one social media outlet, if not all, a business has a higher chance of reaching out and getting the attention of more potential clients.

If a business doesn’t adapt to the world’s newest trends, it will fail. The world is changing every day and it’s amazing how much social media alone has also changed.

According to the Business Dictionary, it is said that “Word of Mouth Marketing” is: “Oral or written recommendation by a satisfied customer to the prospective customers of a good or service. Considered to be the most effective form of promotion, it is also called word of mouth advertising which is incorrect because, by definition, advertising is a paid and non-personal communication.”

See, usually word of mouth online isn’t paid for. They are real people sharing real experiences, which is exactly what we do in person with our friends and family. Reviews can make or break a business. Likes, comments, and sharing online is a form of marketing, whether we know it or not.

A good example for word of mouth online is that people ask for recommendations on their Facebook statuses now.

But how do we get people to recommend your business? That’s where using social media as a tool comes in.

In order to be involved in the social media world, businesses create their own accounts on at least one platform and that’s simply the first step. To reach their target audiences, companies must play the social media game. Reply to comments, thank people for the great reviews/ratings, consistently post new photos of products and services, share links and videos as well as publicly demonstrate the customer service level and further enrich their relationship with their customers.

Did you know that by using social media, companies are humanized? People are attracted to businesses that are actively engaged in communities.

As Forbes mentions in one of their articles, “Every blog post, image, video, or comment you share is a chance for someone to react, and every reaction could lead to a site visit, and eventually a conversion. Not every interaction with your brand results in a conversion, but every positive interaction increases the likelihood of an eventual conversion. Even if your click-through rates are low, the sheer number of opportunities you have on social media is significant.”

And soon enough, word of mouth will follow. Word of mouth online can spread like wildfire on every platform. People tag their families and their friends. They’ll start commenting with things like: “Did you see what they posted today?” “I loved going there last week and I can’t wait to go again.” “It’s a buy one, get one free drink tonight if I mention their post! Come with me?”

There are so many benefits to having a social media account for businesses. It shows that they do care about their image and their customers. Being a part of the public network online opens up another doorway for customers to reach out and for companies to respond. It is not a one-way conversation anymore. It is one of the most effective and efficient way to actively market to your target audience and create brand awareness.

Are you aboard the social media marketing train?