When it comes to word of mouth, it can be the rise or fall of a brand of business. As the saying goes, if someone has a great experience, they tell a few people. If they have a horrible experience, they tell everyone. Word of mouth can be very beneficial as an advertising or promotional technique as it can help to increase customers or followers. According to Brainly, 28% of people consider word of mouth an important marketing strategy. Word of mouth Marketing also known as WOMM, is extremely important to social media marketing. Word of mouth is very much how people grow their social media platforms. For example, you are following a celebrity and they post of add to their story a post from an organization that resonated with you as a consumer. You then share the message on your social media platform, and other follow suite. Likes and follows are essentially digital word of mouth marketing.
According to Forbes (Whitler, 2014), word of mouth marketing is also considered one of the most important forms of marketing as it is considered one of the most trusted forms of marketing meaning that consumers will buy more from your brand if you indeed leave a positive impact on a customer. By leaving a positive impact on a customer through a product or service, you essentially make them your cheerleader, mouthpiece, or free marketing outlet. It is one of the cheapest forms of marketing as it is usually free. For those looking to brand to a larger audience, many brands or organizations will team up with influencers or celebrities for sponsorships.
According to Neilson, 92 % ofconsumers believe and will buy from brands recommended by family members and friends over traditional forms of advertising. This includes print, billboard, radio, or digital marketing campaigns. According to a study done by American Marketing Association, 64% of senior executives agree that word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing a product or service, with roughly only 6% feeling as though they have mastered word of mouth marketing. Many brands struggle with fully taking advantage of word-of-mouth marketing due to them focusing more on “fanfare” such as follows, likes, and comments than engaging customers. All too often you see brands only engaging with customers or potential customers online by doing damage control. Some will use gimmicks or various contests to gain followers Once they get the followers, there is very little engagement and those thousands, or millions of followers become dormant.
In marketing, they use the three “E’s, engage, equip, empower. Organizations can engage by being a part of the conversation regarding your brand. Gifts and contests are wonderful, they can lure people to follow or try your product. However, once they have won a gift or prize, it is important that brand does everything it can to keep the consumer engaged. Many organizations have a team specifically designed to respond to posts regarding their brand. A great example of companies that are constantly responding to their followers is Nike. They engage with customers regarding customer service, product launches and campaign, to various other products under the Nike umbrella. Next it is important that a brand equips consumers. This means that brands are offering a service or product that gets and keeps consumers talking. This can be done by offering limited edition, innovative, or unique products. Offering impeccable customer service, industry insider information, and stories. Apple is infamous for producing innovative products that consistently stay ahead of the competition. They are also known to stay engaged through social customer service. Lastly, brands must empower their customers. Brands empower their customers by expressing to them how important they are through Retweets and adding comments and post to their Instagram stories and tagging the customer. This allows the conversation to be started among other customers by also showing appreciation to the customer to who took the time to express their satisfaction with the product or service the company has to offer. This can also be done by allowing customers to vote on what they want to see next from the brand. For example, M&M a few years back wanted to introduce a new color, they allowed the public to vote on the color that they wanted, the public spoke and M&M added blue. Frito Lays also does a similar campaign where they allow the public to vote on different flavors that they want to see with their chips. They will also produce for a limited time, the various flavors to vote on. Depending on the popularity amongst the public Frito Lays will include the popular flavor combinations into the mix.
Word of mouth is also by far one of the oldest forms of advertising as people have often only been able to communicate face to face. This was before newspapers, telephones, and radios. If word of mouth stays honest, as there is a trust factor amongst those you receive the information from that you care about. This can sometimes be a sticky situation for a brand if they are paying or “sponsoring” content for an influencer or celebrity. If an influencer says that they use a product they don’t truly use or the product comes back as harmful, brands and the celebrities or influencers they paid to promote their product can find themselves in hot water. In many cases, we have seen influencers bounce back and go on to work with other brands, meanwhile the first brand takes a while to get itself out of trouble. A good example is many reality TV stars promoting “detox” teas. Many of these teas have been shown to include harmful ingredients basically being extremely potent laxative, that if used over an extended period, can cause serious digestive issues. Therefore, it is very important for brands to be responsible when targeting specific influencers or celebrities to promote their products to a specific group of people. By brands staying transparent regarding their products and where they are sourcing their ingredients and materials from. Engaging them through innovative products and services, equipping them with information, and empowering them through giving them a voice, showing their appreciation, brands can stay ahead of the curve and continue growing the brand giving them longevity.
Whitler, K. A. (2014) Why Word of Mouth Marketing Is the Most Important Social Media. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kimberlywhitler/2014/07/17/why-word-of-mouth-marketing-is-the-most-important-social-media/?sh=2992f3b954a8