Leveraging Word Of Mouth In the Digital Age

by | Feb 24, 2016

The other day my friend (we’ll call him Shawn) said he bought some plane tickets on an airline that shall remain nameless. Shawn said the experience was dreadful… the company’s e-Commerce experience kept annoying him with prompts for crazy things like trip insurance.

How unnerving is that?

He said the ticket price was pretty good, but only at the start. Every screen that loaded after he agreed to buy a ticket kept upping his price whenever he added any “extra” like an actual seat assignment or a carry-on bag (they did have complementary cabin pressure, though).

Shawn mentioned this in a Facebook post that found my news feed one day. He used a few maniacal looking emojis to enhance his point.

He was grumpy, and rightfully so. He didn’t have a bunch of money to shell out for a plane ticket, and felt stuck with a low cost solution. The low cost approach stripped Shawn of everything he was expecting in the experience, including his trust. While Shawn took his medicine this time around, he vowed to never fly this airline again.

He made quick work of telling his friends his cautionary tale through social media.

Welcome to the digital fencepost.

It’s tempting to dismiss Shawn’s rant as “social media.” It’s not. It’s a modernized form of a classic – word-of-mouth marketing.

A recent study from the media-measurement company Nielsen reported that 84 percent of consumers “completely, or somewhat, trust recommendations from family, colleagues, and friends about products.”

That’s a solid B.

Here are 3 tactics for putting these modern word-of-mouth insights into action for your business:

Tactic #1 – Listen

Use a software tool and set up news feeds that gather posts about your business, or keywords that are meaningful for your business. Find out what people are saying about your company, products, and the experience of doing business with you. If you’re not listening, you’re missing out on great feedback that can improve your business.

Tactic #2 – Testify

Encourage customers – when they are online and at your location – to write a review on Facebook and / or Google. In fact, give them a coupon when they do it. You talk yourself up all day and in every marketing material. Let someone else do it.

Tactic #3 – Share

When people say good things about your company or your products, share it (with permission, of course). Your customers – and potential customers – want that information. Don’t deprive them.

These are straightforward, and only a few ways you can leverage social media to build your business. What are you waiting for?

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