All marketers want to know how to connect with their consumer base. But with all the methods of communication out there, what works best? Is it through social media? Email campaigns? Sales promotions?
The most valuable identified form of marketing happens to be word of mouth. Above all others, this is the method that consumers trust the most. What’s more, it is most likely to drive sales for your company.
According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising. This statistic can apply to many different situations. Maybe you’re looking for a new car and are considering a Toyota. The first thing that comes to mind for most is to ask a friend or family member what they think of their Toyota before you find different makes and models.
The same principle applies to the best restaurants, contractors, vacation spots, things to do, and more. If your friend loved the appetizers and said the cocktails were delightful at a restaurant, wouldn’t you want to go check it out?
Technology Amplifies Word of Mouth
Word of mouth has been around since humans have been able to communicate with each other. However, technology has increased social connectivity many times over. It is now easier than ever for consumers to do your marketing for you.
Hundreds will see a post that takes just a few minutes for a fan to write about your product of friends who trust them, and it has the potential to be seen by thousands more. These fans promote straight to their network, whether in person or on social media, which makes word of mouth cost-effective and highly valuable. It spreads like a web, expanding to the networks of friends, friends, and others.
According to Suzanne Fanning, President of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), a good word of mouth strategy is credible, social, repeatable, measurable, and respectful.
Spurring Word of Mouth Consumer Engagement
An event experienced by the customer usually triggers word of mouth. Whether it’s a fantastic customer service or a gift with purchase, unique experiences set your brand apart from the competition and keep you top of mind.
Stop collecting and start connecting. This fundamental guideline for a strong word-of-mouth marketing strategy hinges upon the fact that your followers and fans are not only present but also are engaged.
Though some brands have dizzying numbers of social media followers, many do not take the next step in becoming active and engaging with their community. This fact could mean many different things. A brand could provide valuable information about new updates, respond to comments and questions, or share some of their audience’s user-generated content.
A particular brand that does a great job of Word of Mouth Marketing is Nintendo. We will use the smash Nintendo Switch hit, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, as an example. Through gaming communities, brands have the opportunity to connect with their most engaged and loyal customers.
For example, this Facebook group has more than 310k members, most of whom are actively discussing trading rare items, visiting each other’s islands, and which villagers they like the best. This group is precisely the kind of engaged community with whom marketers want to get in contact.
Nintendo uses the Twitter handle @animalcrossing to release information about the game and updates. They do so posting as one of the characters in the game, a dog named Isabelle who runs town hall. The posts get thousands of likes, retweets, and comments and keep them engaged by letting them know about bonus items and more.
By creating an active online community, Nintendo has created hundreds of thousands of advocates. These advocates speak up for their platform, the Nintendo Switch, and the Animal Crossing: New Horizons game.
Building Brand Advocates
You can build word-of-mouth advertising in many ways. One of the most reliable methods is by getting positive customer reviews.
According to Qualtrics, approximately 97% of consumers read reviews before deciding whether to visit a business. What’s more, 90% of respondents who recalled reading online reviews claimed that positive reviews influenced their buying decisions. Similarly, 86% of consumers said negative reviews impacted their decisions.
Reviews are the new word of mouth marketing, with consumers trusting strangers to evaluate a product. Positive reviews help build your brand’s social proof and boost your online reputation. Both are terrific ways to gain exposure and get even more people talking about you.
The definition of Word of Mouth marketing has expanded in recent years from a simple conversation between two people to a vast network of online reviews. However, there is still not a more effective marketing strategy than word of mouth.
To discover how to effectively measure your word of mouth engagement on online channels, get in contact with our team of social listening experts.