Long gone are the golden days of advertising, when consumers accepted advertising as gospel.  Doctors promoting the health benefits of Camel cigarettes?  Of course! Moms elated to find a Hoover vacuums under their Christmas trees?  Obviously! And, pure and wholesome 7-Up for infants? No doubt about it!

However, that naïve gullibility has gone the way of landline phones, network-only television, and cursive writing.  In a 2017 Gallup poll, 34% of US adults surveyed rated the honesty and ethical standards of advertising practitioners as “low” or “very low” placing marketers just above members of Congress, car salespeople, and lobbyists.  Now, please excuse me while I go shower.  I feel dirty.

In contrast, according to Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising.  In response, strategic brands are embracing Word of Mouth Marketing –word of mouth referrals amplified through social media.

By implementing the strategies below, brands can not only get their audience talking, but can influence what is being said as well.  And, with 74% of consumers identifying word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions, it’s a conversation worth influencing.

Online Reviews

According to BrightLocal, 85% of people trust online reviews as much as they trust personal contacts and positive reviews make 73% of customers trust a business more.  Here are a few tips for securing business reviews.

  • Create an online profile on sites where people are likely to search for product or service information such as Yelp, Facebook, Google (Google My Business), Amazon, Better Business Bureau  and others.
  • Make it easy for people to post reviews by creating links to sites mentioned above by placing links on your website, social media, and email marketing.
  • Invite people to write a review at the end of their positive customer experience, after they’ve posted something positive on social media, or if they refer business your way.

Promote a unique hashtag

Create a specific hashtag (#) for your brand, product or special event and promote the hashtag on social media, in-store signage, catalogs, selfie stations and more.  By providing an official hashtag, you’re inviting people to post and ensuring that they do it uniformly for greater impact. To promote Fort Lauderdale tourism, photo opportunities around town were branded with #PlayLauderdale – resulting in more than 1,000 images of people having fun in Fort Lauderdale on Instagram alone.

Create Contests

Ask followers to submit reviews for a chance to be featured in a customer profile on your website or newsletter.  Alert followers to the fact that photos tagged with a specific hashtag will be considered for use in your next print ad. Ask followers to submit photos for cutest puppy, messiest desk, most glamorous holiday décor – something related to your brand. The opportunities are endless.  Just be sure contests are designed to achieve a goal such as collecting email addresses, website visits, newsletter subscriptions, or adding social media followers.

Encourage Reviews and User Generated Content (UGC)

Customers are likely to continue promoting your brand and encouraging others to do the same if they feel it is valued.  Let them know it is by sharing their positive reviews on your website or social media.  Repost their Instagram images and share their Facebook photos.  Create an incentive program offering a gift card or discount if a certain number of their photos are selected and reposted or shared to your page.

Provide a Product or Service that’s Shareworthy

Last, but certainly not least, create an experience that your customers can’t help but rave about.  If you don’t, your reviews are likely to be lackluster and user photos few and far between.   Make the experience your priority and positive word of mouth will occur organically. However, combine that experience with a clear plan to share it with others, and the sky’s the limit.

Need help taking your word of mouth marketing from a whisper to a scream?  Contact the brand professionals at Electrum Branding.