Building a strong brand presence is critical for businesses to thrive in the digital age. Numerous marketing strategies can propel you to success, but nothing beats word of mouth (WOM).
WOM is the most valuable form of marketing since it’s the one that consumers trust above all others. According to McKinsey & Company, word of mouth is more effective than paid advertising, resulting in five times more sales. In addition, a study organized by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association revealed that online and offline consumer recommendations drive $6 trillion in annual consumer spending.
This blog discusses how you can leverage word of mouth marketing to create a solid online presence for your business. So keep on reading, and we’ll touch on the following topics:
- What is word of mouth marketing, and how does it work
- Benefits of word of mouth marketing
- Word of mouth marketing best practices
What Is Word of Mouth Marketing and How It Works
Consumers are bombarded with an overwhelming number of product offerings every day. So naturally, to narrow down their options, shoppers turn to the people they trust the most for recommendations: their friends and family.
Traditionally, word of mouth marketing refers to the literal recommendations that spread from one person’s mouth to another. However, in the digital age, it has taken new forms. Modern word of mouth refers to marketing efforts to increase brand awareness and reputation organically, and naturally occurring instances where consumers voluntarily share their satisfaction with their purchase.
Today, modern word of mouth marketing examples are the following:
- Online reviews: These are comments made by customers about a product or service. They are found on review sites such as Google, Yelp and Facebook.
- Social mentions: This is when your customer shares their experience with your business on social media.
- Brand advocates: Customers who are often happy with your products and services become brand advocates. They are loyal to your business and willingly recommend you to their network.
- Employee advocates: Aside from customers, your workforce can be an essential asset in your word of mouth strategy. Satisfied employees recommend their company to their community, helping build brand awareness.
- Media coverage: The media can also generate word of mouth, creating a powerful buzz around your products or services.
Benefits of Word of Mouth Marketing
Having the right word of mouth marketing strategy helps minimize customer uncertainties surrounding your offerings. But aside from that, the following are some of the significant benefits of word of mouth marketing:
- Free advertising: The best part about the word of mouth marketing strategy is it’s free since it’s your satisfied customers who are doing the advertising organically.
- Enhance brand reputation: Customers-turned-advocates build brand awareness and reputation through word of mouth. Their advocacy and promotion of your brand result in a strong brand presence that inspires trust from prospects.
- Increase conversions: Ninety-two percent of consumers trust personal recommendations when faced with a buying decision.
Seasoned professionals who offer online reputation management services are the best people to handle your marketing strategies. They leverage their knowledge in what is word of mouth marketing to develop business reputation management strategies that drive conversions.
Effective Word of Mouth Strategies
Trust plays a significant role in the effectiveness of word of mouth marketing – people find it easier to trust friends and their personal experiences than to trust a business. A study by Convince & Convert revealed that 83 percent of Americans say they are more inclined to purchase after receiving a recommendation from a friend or family member.
So, how to increase brand awareness through a solid word of mouth marketing strategy? Here are some strategies you can employ:
Encourage User-Generated Content
User generated content (UGC) is excellent social proof since it puts your customers front and center. Because your marketing message comes from people, it comes across as more authentic and helps you establish a strong brand presence.
People trust UGC more. According to Olapic, 47 percent of millennials trust USG, while only 25 percent trust branded content.
No matter which social media platform you are focusing your marketing efforts on, always encourage your followers to post their experiences with your brand. Then, when you do get tagged, engage with the UGC and share it. This makes your customers feel seen, heard and appreciated.
Another simple answer to how to increase brand awareness through UGC is to leverage the power of hashtags. They are very effective on Twitter and Instagram and can quickly spread the word about your promotions for free. One of the best word of mouth marketing examples is Red Bull’s #PutACanOnIt campaign, which generated 10,000 original UGC images within a few months.
Social media experts can help you create UGC campaigns that provide the best outcomes. In addition, these specialists often work with reputation management consultants, providing you with a holistic approach to your brand reputation management methods.
Gather More Online Reviews
Customers read reviews when faced with a buying decision. Fan & Fuel reports that 94 percent of customers read online reviews before purchasing.
Given its importance to your bottom line, it makes sense to prioritize review generation to build brand awareness, enhance brand reputation and increase conversions. To maximize their visibility, don’t forget to showcase your best reviews and customer testimonials on your website and social media profiles.
Remember that review monitoring is a continuous process, and a dedicated team is required to ensure a steady stream of reviews. You can partner with brand reputation management experts for this. Professionals offering online reputation management services through review management are better equipped to handle your review monitoring methodologies. They utilize the latest online reputation management software that automates most of your review collection processes.
Focus on Employee Advocacy
Happy employees willingly act as spokespersons for their employer’s brand. Some word of mouth marketing examples on employee advocacy are as follows:
- An employee posting about a project they are working on through online channels.
- An employee recommending your products or services to their social circle.
- An employee posting images with company swag merchandise (T-shirts, mugs, caps, etc.)
- Employees share or repost company news and blog posts to their profiles.
You can create an employee advocacy program to inspire your personnel to become active advocates for your business. But for this plan to work, your team members need to feel good about their jobs. So encourage them to leave employee reviews on company review sites to understand how your workforce feels about the brand. Websites like Glassdoor allow users to leave anonymous comments, which enable employees to speak freely, knowing their identities are protected.
Consumers gravitate toward businesses that provide memorable customer experiences for those they trust, a.k.a friends and family. So focus on creating great experiences for each customer when developing your word of mouth marketing strategies.
Let Rize Reviews fuel your brand awareness and reputation campaigns. Our brand reputation management service makes the most word of mouth marketing by covering all bases, including review generation, response and monitoring. In addition, we make use of online reputation management software that allows you to monitor and restore your online reputation with little or no effort.
In addition to business reputation management, we also provide a social media follower growth service to help you build an engaged audience across various online communities.
If you’re wondering how to increase brand awareness and enhance brand reputation, get in touch with us today. You can reach our social media experts and reputation management consultants by calling 866-325-0303 or filling out our contact form.