Word of mouth marketing is one of the most valuable business marketing tools your business can invest in. The cost is minimal and the returns are generally higher than any other form of marketing. It is easy to set up, automate and even control. Most businesses actually rely on word of mouth marketing but don’t pay enough attention to how they could optimise the performance of reviews, testimonials, social media and other word of mouth marketing channels.
One of the most popular word of mouth strategies used today is influencer marketing. When a known personality promotes your brand on social media, it can transform your brand recognition from hundreds to thousands in moments.
When influencer advertising was first introduced to platforms such as YouTube and Instagram, there were no rules that required influencers to reveal if their endorsement of a brand was paid or organic. This has changed, and marketers have been far more creative about ways in which they get their brand name in the mouth of desired influencers. While influencers might have to give a disclaimer that a product was sent free, or that they are doing a paid demonstration, it doesn’t seem to have affected the mindset of consumers, particularly in the younger demographic, who will follow, like or buy anything their influencer of choice promotes.
WOM among influencers
People with a strong social media following and who use platforms to promote brands are known as influencers. These people can be famous, such as a singer or actress, while others might be people who post to share their skills, talk about things they think are interesting or relevant or simply to engage with other people often sharing images of themselves. Many of these people hold a lot of sway with their audiences.
Research from Twitter and Annalect shows that 49% of people say they rely on recommendations from influencers when making purchase decisions. Having an influencer talk or demonstrate a product or service by your brand can have a major impact not only on your brand recognition but also on your sales.
Depending on your product or service, your business values and your audience, you would choose your influencer and types of marketing differently. For example, a makeup brand might choose a young model who is new to the industry plus a handful of well-known online influencers using their makeup to demonstrate a product, such as yellow mascara. The influencers would have a very specific audience, as would your product, so choosing someone who fits with your ideal customer persona is the first place to start. You can then choose a few different ways to approach influencers.
One of the easiest ways to start a word of mouth campaign is by paying the influencer to talk about your product or service. They must disclose that it is a paid endorsement, but many of the influencer’s followers will still view it as honest feedback because they cannot imagine their influencer accepting a paid job for something they didn’t believe in.
Paid endorsements are a good way to control the conversation. As you are paying for the influencer to advertise your brand, you can also give them a script or demand that they remove anything you do not like from the conversation. While the conversation will not be organic, it is still a form of word of mouth advertising that is highly effective because influencers often have a much more trusted voice than paid advertising.
Again, you are paying for the influencer to promote your product by sending a free sample. Influencers have to disclose that you sent a product or service for free and you will not have control over the conversation or how they choose to review, use or recommend your product.
For example, if Brand sends the yellow mascara to Cindy, she might say she loves the product and really talk about the consistency, how to apply it and why she loves it. Mike might receive the same product, mention your brand, use the product and move on. Charlie might use the product, mention the brand, and talk about how poor quality the product is, say that it burnt their skin and it’s a pointless product. Clare might get your product and not use it or talk about it at all online. You have no control over any of these conversations and you place full trust in the influencer to speak positively about your brand.
However, it is possible to grow your brand using influencers. You can send your product along with a hashtag and discount code to motivate them to want to use and share their experience of your product. You can encourage people to post online about your brand by incentivising influencers to do so by sending more free products if they talk about your brand.
For a cause
People love attention online for supporting a cause that they believe in. While many people do it to raise money and awareness, many other people do it to raise their profile and follower numbers.
This can be used to your advantage. You can recruit influencers who are interested in supporting causes that your brand is associated with, or holds valuable. For example, your makeup brand might support breast cancer research, and offer to give a free lipstick to a foundation for each that is purchased. By having an influencer talk about this offer that supports a cause that many people have an experience of, it can prompt people to want to not only purchase a lipstick, but it can also change the way people view your brand. This can be effective when you need to rebrand or improve your image after a minor incident.
First world problems
Many brands offer solutions to issues that people weren’t even aware they had until there was an app developed to solve that problem. If this is your product, having an ‘app for that’ is one of the best ways to get people talking.
People love apps that solve issues, make life easier or are even just entertaining. We use so many apps daily without even thinking about it, so having influencers talk about your app in a way that makes other people think they are missing out, or that your app is something they can’t live without is a great way to boost your reputation and your sales.
Word of mouth advertising and marketing can be used to boost your brand reputation and recognition. However, you do need to remember that without a good product or service, it is unlikely that even the best-paid influencer will endorse your product. The idea of WOM marketing is that it is reliable, truthful and trustworthy, so it is best to find ways to get the honest good word about your brand circulating in an organic way.
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