How to Effectively Use Word-of-Mouth MarketingToday’s customers no longer trust branded content…they trust word-of-mouth marketing.

They don’t want you to talk about how awesome your brand is.

Instead, they want to see the transparent, non-promotional, and honest side of your business.

They want to know and understand what your customers have to say about you.

Some recent stats say that 62 percent of customers search for online reviews before making a purchase, while almost 90 percent of them trust brand recommendations from friends.

With impressive numbers like these, it’s important not to underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing.

Your online reviews, recommendations, and product ratings will increase trust  and bring you better sales.

Working with Influencers

An influencer can be anyone with a massive following who listens to them and trusts them.

For example, this could be a Hollywood celebrity, a popular blogger, a social media star, or an authoritative figure in your industry. And, a referral from those people can help make your brand more visible and increase your credibility.

But, how do you find them?

You can start by doing a manual search. Use Google or social networks to search for the most popular hashtags in your niche and see who is using them.

There are also numerous influencer networks you can use. Some of these, such as Hello Society, even classify influencer profiles by their niche.

Once you find an influencer to work with, you will need to check on whether they’re the right fit.

Analyze their website and social media profiles to check their credibility and see whether they target the same audiences as your organization.

Most importantly, these influencers should know how to engage their audiences.

Just because someone has 100,000 followers doesn’t mean they qualify as an influencer, especially if their followers don’t interact with their content.

The only problem with doing a manual search for influencers is they are time-consuming.

Fortunately, there are tools to help automate the search process.

For example, with hashtag research tools you don’t have to research hashtags manually.

You can also use a link prospecting tool to find influencers for your brand. These tools will not only do the analysis but also eliminate poor results and offer a list of the most relevant influencers.

Connecting with Influencers

  • Build connections. Before you reach out to an influencer, start following them on social networks. Like and share their content regularly. Leave meaningful comments on their site and social media profiles. Get them to remember you.
  • Create relevant and authentic guides and cite a reputable person in your niche. Once the article is live, connect with them, let them know they’ve been mentioned, and ask them to share the article with their audience.
  • Send your products to an influencer for free. If the product is relevant to their audience and they consider it valuable enough, they’ll post a quality photo of it on social or even review it.
  • Work with a micro-influencer. Statistics show that consumers are more likely to purchase a product recommended by a non-celebrity influencer. This is logical, as it’s easier for potential customers to relate to “average” bloggers and value their insights.

Encourage User-Generated Content

When making buying decisions, your customers are searching for other users’ experiences and insights.

For example, did you know millennials spend more than five hours daily reading content created by their peers?

Because of this, it’s important for brands to encourage customers to share user-generated content (UGC).

Simply put, UGC can be photos, gifs, or videos created and shared by your customers.

Consumers love this because it’s honest, natural, and builds trust.  But above all, it tells them why your product is unique.

And, research backs this up. According to a recent study, 86 percent of millennials claim that UGC is a strong indicator of a brand’s quality.

Therefore, it is not surprising this content can boost your sales by 20 percent.

Inspiring Customers to Share User-Generated Content

This is where influencer marketing can help.

If you gift a product to a popular social media influencer, chances are they’ll promote it within their greater audience.

And once your customers see there are reputable people backing your products, they’ll be happier to buy from you.

Another great way to encourage UGC is by providing customer incentives.

For example, create weekly contests on Instagram, and reward a photo or video with most likes by sending them a free product.

Or, you could make things even more competitive and exciting by hosting a giveaway.

Invite participation in a giveaway by asking customers to take a creative photo or video of your product and then share it with the public.

In addition, don’t forget to create a unique hashtag that makes your user-generated content easily findable.

Inspire Customers to Share Online Reviews

Did you know that 84 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as their friends and family’s recommendations when making purchases?

Unbiased online reviews by your customers (both positive and negative) make your brand more transparent, confirm your claims, and build trust with potential customers.

Most importantly, they let you share positive word-of-mouth about your brand and increase its credibility.

There are numerous ways to collect customer feedback.

  • Listen to your customers on social networks. Like it or not, people are talking about you. And it’s up to you to decide whether you will track these discussions. Social media monitoring tools allow you to track your brand and product mentions in real-time. And by giving timely feedback, you’ll inspire them to talk more about your brand in the future.
  • Collect product feedback. Apart from social listening, you can also take advantage of Facebook polls and ask customers simple questions about your products. Most of them will be happy to voice their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with them.
  • There are numerous survey platforms you can use to create engaging customer polls. Some of these even allow you to create paid surveys, which is a great way to motivate people to participate. To make your survey visible, promote it on social networks, post it on your website, or send it to your customers via email.
  • Claim your Google My Business listing and be present on all major business directories, such as Yelp, Glassdoor or Angie’s List. This is where your potential customers go to find more about your business. Most importantly, those who’ve already bought from you use these platforms to share their experiences with others.
  • Add product ratings to your site. Customers are more likely to buy from sites using these ratings.

Once you collect customer feedback, make it visible.

Post it regularly on your social networks and add it strategically to all significant pages on your site, such as your homepage, product pages, or dedicated site pages.

Respond to Your Customers

Most importantly, remember that your customers expect you to answer their questions and complaints right away.

If you don’t respond to their questions or comments in a timely manner (or not at all), they will begin to ignore your brand and unfollow you.

Don’t neglect negative feedback.

This is a great opportunity to “talk to” your dissatisfied customers, help them solve problems with your products, increase their positive experience with your brand, and turn them into your brand ambassadors.

Use Employee Advocacy to Increase Brand Awareness

Your employees are the lifeblood of your business. And as such, they should be the lifeblood of your word-of-mouth strategy, too.

Include them in your referral programs and ask them to share their feedback with the public.

For example, encourage employees to share behind-the-scenes photos and videos.

These relaxed and natural photos of your staff help to humanize your brand and make it more relatable.  Let them unleash their creativity and express their feelings however they choose. That is the main point of using this content.

And employee advocacy has numerous benefits.

Apart from increasing your brand reach and sales, it builds greater trust with your customers and helps create a unique corporate culture.

Expand Your Reach by Word-of-Mouth Marketing

No matter if you want to expand your company’s reach, raise brand awareness, or simply boost sales, word-of-mouth marketing should be your priority.

Using this tactic makes customer feedback more transparent, earns customer trust, and validates your authority within your niche.

Now go get your people to start spreading the word!

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Raul Harman

Raul Harman is editor-in-chief at Technivorz. He has plenty to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing. You can find him on Twitter.

View all posts by Raul Harman