Think about the last few purchases you made. How many of them were purely impulse buys? Where you hadn’t done any research on the manufacturer/provider, the product/service, or even spoke with someone who had? The fact is that 90% of people believe in brand recommendations from friends. Word-of-mouth marketing has never been more critical than it is today. In addition to the bump it provides in conversion rates, a huge benefit to utilizing word-of-mouth is that there’s no cost. Word-of-mouth isn’t the only cost-effective way to reach potential customers in a targeted way. The rise of social media has also given small businesses the type of publishing platform that used to come with a pretty expensive price tag. The savviest of brands understand that real magic can happen when you intermingle the power of word-of-mouth with the reach and power that social media can offer. If you’re looking for new ways to enhance your brand, check out the tips below that merge these two powerful approaches. It will not only build you a great reputation but a more devoted following as well.
1. Take advantage of user-generated content
This term is one that rose to the top of every marketing expert’s buzzword list a few years ago, but it’s just as relevant today. User-generated content, also known as UGC, is content that’s created by customers about the brand. There are a few popular ways to encourage UGC, including instituting a promotional hashtag around your brand, slogan or event.
You can ask customers to post pictures of them using your product or service on social media. If it’s on the customer’s own social media platform, interact with that customer by liking, retweeting or sharing it. If it’s on your page, respond with a comment and cross-pollinate that content to other social media channels. Also, don’t forget about your own website and even email campaigns.
2. Gather online reviews from customers
When people think of social media, Facebook is the first channel that comes to mind. But it’s far from the only place where people talk about brands online. Google and Yelp are just a few of the platforms that consumers across the world are voicing their satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) with the brands they do business with. Each with its own specific terms of service. So do some research on the channel that you’re most interested in before diving in.
Yelp recommends you not directly encourage your customers to leave reviews. However, there are clings you can add to storefront windows and badges that you can place at the bottom of emails that indicate your Yelp presence. Before we forget about Facebook, there is a robust “review” section within each brand page. Your customers can say whether they recommend you and leave a comment about why or why not.
For instance, Yelp recommends you not directly encourage your customers to leave reviews. However, there are clings you can add to storefront windows and badges that you can place at the bottom of emails that indicate your Yelp presence. Before we forget about Facebook, there is a robust “review” section within each brand page. Your customers can say whether they recommend you and leave a comment about why or why not. All of these channels can be instrumental in pushing a potential customer toward calling your business. Also, these reviews can appear on your website and in other marketing collateral as well.
3. Connect with thought leaders and influencers
There have been some recent developments that give the term “social influencer” a bad name, but you can rest assured that we don’t mean Instagram celebrities with this tip. We’re referring to well-regarded and accomplished professionals within your industry or geographic market who you think might want to align with your brand. If you’re a local painting company, try interacting with a popular construction or home renovation blog. They may be willing to mention your brand and partner with you on promotion.
Related: Customer Relations and Retention for Small Businesses
The goal is for that partnership to extend into the influencer’s own social media channels where they would tag you and comment on your work. Don’t be afraid to offer your services or products for free in exchange for a review on their own site. This type of relationship is commonplace but can be very effective in growing a brand rapidly.