Word of Mouth Marketing and Social Media

Social media: the word of mouth platforms

Word of mouth marketing is different from naturally occurring word of mouth as it is actively influenced and encouraged by organisations. It makes sense that if one person told two people about this great company, product or brand, and these two people then each went off and told two more people about it, and so on, pretty quickly a large number of people know about it and more importantly, are talking about it.

Now, if one person posts about this great company/brand/product on social media, instantly potentially hundreds of people will see this – exponentially increasing the speed at which people are becoming exposed to it.

This concept is nothing new or revolutionary, but it is effective – especially when trying to reach the younger generations like Generation Y (or Generation Why? as some are prone to call them).

The reason that social media is so important and effective in word of mouth marketing, aside from the swift dispersal of information (which can happen across social media platforms), is that companies can take things even further by creating a dialogue between themselves and their customers on a more informal basis.

This informal connection is what helps build positive relationships with consumers. Don’t believe me? Check out some tweets by Taco Bell:

TacoBell-on-twitter Tacobell-tweet

Tweets like these have gone viral on the internet, creating a positive vibe and a friendly atmosphere between the company and its customers and potential customers.

In most cases, positive comments being passed along are the prime objective of companies encouraging word of mouth marketing. However, not all companies have the business acumen to encourage these positive comments though social media. A prime example of this is Amy’s Baking Company, brought into the limelight by Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares (approximately 3.34 million people watched the episode).

The first mistake they made was being rude (to put it lightly) to their customers (and on TV!), who then went and talked about their experience online. A flood of online reviews and social media activity meant that the moment that episode was aired, foodies around the world were talking about the horror that was ‘Amy’s Baking Company’. This led to their second BIG mistake, they engaged with their (ex-) customers in an incredibly negative way, leading to a media uproar and reinforcing the already negative image they had. Now they have turned into a tourist destination, almost like a zoo, where people go to gawk rather than enjoy food.

I certainly wouldn’t follow suit.

But if you can build up a positive rapport between company and consumer, you are building a relationship that is reinforced from both sides, and the more a consumer interacts with you, the better you can understand them. And the better you understand your customers the more you can improve your services and branding, creating a positive synergistic relationship.

The QRi Team x


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