The advent of social media is probably the most important thing that has happened to word of mouth marketing since the telephone was invented. Never before has it been so easy for people to discuss and recommend products and services to their friends and family. The opposite is also true of course, as a single tweet can have a devastating impact on a business if not properly tended to.

Here are a few tips to help devise a successful social media strategy that encourages word of mouth activity:

Word of Mouth Marketing with Social MediaKeep the communication going both ways

Too many businesses make the mistake of treating social media as simple one-way communication. Most of the time they’re really only using it as a vehicle to broadcast their current offerings, and there’s very little personality or “fun” involved. Consumers typically get tired of these types of social media accounts pretty quick, as they feel that they’re constantly being marketed to.

A much better way is using social media to actually interact with consumers and encourage discussion. Instead of just pushing out endless offers and updates all day, ask the fans/followers questions! Instead of simply deleting negative posts, respond to them in a light or serious way depending on the situation. As long as other followers see the excellent, disarming responses, a couple of bad posts won’t do too much harm. In fact they serve to make the brand even more popular! The trick is just being personable and relatable, even if it’s the fan page of a huge multinational corporation.

Make sharing easy

Word of Mouth Marketing with Social MediaThis is more related to the business website. It’s essential to make sure sharing is easy and all pages are easily reached through a copy-paste friendly URL (which isn’t always the case on JavaScript-heavy websites). Using sharing buttons is a good idea in some cases, but it’s important to make sure they’re not slowing down the website too much, which happens sometimes.

Don’t be afraid of being funny or controversial

It’s a fact that most people use social networks to be entertained. They’re not there to buy things or view marketing messages. It’s therefore important to tailor communications to this. Keeping things lighthearted is usually a good idea, and humor can be an extremely powerful weapon to engage fans.

Most companies are very afraid of controversy, but the fact is that in small doses it can help word of mouth activity greatly. It does require a bit of planning and careful consideration of course. A bit of care needs to be taken so it doesn’t backfire or gets blown way out of proportion.

By implementing these simple strategies, consumers will be much more likely to share and talk about the business on social media. It’s important to remember that social media is something that requires on-going work. For example, it’s not enough to jump on the Twitter account a couple of times per week as people expect much faster response times there. It’s usually a good idea to set up e-mail alerts when someone mentions the company or brand, and try to respond to these messages as soon as they arrive.

Word of Mouth Marketing with Social Media
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