Don’t Discredit the Power of Word of Mouth
The digital era is responsible for the spread of information at a near incomprehensible pace. Marketers don’t have to rely on cold calls and door to door visits anymore – they can make a company money with a computer and an Internet connection. However, we shouldn’t divorce ourselves from the value of word of mouth and face to face conversations, because these interactions will often supplement or enhance someone’s experience online. Here are a few ways to introduce the human element back into your social media marketing strategy.
Trade Show Booths
While this tactic can give a company a great deal of exposure, it can also become quite expensive. Depending on the trade show, your company might be facing extremely high fees for renting a booth and traveling to the site. However, your social media accounts will reap the benefits, especially if booth representatives can weave online interactions into their face-to-face conversations. Some companies will host live streams or even competitions so that both online and in-person audiences can interact with each other.
Your company might also want to mount a screen at the booth, which lists all current tweet regarding your products and services. People at the event will be able to read these live posts, which might compel them to contribute. Your booth representatives can offer people incentives for posting pictures and selfies that mention your brand. Tactics like these help blur the lines between digital and in-person marketing.
Another way to generate word-of-mouth buzz that translates into higher social media engagement rates is to co-host or sponsor a community event. This way, you’ll be able to build brand exposure while creating stronger inroads with a locale. Your company should partner up with other businesses in a mutually beneficial joint venture. For example, look into nearby non-profit efforts and offer to bring greater visibility to their event.
You don’t even have to host or sponsor an event to generate vocal buzz. Many companies sent representatives to mingle at the last SXSW conference, and many business interactions were built during the off-hours, in between conferences and in pubs. Sometimes a happy customer giving a glowing review over a glass of beer can bring in new customer leads.
Word of mouth doesn’t just happen in person. This type of dialog happens dozens of time per second over the phone or on platforms like Youtube, Vine, and Skype. Even services like conversations with a physician can be done remotely with phone calls. Encourage your fans and supporters to bring up your products and services via multimedia channels. This can generate a buzz that results in follow up vlog posts and viewer responses. Your company can even host video competitions, which will give your brand exposure as contestants strive toward an award incentive.
Playing Telephone at Home
We all have access to our own mini networks at home. This might include our old friends from college, parents, and former coworkers. If you have a sense of pride in your work, then you shouldn’t hesitate to share this with your peers. The interest can be infectious – your own enthusiasm for a product or service might lead people in your network to check out the company social media accounts. Your company’s employees can be the greatest brand advocates both inside and outside of the office.
Word of mouth communications and referrals are often left by the wayside when we’re delving into social media marketing. However, in person meet ups, conferences, trade shows, and other events can be the best place to gain exposure with broader demographics, especially for potential customers who don’t use social media very often. Your brand relations can really flourish through the blend of word of mouth promotions and social media marketing tactics.
About Larry Alton
Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.