Gone are the days of simply posting on social media and expecting to connect, resonate and build a relationship with past, current, and future customers. As social media becomes increasingly sophisticated, businesses are having to do more, be more, and share more to create an engaged community on social media.
Word of Mouth Marketing
Word of mouth (WOM) marketing is the most valuable form of marketing available. A study by Nielsen found that 92% of consumers will believe recommendations from friends and family over advertising.
There are many ways businesses can leverage WOM marketing, including user generated content and joining community groups. There are three key ways businesses can encourage user generated content.
- Have a unique business hashtag users can include in their social posts.
- Offer incentives for users to share or create content related to the business, for example, an offer, gift, or discount.
- Create a sense of community. Share user generated content on the business’s website and social media channels.
Over 1.8 billion people are active in a Facebook group every month, with more than half of Facebook users being in five or more groups. Facebook groups and online forums, like Reddit, are becoming incredibly prevalent in people’s lives.
Like Facebook, Reddit has a considerable audience, with over 430 million active users monthly. Reddit is a popular tool focused on WOM marketing, proving a viable area for businesses to focus on to gain exposure and brand presence, and is used similarly to Facebooks groups.
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Community groups are where connections are formed.
In our professional opinion, for businesses to stay relevant with today’s consumers they must have a presence in Facebook, and LinkedIn groups. These groups should be reflective of the business and its areas of expertise. An example would be, for say an accounting firm in Brisbane, to join a group for Brisbane residents wanting to manage their finances and be active with comments and ideas vs any sales pitching.
How to use groups as a business
There are two key ways businesses can become involved in groups. A business can join a group as itself or have an employee of the business act as a representative in these groups.
A business that is joining groups should not promote services or products, instead, prove its worth by sharing valuable information and expertise in areas of concern for members.
In terms of a business representative, they are not there to promote the business but to offer advice and recommendations, this approach is particularly good for fostering engagement and WOM marketing. A representative can mention the business, but the timing must be right. Following along with the previous example, if a group member were to ask for recommendations for an accountant in Brisbane, the representative could respond by singing the praises of the business.
Be more connection-focused on social media.
Users are sick of businesses communicating with them in an unauthentic and impersonal way. When users feel connected to a business, they are 76% more likely to buy from a brand they trust, with the amount spent also increasing.
It’s about giving rather than taking. While you might post one or two promotion driven posts a month, the rest should either be enlightening or show the behind the scenes of your business, the employees.
Communication is key to building relationships.
Businesses must be active on social channels; this means leaving comments on other pages’ posts and responding to comments on their own page. This extends further than just social media. According to a recent study, 97% of consumers said digital reviews influence their purchase decisions. Businesses must respond to users’ comments across all digital forums, both positive and negative.
Responding to negative comments is just as important as responding to positive ones. Instead of avoiding, inquire and respond in a manner that shows an understanding of the person and their complaint, while providing a resolution or justification. This can sometimes mean more to users than simply seeing positive comments, it shows a level of professionalism and authenticity.
The digital age and its users are changing, businesses must be adaptive to stay relevant in this new age of consumerism.