Everyone has heard that positive word of mouth is the best marketing for a business and while other marketing methods are proving less effective, this one still rings true. The reason I think social media works so well is because it embraces this ideal, it’s basically word of mouth on steroids. You can put thousands of dollars into an advertising budget to develop your ideal image and brand but at the end of the day if you can’t deliver your customers something of value, they will know and they will not be shy about telling people.
Branding yourself as the go to resource in your line of work can be very powerful but the underlying truth to making this strategy work is that you have to prove that you know what you’re talking about. You have to actually be an expert. As much as advertising tactics may suggest that consumers can be easily swayed or tricked into thinking your product is better over another, the customer isn’t stupid. Even if the ads brought them to you, if you can’t prove to them that your product or service is superior, they will leave and not come back… and will probably tell their friends.
So first, you have to actually be a reliable and trustworthy resource. No brainer. Second, once you are qualified to give people advice, do it and make sure they get real, usable value from you.
The heart of word of mouth marketing is trust. A customer is not going to recommend you to a friend if they don’t trust you. Trust is developed when a customer believes that you are there for them and that you’re not just after their money.
It can be a hard thing to establish but through social media it has actually been made much easier.
Before Facebook and Twitter took over, business owners relied a lot on the face-to-face interaction to establish trust and impart their valuable knowledge to their customers. It was difficult because they only had contact with them when the customer came in, or indirectly through ads or mail. Now a customer has access to you as fast as their internet connection will take them. So take advantage of it.
Through your Facebook posts, Tweets, LinkedIn posts and group discussions, and blog posts, your customers can see that you’re not just out for their money but that what you really want to give them information they can use.
Posting content they find interesting and useful, sharing links to related topics, discussing news in your field, asking them questions about how they feel about an issue or topic; these are all ways to show you care about them while also letting them know that you are knowledgeable and reliable.