Word of mouth referrals are powerful.
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, if someone is willing to refer your business to their family, friends or colleagues they are investing a little bit of themselves in you. If you're deciding between two companies, and your friend says one of them was awesome, how likely are you to choose that business?
I’m yet to meet to meet a business owner who doesn’t value word of mouth referrals, but not a day goes by where someone questions whether their company needs social media. Why?
Invest in Referrals
Word of mouth referrals aren’t a naturally occurring phenomenon. They’re the result of great service, networking, and a lot of invested time. You must build rapport with people so they trust you and feel confident enough to refer you.
Social media is no different. It takes time to build a following and gain their trust. Like any form of networking you should engage with them, listen to them and answer their questions without always pushing for a sale. Unfortunately, some business owners want to see a direct dollars and cents return on investment from the time and money they invest in social media every month, and it doesn’t always work like that.
With that in mind, here’s an example of social media done right.
Deep South & @SteelonNZ
@SteelonNZ bought some sneakers and a t-shirt from clothing company Deep South NZ, and tagged them in an Instagram post. Deep South saw @SteelonNZ’s photo, liked it, and engaged with him in the comments.
Why wouldn’t they? Where traditional word of mouth referrals take place in one-on-one conversations or within a small group of people, this is a word of mouth referral both company and customer can share with everyone.
Deep South liked the photo so much, they got permission to repost it on their own social media pages.
Social Networking on Social Media
For every person who feels I’m stating the obvious, for just as many this is news. Deep South and @SteelonNZ show how networking and social media marketing should be done.
Is there a direct correlation between this post and sales? Maybe, maybe not… But that’s not the point. Deep South have encouraged customer loyalty, strengthened their brand awareness, and reached their target audience in a way that didn’t push a sale or demand people buy something right away.
What could this look like in your business? Think about who your target audience is and how they engage with your brand. Celebrity chef Chelsea Winter encourages fans to post pictures of them using her recipes. Many bars, restaurants and cafes like photos of people having fun at their premises. There is no cookie-cutter social media solution that will work for every business, so be creative.
The New Word-Of-Mouth Marketing
Just because it’s happening online, doesn’t mean a word of mouth referral is worth less. If anything, it’s worth more because there’s virtually no limit to the number of people your endorsement can reach.
Social media can be a powerful referral tool, and it’s ok if you don’t understand how it works or how it may apply to your business. We’re happy to meet you for coffee and chat about your ideas. Just don’t dismiss Facebook out of hand, then wonder why your competition is doing more business than you.
If you’re not sure about social media for your business or want to know more, contact the team at Inform PR.
If you're looking for ways to make your business stand out and get noticed, you've come to the right place!