Word of Mouth: Still Dominating Marketing

By Andi Barton Through the continued dominance of social media, there has always been one underlying key to success: Word of Mouth! Although social networks have become increasingly popular, its core is still deeply rooted in the concepts of word of mouth and networking. Marketers need to continue to leverage the enduring strength of word of mouth. Finding the perfect way to incorporate word of mouth into your marketing efforts will continue to bring amplified success. But with the ever-changing features and elements of social networks, it has become easy for brands to lose sight of the basics. Here are two recent examples of the strength of social sharing and how effective word of mouth can be:

KONY 2012

The power of viral videos never ceases to amaze. When leveraged for a cause or movement,  an inspiring video with a positive message can have a massive amount of impact. When I first watched the #KONY video this past Tuesday evening, it had around 400,000 views; and today- not even a week later- the video has 73.7 million hits. It has become the fastest growing viral video in history. The strength of this viral movement was entirely based on word of mouth. The video placed a significant importance on the need for viewers to share, redistribute, and inform others of Kony and the organization's efforts to improve the situation. The emphasis on sharing enabled the video to spread like wildfire through social networks; it has gained enough momentum to reach the level of being exposed on national news broadcasts.

SXSW

Unfortunately, I was not able to attend this year’s Austin bash at SXSW. However this did not entirely limit me from being able to feel engaged and informed. The endless hashtags and twitter conversations that were going on throughout the weekend provided me with a means of dialogue and allowed me to stay connected.

SXSW attendees were able to tune their audiences into the happenings of the conference's many events. Attendees have become SXSW word of mouth experts, as they have been able to highlight and share the main takeaways from the conference that they deem to be shareable to their external network.

Lessons for Marketers:

Leverage your loyalists!

Turn your loyal fans/customers/users into brand advocates for your word of mouth efforts. When you are able to leverage your most influential fans, the reach and amplification of your efforts are easily magnified. Use these influencers to your advantage! Find incentives and new innovative ways to emphasize sharing, referrals, new connections, or RTs- whichever may be most relevant to you!

Emphasize sharing!

When implementing contests or promotions, encourage your fans to share! Even if you can't have the entirety of your participants share your content, any extent of sharing and word of mouth that you can leverage will, in some way, increase impressions. Encourage sharing of FB statuses and encourage RTs. It seems simple, but don't forget to use it to your advantage!

Make it viral!

Create an entirely separate campaign that you can leverage through social media. Whether it be through YouTube or other platforms, a great way to generate some buzz is to start a word of mouth snowball- through either a campaign you are creating or maybe a movement that you are joining. Take a stand, gain a movement of followers who are passionate about your efforts or promotions, and see how far you can run with it.

People want their voices to be heard: Give them a reason to use their voice to your advantage as well. Word of Mouth has continuously proven to be dominant in social media. Don't forget to leverage that marketing opportunity to the best of your ability!

Where have you seen the power of Word of Mouth Marketing lately? Share your thoughts in the comments below!