Harnessing the Power of Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Brand advocacy, or positive word-of-mouth marketing from customers, can be extremely powerful as a marketing method. Just as negative remarks or criticism from steer people away from a company or brand, positive messages can draw people in. In fact, word-of-mouth marketing has often proven to have a bigger impact than marketing messages from the company itself- McKinsey reports that word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20-50% of all purchasing decisions.

But what drives people to speak positively about a brand or product, and more importantly, to recommend it to friends? Here are some factors:

  • A single exceptional experience. When people have a positive experience with an organization, brand, or product that well exceeds their expectations, they are more likely to talk about it to others.
  • Consistent positive experiences. While a single positive experience can increase the chances that someone will speak positively about an organization, brand, or product, it is sometimes not enough. When customers have repeated positive experiences, their trust in the organization, brand, or product grows. Consistency will continue to drive the likelihood that customers will recommend to friends.
  • Economic incentive. People are motivated to do something when they receive something in return, and some companies are capitalizing on this truth. If customers receive some sort of monetary incentive to refer to a friend, such as a discount on a future purchase, they may be more likely to make the referral.
  • Recognition and engagement. Customers like brands that engage with them, and that will show appreciation when they speak positively about the brand. Brands and organizations should make it a point to monitor social media for brand mentions, both positive and negative, and recommendations, and engage with those posts. When customers see this positive feedback, they will be more likely to engage with the brand and talk about it on social media, generating buzz amongst their own networks.

Over time, it has become known that word-of-mouth marketing and recommendations from customers to their peers can be extremely powerful. Nielsen reports that 84% of customers trust word-of-mouth recommendations, making word-of-mouth a more successful marketing channel than many other approaches that companies take. The above factors contribute to the likelihood that people will go from being customers to being advocates for a brand, organization, or product, generating positive buzz on social media and recommending it to friends. Still, it can be hard for companies to take effective control of these factors.

Companies should be making more of an effort to encourage word-of-mouth marketing, and a social media advocacy platform like Fanzee can be the missing piece of the puzzle that helps organizations turn customers into brand advocates. As the complete campaign management platform for social media advocacy, Fanzee makes the process of generating word-of-mouth marketing more seamless and effective, allowing organizations to better take advantage of this powerful marketing method.