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Word of Mouth

Word of mouth (buzz) marketing

Have you ever had a friend rave about a product or service that they’ve used, telling you, ‘you’ve just got to try it’? When we’ve found something good we want to share it - that’s word of mouth!

Word of mouth is defined as sharing opinion with others. It comes from two sources:

  1. Word of mouth that is ‘organically’ generated, and;
  2. Word of mouth generated through marketing activities, known as word of mouth marketing or advertising.

Organically generated word of mouth is when someone, unprompted, shares information about your company or brand online to their friends and network, or to the greater population on the internet. A good example of this is when you visit a restaurant and have a great meal and you post a comment on Facebook or Zomato to share your positive experience and views of the restaurant.

Generating word of mouth through marketing activities is where you distribute a message online through advertising, your website, through your social media network to the target audience and they start to share the information with their friends and network.

Drive success

To achieve great results in your word of mouth marketing activities, you need to generate great content that is highly relevant to your target audience. The two driving factors that contribute to a successful word of mouth campaign are social currency and triggers.

‘Social currency’ is the idea that the message being delivered is exclusive to the audience. Online business owners should take the time to identify what social currency exists for their target audience by listening carefully to what is of relevance and interest to their audience.

‘Triggers’ are natural prompts that remind the target audience about a brand or product. Online businesses can create triggers when they have a high frequency and relevant reach with their target audience through their social media.

Structuring a word of mouth marketing campaign containing these two drivers will help improve the success of your word of mouth marketing.

Audiences that drive word of mouth

Three types of audiences can help online businesses drive word of mouth about their business and their product or service offering:

  • Influencers are viewed by your target audience as knowledgable and credible in the category of products or services, or in the brands they share within their network. The difference between this group, and the paid influencer group discussed in Week 2 is that these influencers are not paid to promote your business, it is organically generated. These influencers may not have purchased from you but like what you offer.
  • Brand advocates will spread positive word of mouth about your business to people within their network. They share their stories and views with people in their network through social media. Like influencers, these brand advocates will share information about your brand.
  • Customer advocates are current customers, not only brand advocates but also advocates of your customer service. You can drive word of mouth marketing with this group by using testimonials on your website.

Keep influencers, brand and customer advocates engaged by creating a brand advocacy program.

Using an online word-of-mouth marketing campaign can generate more loyal customers for a business than by using a paid digital marketing campaign alone.


Activity

Think about the two factors that drive successful word of mouth campaigns: social currency and triggers. Start structuring your own word of mouth campaign for your business by identifying the social currency and triggers of your target audience.

Share your ideas for your word of mouth campaign in the Comments area below and read about the social currency and trigger drivers that other learners have identified.


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This article is from the free online course:

Online Business: Digital Marketing for Success

RMIT University