The marketing potential that lies in customer reviews cannot be underestimated these days. As consumers remain indifferent to traditional forms of advertising, they prefer to search for information about your brand online, among their friends, newsletter or on popular vlogs. The reviews and marketing recommendations of other people are a mine of knowledge for prosumers, so try to attract the attention of your audience with marketing strategies today.
Today's prosumers are those who are involved in co-creating the brand and its image, and who want to shape other consumers' opinions about the company. Be sure that they will not passively consume your message and will sooner seek interesting information from independent sources than be lured by advertising. For prosumers, reviews and recommendations of other users and the possibility of sharing their knowledge with them are much more important. Therefore, if you care about two-way communication with conscious consumers, it is necessary to learn more about marketing best practices.
In the communication industry, the terms "word-of-mouth marketing" and "recommendation strategy" are used interchangeably. But are these two terms really the same and, therefore, can they be used interchangeably?
In order to answer these questions, we should refer to English-language studies, from where the term WOM - Word of Mouth - originates. In the broadest sense, it means that consumers share their opinions about a brand, inform each other about products and services offered by a company, and above all about their advantages and disadvantages. So it is nothing more than the communication of consumers, let us add, in an informal way, in order to exchange their views, experiences and feelings about a given company and its offer.
On the other hand, WOMM is any practice that serves to encourage customers to discuss the brand, but also to create opportunities for consumers to have such conversations. The main aim of these activities is to trigger a wave of consumer reviews which attract potential customers and thus influence sales growth. Campaigns are usually implemented on two levels - the first is to provide customers with topics for discussion and thus stimulate interest around the brand. In order to gain customers' attention, companies focus on consumers' personal experience with a given product - nothing influences purchase decisions as much as the possibility to test a product. The second area is to develop a strategy for managing the reviews that appear online as a result of the marketing activities carried out.
We use the term WOMM, but it is often misunderstood as only one of its forms, i.e. buzz marketing. In practice, it is a much broader concept, which also includes such marketing practices as viral marketing or digital marketing.
Let's take a look at what activities are hidden under the most important forms of whisper marketing.
Recommendation marketing - is the dissemination of information about a product and service through a company's existing customers, bypassing traditional forms of advertising. These activities can be both "organic" and initiated and directed by the company's employees, whose task is to motivate customers to give reviews or leave comments in the network.
Buzz marketing - is about building strong excitement about a product or service and evoking emotions among users. "Buzz" is triggered by consumers who have taken advantage of a particular company's offer and want to spontaneously share positive reviews about the product.
So much in theory, as practice shows that buzz marketing has lost some of its authenticity, and reviews about a brand left, for example, on internet forums or blogs, are not the effect of customers' delight, but an intentional action by employees of a given company or a marketer. Such communication is based on advertising posts rather than on unforced consumer reviews, which are placed, for example, in comments under industry publications. However, we do not intend to place a value on the practices described here because, when conducted in an ethical and skilful manner, buzz marketing campaigns can significantly increase a brand's reach and encourage customers to take action.
Viral marketing - aims to distribute entertaining and original content about a brand, but the emphasis here is on advertising material rather than product recommendations.
All the above-mentioned techniques of word-of-mouth marketing are supposed to bring the brand the expected publicity and contribute to the growth of reviews about the company published on the Internet, however, in case of each of them this goal is achieved with the use of different tools. In this article, we will focus mainly on marketing efforts, which can lead to an increase in brand recognition and credibility in the eyes of customers.
The growing importance of consumer reviews creates an opportunity for businesses to use marketing to gain customer engagement and build authentic relationships. If you're wondering how to master the power of referrals in your business strategy, then take a look at some of the tips we've put together for a successful campaign. Let us focus in this section on identifying the right form of marketing for your business.
The choice of the right methods of reaching potential customers should be based on two considerations: the characteristics of your target group and the specificity of the industry in which you operate. However, we will make this task easier for you by presenting some of the most interesting practices in the field of marketing. The aim of each of them is to arouse interest in potential and existing customers which will result in positive recommendations.
On the one hand, it consists in creating company blogs, which become a natural platform for obtaining reviews in the form of comments under entries. What is more, a blog provides people with a reason to talk not only about the company's offer, but also about its functioning. If your employees enjoy volunteering, be sure to tell your customers about it. Thanks to the social commitment of your business, you will certainly win the sympathy of many customers. On the other hand, when choosing product posts, try to provide users with engaging and valuable content - let your publications take the form of guides, in which promotion gives way to the language of benefits.
On the other hand, as part of brand blogging you can establish cooperation with a blogger who is a specialist and authority in the field you are interested in. Offer this person to test your products or evaluate actions carried out under the brand name.
This is what we call the strategy of interacting with a brand's community of existing customers. This type of marketing plan is carried out through thematic groups on Facebook, discussion forums or other social media. As well as engaging in these spaces, try creating your own groups of people who are connected to your brand. In this way, you can present a more "human" face of your company and get to know the problems of community members.
Remember, social media marketing emphasises relationships with a brand's existing customers, giving them a sense of uniqueness and understanding of their needs. However, this doesn't mean that these groups are closed to new customers - after all, they are the ones who will be looking for social proof, i.e. reviews from people who have already used your products. So provide a place where your customers can share their experiences and observations, and new users will gain a stimulus that will convince them to use your offer. In turn, your online activity will serve to make your company more credible in the eyes of consumers.
In these groups, it is also worth looking for early adopters, i.e. users who use a given service or product before others do. Early adopters provide feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of a new product, which allows companies to improve product functionality, design and even after-sales support. They are often considered opinion leaders, following trends and interested in testing innovative solutions that shape views within the group. Early enthusiasts can popularise the product for you, performing a kind of educational function and passing on their recommendations to the rest of users.
The most active fans may become your brand ambassadors in the future, so it's worth looking for them among the members of the groups mentioned above. Brand advocates are people who represent and promote your company in a positive way by introducing consumers to your offer and building credibility and trust in your products. They range from celebrities and influencers who are paid to promote your brand to die-hard fans who trust your brand so much that they are able to selflessly advertise it through their channels. When looking for a brand ambassador, try to find an influencer whose beliefs and values your target audience identifies with. For the biggest fans who spontaneously recommend your brand to others, don't forget to reward them for this activity.
Don't limit yourself to famous names and top online creatives either. You may find this hard to believe, but some of the best brand ambassadors can be your employees.
Its aim is to build such a strong trust in the brand or conviction for a given product or service that the consumer willingly becomes an advocate of our company. An evangelist is a person absorbed by the idea of a brand, believing in its vision and urging people to use its services (without expecting any benefits in return). Of course, not every brand can turn its customers into evangelists, after all, it is impossible to influence the conversations we have with our acquaintances or the referrals we pass on to our closest friends. So to get people enthusiastic about sharing their experiences, you need to stimulate customer discussion, constantly engage with your brand communities and get friendly with social listening techniques.
The development of successful marketing is connected with the use of reviews posted on the net to make the company credible in the eyes of consumers. It is also about skilfully fuelling discussion around the brand in order to maintain interest in our products. If you want to establish authentic relations with your customers, make sure that you manage the online reviews properly and include customer experience in your communication strategy today.