Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool because people listen to it.
People trust what their friends, family, and peers have to say, far more than they trust ads and other messages that come straight from your business. So, when someone positively shares a business with their friends, the friends are more likely to become your customers.
Word-of-mouth might seem hard to predict and control, but there are plenty of ways to get people talking about your brand. Here are our top ways to generate positive word-of-mouth.
1. Stand Out With Your Products/Services
The first step in getting people to talk about you is delivering products or services so stellar, they’re better than what your competition has to offer. But even better? If you create a product or service that’s so innovative, it has no real competition. Under Armour did this when they created moisture-wicking athletic wear: people can’t stop talking about it because there’s no other product like it on the market.
2. Surprise with Customer Service
Top-notch customer service is vital for any business. But to really get people talking about you, deliver unique customer service surprises. For example, offer free refreshments in-store, send customers free gifts or coupons on their birthdays, surprise them with free service upgrades, or mail handwritten, personal thank-you-notes. The possibilities are endless! People will let their friends know about your gestures because they feel appreciated.
3. Promote User-Generated Content (UGC)
Any brand can - and should - promote and leverage user-generated content (UGC). The images, videos, and other branded social media content your customers make puts your name in front of many people at once for free. Plus, UGC feels more genuine to your audience than posts that your own brand makes. Use these strategies to promote UGC:
- Hold a contest, and offer enticing prizes to the people who make the best-quality posts.
- Start a regular social media feature, where you frequently repost the best posts that use a branded hashtag or that tag your account (with permission, of course.) #aeriereal by American Eagle’s Aerie is an awesome example---Aerie uses these untouched photos from customers, in line with their commitment to show real bodies and not heavily edited photos.
- Create a “challenge” or “campaign” where people complete a branded task, tag your brand’s social account, and use a hashtag you create. Even if people don’t participate, they’ll still share other people’s UGC with their friends if they enjoy it.
- Initiate a giving campaign, where you make a donation to a worthy cause for each post where someone completes a certain task. For example, in Disney’s #shareyourears campaign, for every post users shared displaying Mickey ears or other creative ears in a given timeframe, Disney donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Although the donation period has ended, the hashtag continues to be a very popular way for people to share their Disney experiences.
4. Set Yourself Up to Go Viral
Okay, I know it’s impossible to guarantee that one of your social media posts will go viral. Nobody can predict internet trends! But still, you can follow a formula to create posts that get plenty of people talking.
- Know what your audience wants from content, and deliver. Do they want to be entertained? To be informed? To be inspired?
- Make sure your message is clear, so your audience understands what the campaign’s about (and so it’s easy to share).
- Create an eye-catching image or video!
- Tap into emotional triggers. Wendy’s does this masterfully with their witty, on-trend Tweets and Instagram posts - they always know how to surprise and make people laugh. Below, they take aim at the iPhone 11.
5. Create Experiences
Crafting a unique event or experience centered around your brand’s values really makes an impact that people can’t help but talk about. Whether it’s an elaborate event that people know about in advance or a guerrilla marketing stunt that takes people by surprise, make sure that it’s highly shareable on social media.
Red Bull does this with their extreme stunts, high-energy sporting events, and adrenaline-filled competitions. And Bumble focuses on bringing the users of its app together to interact, network...and share their experiences with friends on social. For example, they built a mindfulness experience where users could enjoy a highly Instagrammable rose-smelling wall, take in a virtual beach experience, and share what they are thankful for.
6. Craft Insider Info
If you create a “secret” club, exclusive event, or insider piece of info that offers enticing advantages beyond what’s publicly broadcasted, your customers will be eager to share it because they want their friends to experience the same benefits.
The Bumble experiences are one example - people can only learn about and access these events if they are active on the Bumble app. And you’ve probably heard of In-N-Out’s “secret” menu items from long-standing customers who love them. Can’t get enough of the “animal style” burger and fries? Thank word-of-mouth!
7. Ask for Reviews
Reviews are a vital word-of-mouth tool because they’re an easy way for people to gauge others’ opinions about your products with a quick search. So, it’s in your best interest to encourage positive reviews from your customers.
The trick is to ask customers for reviews directly, when you know they’re happiest. Usually, this will be after a purchase (especially after a repeat purchase), after you know you’ve delivered stellar customer service, or after they’ve made a glowing social post or comment about you.
8. Start a Referral Program
A Referral program makes it easier for customers to share with their friends, and reward them for doing so.
If you set up a dedicated referral program page or pop-up, people can directly share your business with their peers, using the platform that works best for them (like email, social media or SMS).
Colourpop’s referral marketing program, via Referral Marketing School.
Also, since they offer enticing incentives for people who refer their friends (such as discounts, store credits and free products), referral programs are an awesome way to motivate people to share your brand.
And if you use a referral program software, measuring your referral program’s ROI is easy, as it tracks all of the referrals for you.
Most importantly, referral programs are powerful. Referrals are 4 times more likely to make a purchase than friends who aren’t referred!
Now that you’ve learned these 8 valuable ways to drive word-of-mouth, it’s time to activate one or more of these strategies and get people talking!