In this article, I dig deeper into how social media can help ease some of the online problems companies run into. Today’s issue is one that can be resolved by the oldest technique of all, the Word of Mouth Marketing. The problem presents itself as –
My website generates one-off clients and they rarely come back or recommend me.
It is very common for a business to heavily rely on returning or recommended customers instead of waiting for new enquiries. Unless you have a good search engine ranking or a strong enough budget to support constant and widespread advertising, the key to survival is to make sure that your customers are happy enough with your service to recommend you wholeheartedly.
You shouldn’t underestimate the value of word of mouth, as it constitutes the spine of any small business aiming for success in their first years. This kind of marketing involves a lot more effort than money, which helps companies with small marketing budgets and is proven to be the most consistent way of sustaining a brand.
If you are sure of the quality of what you offer, then positive word of mouth should be the result. But sometimes clients aren’t outspoken about their satisfaction without a little nudge from your part.
In a nutshell, use Linkedin if you are a “business to business” company, or use Facebook if your target is more varied and broad, perhaps that of a ‘lifestyle’ brand selling to the consumer. We have found that Twitter tends to work across all markets.
All of these networks offer private messaging and public posting, the latter being the best way to show how you care for your customers. If clients are happy with your service but they forget to let the world about it, then you should put in more effort on PR, client communications and word of mouth marketing through social media.
The power of WOMM (Word of Mouth Marketing)
According to Nielsen, up to 92% of users are more likely to follow the advice of friends and family than to trust traditional advertising.
This article by Forbes on Word of Mouth Marketing, written by Kimberly A. Whitler in 2014, stays relevant even today. It taps into the reasons why connecting to clients should be the first priority when trying to attract social media attention.
Using a more public tool than email to handle some of your client’s communications and analyse client reception will open you to user feedback. As professionals, we should always take comments on board. In the process, you will get the attention of others and show them what kind of service they can expect from you.
Social Tools to manage client communications and feedback
Overall, Facebook and Twitter, thanks to their immediate nature, will allow you to connect to your existing users. This makes monitoring their satisfaction easier and helps you track how likely they are to recommend you to others.
Programs like HootSuite make the process of interacting with users a piece of cake, as they aggregate all of them in one place. Follow up each interaction to keep the conversation going and increase the likelihood of spreading the message.
Don’t forget to setup notifications on your devices, greet new followers and answer tweets and mentions at lightning speed to make sure they see your passion and interest. This, in turn, will have a ripple effect by showing others how you take a proactive approach to satisfying your clients.
Linkedin, who is who in the Business World
For more B2B oriented businesses, Linkedin serves the same purpose. Put your services and products on your profile and let the word of mouth do the rest.
Why not openly ask your clients to review you on one of these networks?
Why not follow up with some tips, offers or comments to make sure they know how much you value them?
By letting others see you in action, you are not only likely to reach more users,but you will do so in a way that is genuine and will make you more attractive than a direct marketing campaign.
And don’t forget about emails, but don’t be spammy!
Make sure you keep all your clients’ emails on a spreadsheet, to then communicate your offers, news and updates (only if they agree) and they will truly benefit from them. MailChimp, one of the biggest email campaign managers, will allow you to use it for free for the first 2,000 subscribers. It has an online template editor that will let you setup campaigns and send them to a small segment or the whole list. Use this to target small clusters of users and offer them personalised messages, offers or free tips every now and then. Once sent, any campaign monitor will let you see the amount of users that actually open your emails.
Treat emails with caution, and make sure you are not spamming them with irrelevant information. Offer them a way to unsubscribe if they want, which in term will tell you who is more inclined to this type of communication, and adapt your strategy to cater for all of them.
We can’t forget that the best way to do word of mouth is by talking directly with our clients. But in this day and age, not everyone can afford to follow up their clients in person. While some may feel that social media can take the human component out of communications, using them correctly can actually add that component back into the mix.