Word-of-mouth is undeniably the most powerful form of marketing. While you can’t force your users to tell their friends about your service, you can do your best to delight and make it easy for them to spread the word. If your customers love your brand, or just had an experience that exceeded their expectations, they will find a way to share it. However, more often than not, you have to build in the tools that gently nudge, and even incentivize, customers to share.
There are a couple of methods to encourage word-of-mouth, but it also comes down to the way they are executed. Slapping a couple of social media icons on a physical product isn’t going to cut it.
Social Media Icon
The goal is always to get customers back to your site, but the biggest mistake you can make is to omit social media icons from your website and blog. Second only to email marketing, your company’s social media accounts are your best bet to staying top of mind with your customers. Inviting visitors to join you on social media, increases the odds of them coming back and eventually buying your services.
If your social media icons aren’t prominent, visitors will rarely, if ever, search for your company on their preferred social network. Think it ends here? Including icons is only the first step. Your icons should include the updated version of each social network’s logo or a visually pleasing version that ties in with your design. Before getting visitors to click, and ultimately convince them to follow through, you must provide them with some incentive. There’s no need to promise the Motorola X to everyone, unless your investors have spare cash, simply let them know what it’s it in for them if they do click through. Do you share expert advice on your brand’s Twitter profile? Can they be the first to hear of limited time offers on your Facebook Page? Is your LinkedIn Company Page the best place for industry reports? If you offer visitors valuable content, they will be happy to connect with you on their preferred social network.
Social Sharing Buttons
Including social sharing buttons on your site, appeals to those who aren’t quite ready to connect with your brand on social media. Gaining a long-term loyal fan is ideal, but if the individual wouldn’t have been engaged a one-time update might prove to be even more valuable. The update will reach the visitor’s audience, amplify your message, and might even lead to new and engaged users.
Most individuals are keen to update their status with new content, so don’t be afraid to ask them to share the infographic you spent hours on. Inviting visitors to share your blog posts might be a given, but consider also including social sharing buttons across your site. If you’ve recently launched, adding social sharing buttons on your home page is a great way to create a buzz around your startup and improve your SEO. Well-established brands may also take advantage of this method, by inviting visitors to share individual products and services as a way to recommend them to their friends.
Sharing Social Actions
In order to maintain momentum, consider incorporating automatic shares of social actions. Users should be able to access and change these settings at any point; however, some actions can be shared by default. These are typically associated with in app actions, but they are also applicable to the web. Here are some examples of user actions that can get your brand in front of their friends:
• Signed up to a site
• Signed up to a newsletter
• Donated to a cause
• Endorsed another member
• Redeemed an offer
• Purchased a service
• Reviewed a service
• Liked a service
• Votes in a poll
• Up voted content
• Uploaded content
Only select a few core actions, as you do not want to create any additional clutter in your audience’s newsfeed. If you’re concerned about your users’ privacy, encourage users to opt in but be sure to avoid sharing information they may deem sensitive without their consent.
Invite Your Friends
Before social media ever entered the picture, brands would encourage customers to share their friends’ phone numbers, physical addresses, and emails. While email has remained a viable way to invite friends, many people prefer the convenience of reaching out to their social media contacts. Some individuals may not even have the emails of all of their online friends, yet they still have the power to influence buying decisions.
Delivering a phenomenal experience, high-quality products, and optimized sites are all necessary ingredients to increase the odds of invites. However, once the invite is out, all that is left to convert your customers’ friends is the copy. If your copy isn’t persuasive and creative enough to win over a new customer, all of your efforts have gone to waste.
Creating compelling copy takes some practice, but a good way to start is to examine other sites and the copy that gets you to take action. Adding an incentive for your customers’ friends to join will also lead to increased conversion, especially if both individuals stand to gain something.
Hopefully these tips will help you leverage your current customers, and increase your brand’s reach through a few simple steps.
[Image via Airbnb]
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