How To Use Social Media Marketing For Word of Mouth Referrals

How information spreads has changed, but the weight of a word of mouth referrals hasn't. Traditionally, word of mouth referrals meant one person speaking to another to recommend products and services. Now it includes both natural processes and targeted social media management to create conversations online and in person. Discover what social media marketing has to do with word of mouth and how the right social media agency can make all the difference.

Written By Matthew Martin

March 15, 2018

What Is Social Media Tyler Saying About Your Brand?

How information spreads has changed, but the weight of a word of mouth referrals hasn’t.

Traditionally, word of mouth referrals meant one person speaking to another to recommend products and services. Now it includes both natural processes and targeted social media management to create conversations online and in person. Discover what social media marketing has to do with word of mouth and how the right social media agency can make all the difference.

Statistics About Word of Mouth Referrals

Most business owners accept that referrals impact buying choices. What’s shocking is how much they matter. Check out the results of Nielsen’s Harris Poll.

  • Word of mouth makes a huge difference in purchasing no matter what industry you’re in. While some age groups and income levels are more influenced by their peers, every industry sees a bump in sales from word of mouth.
  • 82 percent of Americans solicit input from family and friends when they’re thinking about making a purchase. Word of mouth matters even when it’s a small expense or short-term commitment.
  • 67 percent say they’re influenced to buy something when they see a friend or family member share it online or through email. Social media Tyler follows the same trends.
  • 78 percent of respondents say posts by companies they follow due to social media marketing affect their buying decisions.

In the past, word of mouth involved face to face or phone conversations between friends or groups. When a woman had fabulous new shoes, her friends wanted to know where she got them. If a man bought a new truck, his co-workers asked questions. They wanted to know if he got a good deal, what he thought of the features and whether or not it was as powerful as advertised.

Now the same process takes place, but many of those conversations are happening online and on social media.

Once teens and young adults see their friends wearing checkered Vans on Instagram, sales go up. When people see influencers like Beyonce wearing metallic temporary tattoos on social media, they search ravenously for their own. If everyone you know is suddenly talking on Facebook about the Instant Pot, you wonder if you should have one too.

An experienced social media marketing agency knows how to take control of those conversations and incorporate them into your social media management strategy to drive sales.

We Were Social Before Social Media Marketing

It’s possible the very first man looked to the very first woman for a referral on things like what food was good to eat. Maybe she made her recommendation based on what she had heard from an outside source.

People crave a connection with others, to be a part of and valued by the group. Social media management makes it easier for brands to join the conversation because, throughout history, mankind has always asked these questions:

  • Is this information trustworthy? Individuals ask if they align themselves with a product or brand’s social media marketing. Can they be confident it will create greater acceptance with their peers or could it cause rejection?
  • Is it something I really want? When people talk about brands there is often a real or intangible reward.
  • Is there risk involved? Individuals will not share if they feel doing so looks like spam to their friends, appears self-serving or might make them seem less cool.
  • Will it make me look good in front of other people? People genuinely want to help their friends and family members. It feels nice to be the expert or the first one with personal knowledge.
  • Is it worth my effort? Even if people are willing to share a word of mouth referral on social media, more steps means a lower success rate. Work with your social media agency to reduce friction wherever possible.

Whether conversations happen over the backyard fence, through email, on Facebook or by tweet, social media management aims to get people saying positive things about your brand. People are motivated to share word of mouth referrals when there’s enough social capital to overcome the social risk.

Related Article: Five Powerful Reasons Why Online Reviews Are So Important

Brands fail at social media marketing when they focus on collecting users instead of connecting with them.

It’s very important that you find a social media agency that knows how to improve engagement on every front.

How To Use Social Media Marketing For Word of Mouth Referrals - Spade Design - Social Media

Stages of Consumer Engagement

Have you ever spent a huge sum on ads, promotions and outreach and felt like the money just evaporated? Once the sale was over and the new product was launched you might have made a little profit, but you had to go back to the drawing board to find more new clients.

Sales and marketing generate revenue, but they don’t always make the kind of emotional connection that creates repeat traffic and loyal customers. Customer loyalty isn’t dead, it just takes a different kind of effort and working with a qualified social media agency to connect.

Gallup has been conducting public opinion polls since 1935. The founder recognized people love both to share what they think and to compare their opinions to those of others. Before the first social media agency, polls were analyzing how consumers make decisions and what makes them form strong emotions about a brand.

The Gallup CE3 categorizes consumers as fully engaged, indifferent, or actively disengaged. Engaged customers feel an emotional attachment to their brand. They will pay more for it if necessary and do without if it’s not available. They actively look for others willing to listen to how much they believe in the product or service. These customers give your social media marketing strategy a huge boost.

Indifferent customers don’t really care either way. If someone asks them what they think, they’ll give a brief review, but they’re willing to try substitutes. Through social media management, you may be able to sway them toward engagement.

Actively disengaged customers are looking for another option. They are dissatisfied. They share it on social media Tyler and everywhere else they find an outlet.

Related Article: How Your Blog and Social Media Management Work Together

So What Creates That Emotional Connection?

Users feel engaged and practically do your social media marketing for you when the following is true:

  • They feel the company consistently does what they promise or performs as well as expected.
  • Consumers can feel proud to associate themselves with the brand because of its quality and values.
  • They feel the organization represents “people like me.”

The Typical Buying Journey

Most of the time, marketing efforts focus on moving buyers through the sales funnel. During the awareness phase, a potential buyer hears about your organization through an ad, word of mouth, social media marketing or online search.

If they move to the interest phase, they spend time researching. At this point they may ask friends or family members on social media Tyler what they know.

Based on what they find, they may proceed to the desired stage where they begin to feel a need for your goods or services. In the action phase, they commit.

If the process ends here, all you have is a sale.

Maybe you mailed promotions to create awareness. You played radio ads for two weeks ahead of the event to increase interest. Then you paid extra staff to work the sale so it was easy to commit, and all Bob bought is a taco. It was a good taco, but you’re not the only choice in town.

Unless you follow up, next time he’s hungry he’s an easy target for your competitors. You could lose him forever. That’s where social media management comes in.

Arguably the most important part occurs after the sale. Social media Tyler and word of mouth referrals provide tools for turning one-time buyers into advocates. Continue the funnel after the transaction to complete these stages:

  • Support – Check with the buyer to find out about their experience. If it was good, they’ll appreciate your concern. If it wasn’t, this is where you make things right.
  • Loyalty – When the customer realizes you care about them after the sale, they feel a positive connection. You didn’t just sell them a taco, you care about how they feel. As they continue to encounter you on social media Tyler, their feelings deepen.
  • Advocacy – This is the goal. Buyers start offering word of mouth referral in person and alongside your social media marketing.

Related Article: Why You Need a Social Media Management Strategy

How to Create a Buzz

To get users to the advocacy stage and keep them there, you have to stay connected. That’s where careful social media management comes in. Create valuable content and use social media Tyler to share it.

Why should you invest the time and effort in content creation? Because 61 percent of customers feel businesses who share industry knowledge through custom content care about them.

It strengthens the bond with your audience like no amount of promotional material can. They become more likely to buy from your company.

When social media strategy is paired with content marketing like blogging, it acts as a powerful accelerant for word of mouth referrals. Advocates have tools to share your brand. Users just entering the loyalty stage become more solidly committed.

Before you start sharing content as part of your social media management strategy, make sure it brings referrals to your website. Talk to your social media agency about making sure social profiles are complete, professional and accurate and that they make it easy for customers to contact you.

Related Article: Five Powerful Reasons Why Online Reviews Are So Important

Unforgettable Social Media Marketing Experiences

Start with a quality product that addresses a unique need or appeals to a specific group. Then make every interaction customers have with you unforgettable by doing the following:

  • Prioritize the user experience on your website. Sites should be responsive and optimized for mobile. Offer accessibility for those with disabilities. Make it easy to find and effortless to navigate so every interaction is a pleasure, not a frustration.
  • Tighten inventory control and customer service. Social media management is vital, but clients value things like expedited shipping and readily available support just as much.
  • Go above and beyond on social media Tyler and through every other point of contact. If customers expressed a need in your store, you would require staff to make every effort to provide a positive experience. Do the same online through your social media management.
  • Use social media visuals that amaze so users just have to share.
  • Ask your social media agency how to monitor online conversations about your brand. That way you can say thank you any time someone makes a positive comment.
  • Provide incentives that encourage referrals. Eighty-eight percent of Americans say they’re more likely to share using social media or email if it gains them money, loyalty points, early access or swag. Social media Tyler users share when they have something to gain.

Related Article: What Your Business Should Know About Snapchat

At Spade Design, one of our most important principles is a constant improvement to stay ahead of the technology curve. Whether you need web design, SEO or social media management, we’re the social media agency that can help you do the same. Get in touch with one of our experts today.


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