“Free publicity and word of mouth is probably the best and cheapest form of advertising.
Learn to use it to your advantage.” 
— Richard Branson

Word of mouth (WOM) works when your customers do your marketing for you, but the idea that it is a passive strategy — beyond your control — is a misconception.  

There are countless ways you can jumpstart WOM, but today let’s focus on social media. It’s not the only strategy, but it can be very powerful and easy to use once you’ve mastered the basics. 
Positive online social interactions are the gift that keeps giving 
When customers reference your business in images and comments on their social media accounts, you’ll get immediate attention within their network of followers. Then, when one of your customer’s followers engages with your customer’s post, the new mention ripples through another network of contacts. And, when you engage with your customer’s post, you get an impromptu opportunity to deliver a message about your business that will reach friends and “friends of friends” of your customer.
 
Viral social media case study
A recent TikTok video that went viral demonstrates this “ripple” effect on a large scale. A TikTok user posted a short video of himself chugging an Ocean Spray beverage out of the bottle while skateboarding and lip-syncing to a 70s Fleetwood Mac song. Within days, millions of viewers shared his TikTok video. Hundreds of major media publications published online stories referencing it. 
 
As a result, a decades-old song skyrocketed to the Rolling Stone Magazine’s top 100 downloads list and there was a run on Ocean Spray cranberry-raspberry juice. Ocean Spray leveraged the free publicity by delivering a generous gift to the user that kept the good vibes — and the media coverage — going strong for days. 
Lay the groundwork for social sharing
Most of us won’t achieve millions of views with our posts, but we can benefit from the lessons of this case study. The keys to creating the ripple effect are:
  • Have active social media channels already in place
  • Make sure your customers can find your business account on social media platforms 
  • Engage with your followers
Post frequently and respond to your customers’ posts on your account. Make it easy for customers to find you online by identifying your social media “handles,” or account links everywhere — on printed documents, advertising, your email signature and in-store signage. Now you’re ready for your customers to spread the word about how much they love your business.
 
If you would like a complimentary coaching session or you have any questions about this blogpost, please send me an email.
About the author,

As an ActionCOACH Business Coach from Chicago North Shore, I understand that time is your most valuable asset. Now, I can help you recreate your dreams and vision…and accomplish the goals you first set out to achieve with your business. Ultimately, you will experience a better quality of life because of your commitment to invest in yourself with the help of an ActionCOACH Business Coach and personal mentor.

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