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Shivjeet Ghatge, CEO & Co-founder, StepSetGo
WOM generates two times more sales than paid ads.
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The power of dialogue: How Word-of-mouth has become a powerful marketing strategy in the era of social media

WOM generates two times more sales than paid ads.
  • Shivjeet Ghatge, CEO & Co-founder, StepSetGo writes how Word of Mouth, a conventional tool continues to sustain in the unconventional world of social media marketing.
  • He suggests how WOMM can become an integral part of the sustainable growth of a brand.
In the hustle and bustle of the social media world as onlookers, we are often attracted by the lives of influencers. They are continually showcasing their purchases, experiences and not to forget brand associations, making us want to own all those things and more. Personally, even I have succumbed to these enticing portrayals. It only redefines the power of Word of Mouth, a conventional tool in the unconventional world of social media marketing.

In simple words, WOM marketing is getting positive experiences of using the brand, product, or service of the customer out during social interactions or conversations with friends, family, or on social media. It is the most organic form of the initial impression that a brand can bring out without having to invest any money. According to recent studies, WOM generates two times more sales than paid ads. Experts say that it can influence consumers at every stage from the initial consideration, on-going evaluation, to the moment of purchase. In short, WOM goes the extra mile as compared to advertising. It is driven by what friends, family, or peers feel, creating an everlasting imprint about the brand.

We live in times where one is bombarded with information about the brand from every possible direction. The target audience has matured immensely over the years and refrains from falling prey to billboards, TV commercials, or unbelievable offers. The consumer is aware of all the hacks that a brand owner is trying to sway them. This upswing of advertising and marketing tactics in recent times has only declined the recall value for the brands in the real sense. However, it has led the customer to look for a relatable source of information that is as unbiased as possible. WOM plays a significant role here, right from introducing the product to building brand loyalty. To be precise, let's say a consumer is providing positive information to the next consumer and so on, creating a chain of endorsement for the brand. Business owners have realized this potential WOMM holds and have quickly adopted the tool in every possible way to create as many brand influencers as possible.

The fact is that the consumer is in control today of what they want, how they want it and when they want it. Partnering with the consumer is not an option anymore for the brand; it is the need of the hour. An inside view of the brand to the consumer will create a win-win situation for both. It is only wise that we realize the changing dynamics of the rising power of consumer control and make them an essential arm of the organization’s messages through word of mouth.

Let us look at how WOMM can become an integral part of the sustainable growth of a brand.

Clear articulation:

When people endorse, they are not sharing the tagline or a jingle with their best friend. They are merely sharing a fair opinion about the service, product, or brand. Having clarity and defining the language is vital to replicate seamless messaging through WOM. However, the consumer will choose a style that will be more reliable and convincing.

Recognize your audience:

It is crucial to classify, inform and encourage influencers thoroughly. Consumers who already talk about the brand should be used to spawn more WOM for the brand. Recognizing and acknowledging the users and people who unfailingly speak about the brand is the best way to gain affinity and a positive WOM.

Engage end to end:

The next step is engaging with your customers. Be a part of conversations, reply to comments, address issues, and acknowledge the messages. Engaging with customers is a passive yet active way of achieving a strong following. Don’t just build customers; aim at creating a connection with them as this leads to incredible insights. Consumers appreciate when their favourite brand interacts and connects with them. It is a gesture that helps in forming a long-lasting loyalty leading to exponential growth. For better engagement, connect with social media influencers and product reviewers. A useful review by famous and influential personalities helps lift your online reputation, attracting more attention to your brand.

Rewarding & acknowledging:

An event or an experience usually triggers word of mouth. Gifts, excellent service, and added benefits, along with a quality product, adds to the overall appeal of the brand. These triggers create a striking recall value for the brand and give customers good talking points. Additionally, expressing gratitude and rewarding the consumer is nothing but nurturing the organic influencer of the brand that skyrockets WOM.

Being a start-up entrepreneur, I feel while building a brand, creating a user base that is organic and loyal is one of the key growth drivers. WOM plays a measurable role in achieving growth with defined numbers at every junction. WOM is like an old wine in a new bottle, and one cannot ignore the role it plays in building a sustainable brand. It is only wise to consider WOMM along with other growth drivers of the communication mix. Go ahead and get people talking about your brand and your business. That’s the easiest, quickest, and most powerful way to grow!

- By Shivjeet Ghatge, CEO & Cofounder, StepSetGo