Generating leads and conversions isn’t easy! Competition is fierce and every business is desperately trying innovative ways to stand out. Not to miss, how tough it is to gain the approval of the modern digital customer.
I know what you’re thinking! How can one possibly thrive in such a cut-throat environment? Well, I have good news for you! There’s one powerful ‘social’ currency that can be leveraged to gain customer trust and drive conversions and profits.
The power of word-of-mouth marketing!
Word of mouth is as effective in today’s hyper-connected world as it was in the past. Check out these stats put together by Yotpo.
When looking out for a product or service, customers don’t stop at Google. They visit your website, blog, and social media profile to get a glimpse of what others are saying about your brand. Therefore, it’s critical to have a well-rounded strategy to improve your overall business image, thus encouraging your followers to become loyal brand advocates.
Use the winning tips shared below to multiply your happy customer base and strengthen your brand’s reputation.
1. Count on User-Generated Content
UGC is a customers’ way of expressing how much they value a brand. It can include videos, pictures, reviews, testimonials, tweets, and even posts about the customers’ authentic experiences with a brand. Regardless of the format, this organic content is more influential and click-worthy than the priciest traditional advertising campaigns ever used.
Check out these stats that prove how UGC can influence brand image and conversions.
Remember the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign? Through this campaign, Coke gave its customers a sense of ownership and attachment to the brand – a foolproof recipe for generating authentic and relatable content!
People trust people! So, if you want to spread positive messages about your brand, include UGC in your marketing arsenal.
Use these questions to carve a solid UGC strategy for your brand.
i. What’s the Purpose of Your Campaign?
UGC can be used for improving brand awareness, procuring specific product feedback, and boosting customer trust and loyalty. Determine what you want out of your campaign.
Further, decide the type of content format. For instance, Apple’s #ShotOnIphone campaign wouldn’t have been impactful if the content type was merely blog posts.
Source : Instagram
What can be more authentic than a user vouching for a product they trust? Apple was quick to realize the power of UGC and is running the #ShotOnIphone campaign to encash a phone user’s dissatisfaction over an average smartphone camera. This helps in spreading a strong positive word about the iPhone camera.
Finally, you also need to determine where you will be using the content. Will you reposting it on other social channels or adding it to your website?
ii. What Does Your Audience Want?
User-generated content appeals to two types of audiences, one who generates it (content generators) and the other who consumes it (content consumers). Hence, you need to consider a two-pronged approach to address both these audiences.
Who are your content generators? What’s their motivation for creating and sharing content for you? Are they attracted to a promotional offer or simply love a product feature? What’s their buy persona? Use a similar set of questions to determine the audience that consumes this content.
iii. What’s Your Campaign Theme?
This clearly depends on your brand personality and the target audience. If your brand has a confident appeal, the UGC campaign should stick to that. Also, consider whether you want to drive a specific cause or address a specific pain point along with your theme.
Check out how Aerie, a brand of American Eagle, introduced the #aeriereal campaign to address the issue of body shaming and promote body positivity among young women.
Similarly, Crocs’ #Comeasyouare campaign celebrates the uniqueness of individuals. It inspired people around the world to ‘be comfortable in their own shoes’ and post photos and videos wearing the product. They also partnered with top influencers like Zooey Deschanel to boost their online image.
2. Share Authoritative Content
Relevant and authoritative content is what improves brand awareness, attracts leads, retains customers, and encourages them to become loyal followers. In fact, an infographic by Demand Metric shares that content marketing costs 62 percent less than the traditional marketing campaigns yet fetches 3X as many leads.
Take some time to review the websites, blogs, or social media profiles of a few successful brands like Sephora, Nike, Adidas, SAP, American Express, and HubSpot. You’ll find that they share awesome, relatable, and engaging content in their niche.
Check out SAP’s website, for instance. The European MNC is well-known for sharing authoritative content in the form of whitepapers and newsletters that effectively guide customers through managing their business operations and customer relations.
So, what’s the mantra for creating authoritative content?
i. Showcase Your Work
A great way of showing off yourself as an expert in a niche is to share a case study or recent research. In this type of content, you need to focus on three areas –
- Initiate a study or research.
- Follow up on the results.
- Share the real numbers with your analysis through an article.
ii. Share Your Take on a Subject
If you are passionate about a subject or have done an in-depth analysis on a specific topic, start by sharing about it on LinkedIn or renowned publishing platforms like Medium.
Check out how Gary Vaynerchuk keep sharing interesting and authoritative articles on LinkedIn. His posts not just provide a direction to his followers but also help in strengthening his personal and business image.
I am passionate about content marketing and SEO and like sharing my take on the recent content trends or the latest Google algorithm updates to add value to my followers. By expressing my views I am able to connect with my audience across all platforms and boost my authority in the content niche.
iii. Challenge Popular Beliefs
Challenging a popular belief by offering a logical argument is another way to establish authority. Sharing such content not only stirs curiosity but also helps the audience appreciate and respect your unique point of view.
Hashtags, for instance, are considered as the backbone of Instagram marketing, leading people to blindly use them in their posts. However, Mention.com challenged this popular belief with a report that proves otherwise. They further go on to guide their readers on how to effectively use hashtags on Instagram.
Such type of content is bound to make your brand look more authoritative, thereby improving your online reputation.
3. Collaborate with Influencers
As I mentioned before, people trust people, not ads or branded content! In fact, influencer marketing has become a core part of every business’s online strategy for a good reason. A new report by Edelman reveals that people trust influencers more than brands.
Most successful brands are using the power of influencer marketing to share relatable content and win customer trust and loyalty.
Check out how Dr. Barbara Sturm, a brand of skincare products has collaborated with Jaime King, a beauty influencer to improve its reach and brand image.
Notice how Glossier, yet another brand of skincare products has partnered with Sir John, the celebrity makeup artist to improve brand awareness and encourage followers to try their products and talk about them on social media.
Connect with influencers, micro influencers, nano influencers, and thought leaders in your niche to trigger a positive word-of-mouth marketing for your brand. Make sure you quote influencers in your content and encourage them to try your products or services, allowing them to passionately promote your brand to their audience.
4. Don’t Underestimate the Role of SEO in Online Reputation Management
Even before a prospect has connected with you, they have looked up your business on Google or other search engines. Also, the chances of a search result being clicked reduces as you get farther from the first SERP.
Check out this chart by SEO Hacker.
Therefore, it’s critical to have your business featured on the first page itself.
It goes without saying, good SEO tactics play a critical role in boosting your search presence and improving your online reputation. SEO is not just about placing the right keywords in your content. It encompasses content creation and optimization, link building, keyword research, social media and list management, and other tactics to help you rank higher in search engines and grow your online influence.
Take time to develop a comprehensive SEO strategy for your business. If required, consult an SEO expert to improve your business exposure, rank for the relevant keywords, and foster a positive online reputation.
A positive word of mouth can lay a solid foundation for your business, allowing you to build a community (not just a commodity!) around your brand. No marketing is as effective as the brand experience shared by happy and engaged customers.
Use the tips and strategies shared above to experience the power of word of mouth!