How to Leverage Social Media to Amplify Word of Mouth Marketing

Another killer presentation at Social Media Marketing World was by Jay Baer. I was in awe when he entered the stage as I have read all of his books, including Youtility and Hug Your Haters. Jay took us back to basics as he talked about the power of Word of Mouth Marketing and explained how this method should be a number one priority for all businesses in 2018.

His opening slide was extremely powerful.

by 2020, a majority of purchase decisions will be based on customer experience

The Expectation Experience

We all have an expectation when we work with a company. Your customers have an expectation everytime they interact with you or a member of your team, or with your brand. If you can exceed expectations throughout their experience and give your customers that warm fuzzy feeling, then your customers will turn into volunteer marketers.

91% of all B2B purchases are caused by word-of-mouth *USM

If you are making a business purchase then it is rare to buy something without checking it out first. This may be via references, reviews, or simply asking friends, colleagues and business partners. Knowing that word-of-mouth is essential to the sales pipeline, it made me realise that as a business, we did not have a plan to ensure that word-of-mouth is happening for our business. We did not have a plan to actually make it happen.

As the penny started to drop Jay mentioned two phrases that made my spine shiver

Phase one — Good is a four letter word (it is not good enough).

If you are trying to be good at what you do then it is not good enough. You can not succeed in business by being “good”. Everyone is good. You need to be noticeable, not just good.

Phase two — Same is lame (shudder!).

No-one says “let me tell you about this average experience I just had”. If you are afraid to put your head above the parapet and do something different then you will always be average. We need to have the courage to do something different. As humans we talk to others about things that are different, we do not spread the word about things that are lame or average.

Talk Triggers

I was all ears at this point. I wanted to know how could I implement a word-of-mouth marketing plan and what ideas could I come up with to help me create something different and unique. As he progressed onto the subject of Talk Triggers, I realised that this was something that I do naturally although I didn’t realise until Jay pointed it out how powerful it was. Talk triggers are the posh way of saying “stories”. Storytelling is such an old way of marketing, but it works! What stories can you tell your customers who will then spread the word about you and your brand? What is your hook? What do people see when they are going about their everyday life that will remind them of you?

I realised that people tend to think of Green Umbrella when they see a giraffe. People remember the giraffe fart story and we are tagged in pictures of giraffes on a daily basis. That is one of our “Talk Triggers” — what is your talk trigger?

50% of all word-of-mouth is online

Three Ways to Use Social Media to Boost Word-Of-Mouth

Jay gave all sorts of examples of talk triggers. From the hotel chain called The Graduate that have special room keys with student IDs on them, to The Cheesecake Factory where the menu is like a book. I was sitting on the edge of my seat as he then said: “I am now going to show you three ways in which to use social media to boost word-of-mouth”. I’m all ears….

#1 — Find your talk triggers

It is important to find your talk triggers. Sometimes you don’t realise, as you may be too close to the business, but some of the things that you are doing already may already be talk triggers. When I returned from San Diego I was on a mission to find our talk triggers. We send actual birthday cards to customers, we also send postcards in the post once we have visited a client, our sessions are fun, and we usually end up with the client doing something random with a 5ft blow-up giraffe, but I still thought it was best to ask the audience. The results from my questions were eye-opening and I now understand what the Green Umbrella talk triggers are, hence we now have a word-of-mouth marketing plan.

Finding your talk triggers is essential.

#2 — Measure Your Talk Triggers

The same as any form of marketing, it is important to measure those results. Search on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for your business. What are people talking about? Jay gave the example of DoubleTree Hilton Hotel where they always give away a free warm cookie. I secretly chuckled to myself as only the week previously had I posted on Facebook a picture of me demolishing a warm chocolate cookie that I had from the Double Tree Hilton in Luton. The same week I had also posted crumpets with cheese on them which were given out during the break out session from the Aztec Hotel in Bristol. This was their hook. This was their Talk Trigger and I was helping to spread the word without me realising that this is what I was doing. Brilliant marketing!

If you are in the B2C world, then surely it is much easier to go above and beyond and ignite talk triggers. All of the examples that Jay gave were all B2C, so I scratched my head thinking that it would be great to have that sort of traction for my business.

#3 — Promote your talk triggers

In this section, Jay talked about free stuff. How many people love free stuff? We love a bargain, and one talk trigger from a holiday park was to give away free sun cream to all customers as well as free soft drinks. In fact, if you go onto trip advisor, you will find that the top rated theme park in the whole of the USA is not Disneyland, but a small family run theme park called Holiday World. They have the most reviews and nearly every rating includes a mention of free drinks and free sun cream.

In both the Double Tree and Holiday World, the companies are well aware of their talk triggers so they promote these elements in their social media. It’s important to make sure people know that you have something different.

Four key elements to an effective talk trigger

#1 — Be remarkable

Have you ever read ‘The Purple Cow’ by Seth Godin? It’s a brilliant book that talks about being different. Doing something remarkable simply means that it has to be something worthy of remark. Jay mentioned a hamburger chain in the US that ask people to “pick a card” from a deck of regular playing cards when the customer places the order. If the customer picks the joker then the meal is free. It doesn’t stop there. If someone does win then the whole restaurant goes wild. They do a Facebook live, they are on SnapChat and photos galore. This happens approximately three times a day and wow, how powerful is that?

#2 — Your talk trigger must be repeatable

Your talk trigger must be repeatable. If you send cakes to one client for their birthday, then this should be the norm for all of your clients. If you are not consistent with your message then this can breed contempt. What if one customer at the hamburger place was not offered to pick a card — how many people will he/she tell this to? Consistency is paramount.

#3 — Your talk trigger needs to be reasonable

Customers are suspicious. Do not have a talk trigger that is too big as people just don’t trust it. We are all sceptical nowadays and we have the notion of if something is too good to be true then it probably is. Sending something valuable is not always the right approach.

#4 — Your talk trigger needs to be relevant

How many times have you seen a competition where someone gives away an iPad? The only company that should do that is Apple. Whatever you are giving away, it should be relevant. Your talk trigger needs to make sense.

Summary

Talk triggers work because people have the power. Your customers trust each other more than they trust a brand. Companies simply beating their own chest in social media no longer works. The key to building your business is not shouting louder, but getting your customers to volunteer market and do it for you. Customers will only voice their passion for your business if you give them a story to tell. What are you doing that is different? What story are you creating that sets you apart from your customers?

Originally published at www.green-umbrella.biz on May 24, 2018.

Marketing Agency, specialising in the recruitment sector.