Wednesday, October 14, 2015

5 Ways to Leverage Social Word-of-Mouth Marketing

By Dennis O'malley

Television media companies appear to be the first to leverage social word-of-mouth marketing across screens to keep audiences engaged and tuned in. You've probably seen several shows and events display a stream of tweets or Facebook posts directly on your TV or the stage set. Why? It comes down to engagement, and a new way media brands can further connect with viewers. By leveraging the power of their social network investments, TV media companies are broadcasting handpicked, visual word-of-mouth marketing expressions from passionate advocates to build a sense of community with audiences — all of which helps drive viewership and engagement.

Retail brands should take notice because consumer brand expression on social platforms is booming. The best word-of-mouth marketing is user-generated content. On the social web, this means Facebook wall posts and comments, Instagram photo sharing, Pinterest boards, tweets (especially accompanied by a photo), and YouTube videos. A retailer's best brand advocates are socially engaged and enjoy sharing testimonials and content that's authentic and shows a real passion for the brand.
The payoff for amplifying social testimonials on retailer shopping pages is measurable and significant, including the following:
  • increases in page conversions;
  • increases in page traffic; and
  • increases in online revenue.
Daniel Neukomm, strategy leader for La Jolla Group, a multibrand apparel licensing company, put it this way after his company began promoting social word-of-mouth marketing content on e-commerce pages: "We knew that if a consumer could see a relevant product with a relevant social comment, it would create an additional emotional reaction or layer of attachment to what they were viewing. To put the right content in front of the right consumer at the right time next to a product they're considering buying is just a no-brainer."
The ways and means retail brand marketers can amplify word-of-mouth marketing from social user-generated content is multifaceted. Today's omnichannel audience wants a connected shopping experience online, in-store, over mobile devices, on social media platforms or through printed catalogs. Here are five ways retailers can best leverage social word-of-mouth marketing:

1. Augment product-level ratings and reviews on your product pages with brand and category-level social testimonials that are visual. Hint: Look for your fans interacting with you on Instagram, Facbook or Pinterest.

2. Have digital displays in your stores? Take a page out of TV media and stream real-time, curated, visually compelling social testimonials to show off your community of brand advocates who are proud to be your customers.

3. Leverage social graph information (Facebook's term for user demographics) from your highly engaged fans to improve targeting of precision email campaigns. Add social testimonials from "similar to me" advocates to email content targeting specific ge
ographies, age groups or settings that your data reveals.

4. Promote brand-level social testimonials as new advertising content for your partner affiliates and retailers on their web and mobile sites.

5. Show off your best customers’ expressions on social media channels as a community "Fan Board" or "Customer Stories" page on your branded web properties and mobile sites, or even in printed or digital catalogs as aspirational "Look Books" to reinforce the social proof we all need to feel confident in making purchase decisions.

The ability to capture, filter and promote your fans most compelling visual social testimonials and bring them to life across screens and marketing channels is very real. This is marketing, and retailers that take advantage of greater social integration will be a step ahead in the consumer sales cycle.
Dennis O'Malley is the co-founder and CEO of ReadyPulse, a provider of testimonial marketing. Dennis can be reached at

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