[Five Years Ago] You told me I was out of my mind and that social media wasn't going to be around long enough for you to care.
[Fast Forward to Present Day] How do you feel now?
Social media is the way to go and I said if you weren't on it, you were going to be left behind.
Well, I don't know about you, but it's on the daily where I see people who told me that and are just now getting on Facebook, yes, Facebook, but also Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Foursquare, and YouTube too. My mom always said, "he who laughs last, laughs best."
Social media has really changed the way consumers receive marketing messages and perceive advertisements. [We all know that commercials are automatically programmed louder because people get up and leave the room.] The entire process involved in buying a product has been transformed, and traditional advertising is beginning to lose its effect and importance.
For instance, while TV, magazines and billboards still have some effect, it's not the most effective (Close your mouth. It's true.) People are inundated with these forms of advertising and it can be overwhelming. With so many ads and commercials out there all the time, the atmosphere has become congested with self-promotions from companies, leading the consumer to ignore the constant claims of product superiority, as it once was.
#WOM (word-of-mouth) marketing is considered to be "earned media" - the oldest form of advertising - the most simple and often the most effective. WOM is often referred to as #GuerillaMarketing or #grassroots, which is what I prefer. I sometimes like to poke fun and call it #ApeMarketing. :-)
Before there were billboards, radio commercials and newspaper ads, people shared their opinions of products and services through conversation (aka gossip). Today, with online communities, the social networking sites have become extremely popular, and word-of-mouth marketing has become more important than ever before.
Consumer promotion of a product is no longer limited to a one-on-one conversation. Social media sites and blogs are platforms in which people can speak their mind and give testimonials to thousands of people at once. The consumer has more power than ever to sway the influence of their peers and your product. Building relationships is super important and as I've said many times before, in order for people to like you (and do business with you), they have to know you first. Don't have a Facebook page because you don't care if someone is shitting on the pot? Don't connect with them online. Simple. If they're offended, don't worry about it. Do what mom says, just "laugh last (all the way to the bank)."
Why do people talk about products online? Because they feel the need to share their satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) with others - to get attention - and while that's another conversation for #TonyReynolds, we'll stick to social marketing.
Before making a purchase, people like to do a certain amount of research beforehand, I know I do. This usually consists of seeking the opinions of others and checking out what people have to say online. Both of these forms of product research are examples of word-of-mouth marketing; people talking to other people about a business and the goods or services that they sell.
Still not convinced about social media? How about this? Consumers are much more likely to believe the advice and opinions of their peers over advertisements coming directly from your company.
How can you possibly know what others are saying about your company if you're not even bothering to listen? Sure you have hundreds of customers banging on your door, but what about the thousands, online, who are banging on someone else's?
Your customers have such crazy power over the livelihood of your business, wouldn't you say it's about time you get in on the conversation?
Article inspired by Social Media Today
G Co Group Blog Team