WOM Recommendation, Sharing and Influencers = Win for Marketers
Positive Word-of-Mouth, Sharing and Influencers = Win for Marketers
Few things are more credible than a Word-of-Mouth endorsement for a product or service — hearing from someone you trust about their great experience. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the scholarly articles and research driving word-of-mouth online and then discuss how marketers get great results using these methods.
These days many of our relationships are maintained online, giving rise to eWOM, Electronic Word of Mouth. Studied by multiple researchers, Thomas W. Gruen et al wrote in 2005 found that online “a customer know-how exchange impacts customer perceptions of product value and likelihood to recommend the product.”
We’ve all seen this in action – a friend posts a link to a clothing site to their Facebook wall, a former co-worker tweets about their new gym, or your favorite aunt shares a Flickr album with pictures of her latest cruise – all examples of eWOM. According to a 2011 study, users actually share their opinions in the hopes of helping their friends and family with buying decisions. As a marketer, you’ve got to ensure your Content Marketing efforts line up to support eWOM – that your content adds value, educates, informs and entertains and is ultimately designed specifically for your target audience.
eWOM isn’t limited to just recommendations from our friends and family, though. We often form relationships with bloggers who we loyally follow, and recent research indicates that many come to think of a blogger as a friend or trust them as they would a friend. These types of relationships are called parasocial, where there is an illusion of a face-to-face relationship after repeated reading of a blog, in the same way that we might feel we “know” a celebrity after seeing them on TV week after week.
This is why blogger relations and eWOM are such a strong component of an integrated Content Marketing approach and great a way to break through the clutter and earn the attention of your target customer.
Also, because digital content is easily sharable, when it’s very high quality, it can spread quickly across the web, which is a powerful factor in raising awareness. Content marketing has the ability to amplify social sharing by placing targeted content in front of users where it adds value and doesn’t interrupt their content consumption. We typically think about Content Marketing as marketing in the flow of a user’s content consumption. Using content to engage your target audience helps to drive higher click through rates, time spent on site, and overall engagement. When you’re doing Content Marketing well, you’re creating content that people actually want to consume, not interrupting and repeating.
So how do you create the conditions for eWOM? One of the biggest challenges for marketers is how to find the right digital influencers (e.g., bloggers) to connect with their products. It’s important to think about quality over quantity when looking for digital influencers; it’s better to have a few people producing great content than an army producing only mediocre work. It is also important to look beyond those bloggers who flog product for anyone and/or who do not follow the disclosure guidelines spelled out by the FTC.
Finding the right digital influencers is key, and you’ll need to put time and effort into developing relationships with them. But once you find the right influencers to review and document their experience with your product in the form of credible content, your hard work has the potential to spread far and wide.
One of the most effective ways to realize the value of influencer relations programs is to apply paid media in a Content Marketing approach. The results are incredible and it allows Marketers to measurably drive consumption of this credible content.
Check out a case study highlighting SMG’s work for Sleep Number to scale earned media in an integrated Content Marketing Campaign
Four Best Practices for Digital Influencers to help amplify your brands’ eWOM:
- Do Your Homework
- Research the influencers you have found – make sure their social identity aligns to your brand, and flag if there’s any questionable content.
- What’s your internal process for building relationships with influencers? Make sure there’s no overlap with anyone else in your organization, or between your agencies.
- The blog litmus test – based on the design and the content, would you read this blog? Do you want to send potential customers to this site?
- Get Personal
- Customize pitches for everyone you contact – it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.
- Review their blog in detail for interests and topics and refer back to specific posts in your pitch, if appropriate.
- If the digital influencer has taken the time to prepare pitch preferences, read these and abide by their wishes.
- Get Creative
- Stand out and get noticed by including a creative touch to your pitch – the blogger may have 100 other pitches in their inbox. Take care with the subject line and get to the point quickly.
- Don’t Skip Formalities
- Create detailed agreements outlining expectations, product delivery, responsibilities, timing of events, and compensation (if applicable).
- Make sure all parties are in agreement before executing.
- Monitor to ensure the influencer is making appropriate disclosures about the nature of their relationship with the company.
- Leverage Content generated through your Influencer relations programs in your Content Marketing activities
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Find Out More!
- Content Marketing Webinar – Recording
- Content Marketing Whitepaper – Part 1
- Three Mistakes of Content Marketing Execution
- WOM Recommendation, Sharing and Influencers = Win for Marketers