As many established local business owners will tell you, word of mouth still works. Once you have it, it rarely just evaporates, unless a brand loses its focus on delighting customers. But what if you don’t have word of mouth? How do you get more of it? Today, its much more difficult to build offline word of mouth, since increasingly consumers are seeking and trusting online reputation indicators like ratings and reviews. Word of mouth still happens, it just happens increasingly online. Here are two ways you can nurture your word of mouth in conjunction with your web presence.
Word of Mouth through Online Reviews
Proactively build your online reputation. Online reviews are forming what we call “the new trust currency.” Why, you ask? Check out the statistics: 88% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (BrightLocal). And 63% of consumers don’t trust businesses with less than a 4-star rating (ReviewsTrackers).
Sure, people try to game the system, causing a healthy skepticism about the authenticity of online reviews. Which is why it’s important to get lots of them. More reviews means more credibility. The key to success is simple: Ask your customers immediately (within a few hours, preferably) following a service interaction, and make the process as easy as possible.
Kudo™ makes the process of sending review requests so easy, you’ll do it sooner and more often. For the recipient, responding is as easy as a single click on their rating within the review request email, which increases response rates. As a bonus, Kudo also intercepts negative reviews and invites feedback and issue resolution via a private page.
Word of Mouth through Social Media
Use your social networks to position yourself as a subject matter expert. Create content that is educational and valuable to your target audience, then post frequently to your social channels. This is a long-term strategy of attraction rather than promotion. While it does take time and effort to reach critical mass, it’s well worth the investment. Acquisition costs for inbound marketing (blogging, SEO, social media) are on average 61% lower than traditional outbound methods such as advertising, telemarketing, direct mail, and event marketing (Hubspot). Admittedly, spinning up an inbound marketing program is not as simple as writing and posting a few articles. In addition to high quality content, companies will need to ensure that (a) the content is relevant to their target audience at each stage of the buyer’s journey, (b) their website is optimized for conversion, and (c) they have effective lead nurturing processes in place.
Another social media strategy for building online trust is to actively post on your channels, especially in response to user comments and reviews. How you respond both to positive and negative reviews says a lot about your authenticity and professionalism. Always remember, your response to a negative review won’t just be seen by the reviewer, but by everyone else that comes across your business profile to determine if you are someone they want to do business with.
Do you need more positive online reviews? Kudo makes it ridiculously easy.