I was a speaker at Social Media Day in Aberdeen on 23 September, part of International Social Media Week. It was a great day with an interesting variety of topics. I was speaking about Accelerating your Marketing with Social Media. This is a summary of the talk.

Marketing is all around us… we are exposed to well over 1000 promotional messages every day. We are all suffering from information overload.

According to Management Consultants, McKinsey, “Often what’s really needed to help influence consumers is a  “word-of-mouth recommendation from a trusted source” which “cuts through the noise” of traditional marketing methods”

Word of mouth marketing always been the most effective method of promotion – think about how much more likely you are to try a product or service if a friend is raving about it.

A 2007 Nielsen survey discovered that 14% of people trust ads, 78% trust consumer recommendations – that’s how powerful it is.

However, Word of Mouth is a bit like an old car – it can travel a long way but you never know if it’s going to start or not.  Social media is more like a Ferrari. It’s easy to start and your message can travel incredibly fast.

Online communities and social networks amplify word-of-mouth and make messages travel further and faster than ever before

So – you want recommendations; you want people to talk about you…

People talk about you because

  • The love you
  • They hate you
  • They were asked their opinion
  • Their community is talking about you

How do you harness it?

Make them love you…

Do something to make customers feel special and they will want to talk about you

Ask for recommendations and testimonials

Find out who the Opinion formers are in that community – target them, but in an open, honest way. Offer them a trial, get to know them. If they really like what you do, they will speak about it. They have wider influence – they can get their community talking

Answer questions, be helpful – add value. Don’t be afraid to give away knowledge –it  lets people know that you know your subject.

Engage with people, be friendly – after all this is just another way of networking.

If they hate you…

Listen. Monitor mentions of your company online. Address issues and complaints quickly and openly. If you handle it well, your detractors can become your biggest fans.

Ask questions – people like to have their opinion valued. Marketing is not just about promotions – it’s also about understanding your market, providing the right products and services at the right price: Social media is ideal for feedback, research, and building lasting relationships with customers.

Finally, there are new rules – social media is all about two way communication, genuine engagement, honesty and transparency.  Trust is crucial. Don’t fake it, don’t spam, don’t shout about yourself all the time.

If people know, trust and like your product, and know, trust and like you, then your message is much more likely to spread.

You can see the videos of the event online.

Accelerate your Marketing with Social Media
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