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Word of Mouth (WOM) and relationship marketing have been the most trusted and impactful forms of marketing for a long time. So it is no surprise that in the digital age Electronic Word of Mouth (eWOM) has become the most trusted and effective form of digital marketing in this new era. Let’s take a deeper dive into eWOM and discover how tweaking your digital marketing and social media efforts can help you capitalize on this tried and true form of marketing.

According to Buzz Talk:

Electronic Word of Mouth (eWOM) is a form of buzz marketing and it can become viral if the message is persuasive or funny enough. In eWOM we focus on person-to-person contacts that happen on the Internet. You may think this is new but in fact it’s the oldest type of marketing we know. You come across something new, odd, funny or relevant and you tell your friends or the people you meet at the gym about your discovery.”

As Buzz Talk points out, eWOM is not a new form of marketing. In fact, eWOM and Influencer marketing have been around since the emergence of marketing and advertising. Things like celebrity endorsements, restaurant reviews, traditional news and media coverage, and the good old ask-a-friend method (a.k.a. WOM) has been around since society started buying, selling and trading.

Electronic Word of Mouth in 2020

Consider online word of mouth as the new online Advertorial or Opinion section of the Newspaper. The difference is people’s opinions and experiences can be shared more widely online with their personal community in a Facebook post or a response to a recommendation poll (social media), or to the masses on review channels such as Yelp, or in the comments of a company webpage or news article.

electronic word of mouth (eWOM) history

Word of Mouth Marketing Statistics:

Social Media and eWOM

Social media brings a new dynamic to eWOM in a way that makes consumers feel comfortable sharing their opinions, good or bad. Platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn provide a unique opportunity for building relationships directly with consumers and potential clients in a way traditional WOM and media never provided.

Unfortunately, eWOM can have a negative impact on a brand or organization very rapidly. With the Internet at everyone’s fingertips bad experiences and opinions can be shared at a whim in a response to a friend’s post, or worse on a public forum or review platform. Monitoring your brand’s digital presence has never been more important.

Why is eWOM is so important to your digital strategy?

People love sharing their opinions: Social media has demonstrated that people love connecting online, and sharing their opinions and experiences with others in their social community. This happens despite the fact that they may never have met those they are communicating with online. This new digital age has fostered a new way of “friendship” and people are much more willing to say things online that they may not have said in person, such as to a restaurant waiter or store manager.

Others’ opinions can be empowering: Time and time again I have seen someone comment on a company’s post or content with a negative (or positive) view and in the blink of an eye, more and more consumers are chiming in with their experiences, sparking a viral conversation good or bad.

Community first: Despite the lack of depth most online communities have, people who are passionate about anything, including brands, can create their own online community. A great example of this is the Facebook Group for Peloton riders. This group on Facebook is all consumer-generated content and acts as an online community for all things Peloton, including the good, the bad and the ugly. In this online community, they have more than 240,000 members who talk daily about their experiences with the brand. Peloton does an amazing job of silently monitoring the group and responding directly to the good and the bad shared in this social space. The reason we all flock to social media is because of our need for being heard, for sharing our life experiences with others, and for feeling like we belong.

People trust other people: This is not a new revelation, but your customers trust other people and their opinions of your brand, products or services more than anything. Hearing someone else LOVED a new dishwasher will drive a purchase decision much more often than seeing your ad online or watching your cool video where you showcase all the amazing new features.

The buyer’s journey is online: When considering a new purchase these days how often does you search start in a store? Not often, right? When a consumer is thinking about a product they look to the Google Gods or their social community for referrals. Online research is no longer just visiting the company website and reading reviews. It’s checking out online forums, asking your friends online to make recommendations, etc. Since we are all connected for what seems like 24/7 it is easier for a consumer to ask their online community for opinions than it is for them to search for them.

Builds brand loyalty: The digital space is a remarkable thing when it comes to finding and creating community as well as building brand loyalty. Electronic word of mouth helps facilitate brand loyalty in an authentic organized way for marketers.

electronic word of mouth and social sharing

Without a doubt, eWOM is your most valuable marketing tool in 2020. There are myriad ways of capitalizing on eWOM and there is much to consider when monitoring your brand’s digital presence. A great starting point for harnessing this powerful digital marketing strategy is by fostering healthy conversation and creating engaging content for your consumers, sparking passion in them and making them become evangelists for your brand.

If you are looking for the low-hanging fruit in your marketing strategy, focus on your eWOM strategy. Connect with LHM Strategic today. See how you can incorporate eWOM into your digital and social media marketing strategy this year.

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