Ask SCORE: When people talk about “viral marketing” what do they mean?

Word-of-mouth publicity is the most effective viral marketing in the real world, on social media and on search engines.

Word-of-Mouth Marketing In the Real World

In a conversation when people share their positive experiences about a specific product, service or business, their opinion becomes more of an endorsement. When businesses consistently deliver consumer satisfaction then the word of mouth often pays off in the long run.

When it comes to long term customers, it often starts from that first experience. First impression matters especially if it’s based on the positive experience. Just like businesses looking for loyal customers, customers are also looking for a business than can satisfy their comfort zone. As customers continue to experience consistencies in satisfaction, they become loyal customers. Customer loyalty often brings in more customers through the word of mouth.

A client of mine owns a food and beverage business where employees are trained to address every customer by his/her first name so that the customers feel connected. They also treat every regular customer as if it’s their first time so the quality of service remains consistent. Majority of the customers are word of mouth referrals. 

From Word-of-Mouth to Social Media

When people share their shopping and dining experiences on their social media page then it takes word of mouth publicity one step further. Viral publicity through social media did not exist decades ago but today it has become a major advantage for businesses and a disadvantage in some cases.

People add preferred business pages to their collection of pages that they are following on social media and at times they even engage in the business blog posts by sharing their own comments. Many customers even post location “check in” on their own page which help increase the business exposure. Since viral publicity is a big component of social media, businesses get more exposure through their target market and general population, and this is just another channel of word of mouth marketing.

From Social Media to Search Engines

Not only social media helps spread the word of mouth experiences, it’s also a bridge between word of mouth publicity and search engine based exposure. Social media posts are actually a form of blogs and spiders or web crawlers attract to blogs. This also means that the blogs will get picked up by the spiders or web crawlers to be indexed on search engines. Then when potential customers conduct any form of research online about a specific product, service or business, they see ratings, reviews, videos, blog or similar posts, and then they go directly to the found content.

Viral publicity from the word of mouth to social media has definitely changed the way businesses do business today. Like positive feedbacks, negative feedbacks spread very quickly. However, many businesses that pay close attention to customer feedbacks consider some of the negative feedbacks as constructive criticism to improve the quality of their product or service.

The key here is marketing technique. We all know the power of viral publicity. It’s mostly free and the biggest investment is time and strategy. Whether it’s a product or service, it’s all about the end user or consumer experience.

As it’s been said, “word of mouth marketing is the best form of marketing”. So give your customers an experience, something that they can talk about.

Answer by Raj Tumber

Raj specializes in strategic business development and is currently authoring a book on the topic of strategic development. Other areas of expertise include technical administration, consumer electronics, investigations and analytical science.
SCORELV.org | Facebook

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s