Despite the perpetual advancements in the present-day digital age we are in, word of mouth still plays a huge role in entrepreneurship. Not only is it effective but it is also relatively cost-effective in comparison to other marketing approaches. Recommendations and referrals are a central feature of the outcome of when your business gets a good word in from customers or even non-customers. On the other hand, your brand can be seriously hurt if bad publicity is spewed around by way of word of mouth. That is why it is important to ensure that you get word of mouth to play out to your advantage. How you can do that is the focus of my article today.
A Consummate Brand
I deliberately chose ‘consummate’ because it expresses the depth of my point. Invest in and ensure that you develop and offer a consummate brand. When something is consummate it is perfect and complete in every respect – having all the necessary qualities. It could either be goods or services that you specialize in but make sure they are top-notch. You should seek to surpass your customers’ expectations all the time. This automatically causes people to positively talk about your brand. It is just natural that when a customer is fully satisfied they will share their experience with other people. Ultimately that ignites a web of conversations across the market regarding your great brand.
Impeccable Customer Service
This is probably the most central component in generating word of mouth activity for any business. Customers will always share their experience with your brand with their social circle. Customers like to be treated cordially with warm attitudes. They expect to be attended to or served quickly and they expect to have any of their concerns addressed. They also expect you to be honest, genuine and well-informed about your brand. Keeping in constant touch with them is also something that cements your relationship with them.
So many businesses drop the ball when it comes to addressing service queries and complaints. Make sure that you are not like that because it generates a negative buzz for your business. All these and more are pertinent issues in pursuance of delivering impeccable customer service. Just like a good brand does, great customer service also gets people talking positively about your brand.
Effective Social Media Engagement
Most people are now active on social media – including the internet in general. One of the easiest ways to influence the narrative of how people regard your business is by being active on social media. That way you will be also making your brand visible to the market. Social media is critically important in that the potential reach is much higher with just some clicks and keystrokes. Do not just be hung on posting stuff on your timelines but rather cultivate two-way communication with the public. A simple WhatsApp message can be generated in the morning and by the end of the day it can be all over the internet and other social media platforms. Take advantage of this to influence people to talk about your brand in a way that causes people to opt for your brand.
Here I am referring to physical networking on various levels and in various ways. Of course that does not negate the possibility of still networking on virtual platforms such as groups or pages on social media. Let your brand participate in or attend networking events such as seminars, workshops, fairs, exhibitions and so on. The idea behind that is to be physically visible thus causing people to talk about your brand. You also want to establish yourself as a reputable brand and also be seen as an active player in matters of socio-economic development. There are several business hubs in Zimbabwe – you can join them so as to easily network. This then brings us to a particular issue that you must put marked effort in:
Community Development Initiatives
It can be initiatives put together by other players or it could be your brand organizing them. Bottom line is that you must be actively involved in community development. It does not even have to be very expensive initiatives – the little you do for the community will realize huge returns for you. For instance, you can do a sanitary pad drive whereby you mobilize sanitary pads for distribution in marginalized communities. That alone can trigger positive conversations about your brand that will linger for ages to come. So always be on the lookout for community development initiatives that you can associate your brand with. Better still, you can just start such initiatives yourself without having to wait for other players. I am basically underscoring the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in getting word of mouth on your side.
Create And Propagate Content
This obviously means you must be active on the internet and social media – as I pointed earlier. My key point here is that you must create content that ends up shaping how people perceive or regard your brand. You can choose to blog about various issues to do with your brand. You can get and post reviews from customers to use as basis for prospective customers to prefer and trust your brand. This is important because people mostly want social proofs before settling for a brand. If your brand gets good publicity it is always good to ride on that wave. For example, your brand gets an accolade for something such as a merit award. Letting the public know about this will play out in your favour.
The great thing about word of mouth pertaining to your brand is that you can generate, influence and direct it. The 6 ways I have mentioned herein can help you exercise all that control. Remember do not be so caught up in shaping the public perception that you pay less attention to actually providing great goods or services. Let every component be well-polished and balanced.