December 24, 2018
Audience Engagement

Word-of-Mouth is Seen-on-Screen: How to Maximize Referrals via Social Media

Social Media is an Important Aspect of Referral Marketing

Yeah, it’s true: These days, people spend more time texting and emailing than engaging in actual face-to-face conversations. But don’t let that fool you into thinking that word-of-mouth referrals are dead. They’re just happening in a whole different way.

There’s nothing more powerful for a brand than vocal, passionate customers. And when those customers take to social media with their thoughts and praises, the reach is like “word-of-mouth” on steroids. The influx of attention can be a blessing and a curse: Once you’ve attracted a major audience, you’ll need to be able to provide the same level of service that you gave to that first happy customer.

But before you can get to that point, you’ll have to incentivize your consumers to start talking. As dominant as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram may be, the vast majority of people aren’t detailing their everyday customer experiences online. A lot of brands will offer discounts as incentives, i.e., “Tag us on Instagram to get 15% off your meal.” It might work, but it’s transparent, and it won’t really elicit the big response you want.

3 Ways to Boost Customer Referrals

1. Document the experience via photo or video, especially if it’s a before-and-after.

This is especially effective for beauty brands such as Deka Lash, a leading eyelash extension brand and the subject of this month’s Business Impact Workshop. Two quick snaps of a customer’s face before and after the lash application allow the product to really shine. Customers are usually more than happy to share their social media handles so you can tag them on your pages, and many will then share the posts to their own pages.

2. When the opportunity presents itself, go above and beyond.

Customers genuinely love writing lengthy recaps when they receive excellent service. Whatever you can do to make an experience special -- within reason, of course -- go ahead and do it! Brainstorm with your team. How can you make an everyday shopping day feel extraordinary? People deeply appreciate those little moments of luxury (life can be stressful, after all) and they’ll be excited to share those moments with others.

3. Cultivate relationships with influencers who are already customers.

Greg Forsythe, Deka Lash’s senior director of innovation and brand strategy, recognized early on that many brands undervalue potential influencers, which is silly -- even smaller-scale influencers can drive major traffic and boost your brand recognition beyond the regional level. And social media platforms are built for posts to go viral, so the algorithms are on your side. Greg says that when he’s building relationships with influencers, his goal is to offer them “something incredible” -- never something like, for example, a 10% off coupon. When they know that you value their work, they’ll work even harder to make content that’s mutually beneficial.

To see how modern retailers use brand advocates to widen their client-base, watch episode three of our Business Impact Workshop with Dekalash.