In today’s social media driven world business fortunes can be both made and broken based upon your consumers’ shares, words and reviews; one poor TripAdvisor review can travel the world through a series of clicks; a single Facebook check-in alongside shining comments about your business can act as essential word of mouth for business growth, and one status update from an unhappy customer can taint a brand’s reputation given enough shares.
All of this goes to show that consumers are today more empowered than ever before to market, or conversely publicise their negative opinions, about the products and services that they consume.
So, just how can you help ensure that your consumers market your brand, rather than destroy it?
5 Top tips for consumers who market for you
With the right product or service, backed-up by a solid approach to customer service, you can look forward to consumers who will happily advocate for you (particularly when there’s ‘Something in it for them’). Here are five fresh ideas for helping them do just that, as well as a few words upon dealing with negative reviews or social media activity.
Provide your most valuable customers with exclusive (share-friendly) deals
Providing a select few of your customers with an exclusive deal is a great way to help your customers feel valued. Such an offer could be anything from access to exclusive content, discounts, product freebies or coupons, however key to successfully seeing these offers shared is to make the process as easy as possible. This includes a one-click social share button, as well as the option to email the offer onwards to their contacts.
Identify your best customers and ask them for a testimonial
Testimonials upon your website or used within your marketing materials can really help your target customer to get a feel for the ways in which you help your existing clients.
The most effective way of utilising this tool is through video testimonials, as this serves as tangible proof that your testimonials are real (and consumers simply love interactive media as opposed to plain old text!).
Become an expert within your industry, and understand your customer’s pain points inside out
The entire goal of content marketing is to produce content that is of genuine interest to your target market. When you truly identify what it is that will be of use to them, and create engaging in content such as blog posts, video content and webinars, then your customers will happily share your super helpful content with others.
You can make this a whole lot easier by including social share buttons upon all of your on-site media (as well as a comment section – which is great for both interactivity and the displaying of your viewers’ opinions and agreement with your views).
Encourage happy clients to leave a review of your business
Positive reviews upon Facebook, TripAdvisor, TrustPilot and Google can all go towards the most invaluable marketing tool of all: consumer to consumer advocacy. Quite simply, consumers trust the words and opinions of other consumers over and above a company’s, regardless as to whether they know that person or otherwise.
So encourage your customers to leave a review of your business post purchase, and always respond to any reviews that have been left – either to thank them for their positive opinions, or to address any customer concerns (the latter of which is essential for limiting the damage done by a negative review). This applies equally to any negative public status updates or posts that you’re tagged in – relying swiftly and professionally is key, and in some cases it can go further to strengthen your company’s reputation. After all, no company is run free from the odd problem, and most reasonable consumers will recognise this and place more importance on the way things are handled when things do go wrong from time to time.
Create a customer referral program
Whilst social networks and online activities are indeed powerful stuff when it comes to marketing, you shouldn’t neglect to look outside of these realms if you’re to truly make the most of consumer to consumer marketing. A key example of this could be a customer referral programme, where an incentive is provided for referring friends onwards who go on to become customers (such as a discount, cash payment or free product).