Posted On May 29, 2009 By In BLOG, MARKETING And 86 Views

The power of word of mouth


The power of word of mouth

by Sandrine Plasseraud in News on 27 May 2009 at 16:31

A very important part of what we do
at We Are Social consists in helping brands engage in social media by
having meaningful conversations with people and igniting positive word
of mouth. So as I was watching Loïc Le Meur’s video on ‘How to launch a product using your community’,
I thought it was a brilliant illustration of why word of mouth is so
important. As it’s in French, I’ll try and recap some key learnings
here.

According to Loïc, traditional advertising, PR and marketing are all
still very valid but are nowhere near as important as the power of word
of mouth. He illustrates this by saying that when you are about to buy
a product, what you want is to know what your friends think about it
before you purchase it. You want to know what your community has to say
about that product.

And to be honest, in some ways, this has always been the case. In
the past, we would probably have asked our neighbors, colleagues or
‘real’ friends what they thought about product X or Y. Nowadays, those
conversations about products and brands alike are happening online. And
rather than transiently involving two or three of your friends, these
conversations can now potentially reach millions of people and are
permanent (as they’ll appear in Google’s results for ever). This is
good if the conversation is positive and not so good otherwise.

Loïc adds another interesting point about online conversations: the
years 1993-2000 were about static media – i.e. the online environment
was a reproduction of traditional media; since 2000, we’ve seen the
explosion of what we refer to as ‘social media’ – i.e. people
interacting with people but also brands, via blogs, social networks,
etc. And now, as Loïc highlights, since the beginning of 2009, the web
has entered a new area. People still want to interact with their
community but they want to do so in real time, via Twitter or Facebook
statuses for example. Which means that when people talk about products
and brands, they also do it in real time.

Hence the importance of listening and responding in real time as Robin was highlighting in his interview with emarketer ‘Social Media: Joining the conversation’.
And both Seesmic & Twhirl are a great examples of brands who have
understood the importance of listening in real time to the community’s
feedback, to get insights into what’s good, or not so good about their
products. And Loïc is the first one to say that this means sometimes
he’s checking Twitter Search at 3am to read about the community
feedback and to reply to it. Because Loïc knows that if 1,000 of
Seesmic’s fans are convinced about the product, they’ll tell another
10,000 of their friends about how great the product is.

It’s all about ‘micro interactions
as David Armano calls them. It’s about turning your fans into brand
advocates.  And it works – this is how how he managed to get Seesmic Desktop application downloaded 1.5 million times in a few days. This is the power of word of mouth.

creative_commons

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