Facebook and the Power of Word of Mouth Marketing

You’ve just enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of relaxation at your favorite spa... or discovered a new spa treatment that is absolutely heavenly.  You feel wonderful from head to toe and you just want to tell the world. You pull out your mobile, open up Facebook and [insert word of mouth (WOM) marketing opportunity here].

Word of Mouth marketing is the holy grail of marketing. Your friend telling you about her afternoon of bliss will have more impact than any other form of marketing persuasion, and today its easier than ever for customers share these experiences with not just a few friends at a cocktail party, but now hundreds on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc. People are hardwired to connect and share, so it just takes small nudges to get customers to share the goodness with all their friends.

Facebook is to social what Google is to search. Therefore, focus on Facebook first. Make sure you have a Facebook Fan/Like Page and see that it gets love. I’ll have more to share regarding content and how to staff so that your content is fresh, but realize this: Facebook has become its own Web. If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world. As such, its the big tank with all the fish, so this is where you want to bait and drop a line.

WOM marketing tools on Facebook:

  • Status bar: The customer posts their great experience to their wall, and shares with all friends

  • Places & Deals (newish): Mobile customer checks-in to Places to share their location and comments with all friends. Businesses can offer Deals through this program to attract and retain customers. Download the Deals Guide for Businesses

  • Become a Fan/Like Us: When customer “Like” your Fan Page they become linked. That event of linking is broadcasted to all friends, and future posts to your Page are distributed to everyone linked.

Incentivize customers to spread the good word about your business using:

  • Signage: Place tasteful reminders for your guests in appropriate places at your facility or in your marketing materials asking people to check in to Places of Facebook, or to Like Us On Facebook. How about something on the way out, or with the receipt that says “Feeling great? Share it on Facebook.”

  • Deals: There are four types of Deals you can offer that range from Individual one-time deals such as 10% off for first check-in, to Friend Deals for a group that check-ins together, to Loyalty Deals for individuals that check-in multiple times, and to Charity Deals that exchange a charitable gift for a check-in.

  • Prizes: Run a monthly random drawing amongst Page Fans for something really nice.

  • Finally, also use your other marketing channels to broadcast these incentives.

Cost: Did I mention how cheap this is? Outside your own labor costs, this can cost very little.

Dealing with the negative.... oh but what if someone says something bad????
Sure there is always the risk of an unhappy customer or employee venting. In an extreme case, you can delete it off your Facebook wall. Otherwise, its an opportunity to demonstrate to all your other customers your level of customer service by quickly responding publicly, but moving the conversation offline.

The world of marketing has really been turned on a dime through social media. Consumers define the brand and its what they say about you that is heard.