With economic pressures biting more and more resources are under pressure especially marketing budgets. So how do you make the world know about your products / services without investing in advertising? Simple, you use the best assets you have: Your good reputation and the customers that helped you gain that reputation.
Word of mouth has for a long time been the most trusted method of advertising – certainly from a customer’s point of view. Now in the age of social media, its strengths are being further brought to the fore, albeit with a buzz-word title.
Advocacy marketing is all about transforming customers and clients into an extension of your sales force. Where once you may have hoped for a written testimonial to feature on a brochure, now you can expect a happy customer to tell their friends via Facebook, Twitter, blogs and many more, extending a reach far beyond your wildest dreams. Many won’t need any encouragement either. For a growing breed, telling all their followers the highs and lows of their day is second nature. Yet for others a little nudge won’t do any harm.
Therefore, it is important that you include a Facebook like button and re-tweet facility directly from your website and any electronic material. Encouraging people to pass on the message will reap rewards, although you may have to take our word on that as measuring its true impact still remains very difficult. However, some basic social media monitoring – even using Twitters in-built search tool, can show how and where your product or brand name is being used in the social media sphere.
Yet just as good reputations can be further improved via social media, so bad reputations can be worsened. That’s not to say you should shy away from social media though. if anything, a social media strategy that takes your support immediately to the people can do wonders to repair a broken or slightly chipped reputation.
As we constantly repeat, social media is actually nothing new – it is simply a new, digital way of using traditional business and marketing skills. Successfully used and your business will thrive, but ignore them at your peril.
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