This commercial illustrates the basic principle. A happy, satisfied customer will tell their friends about the experience, and their friends will tell their friends…etcetera. But how do we as small businesses create more buzz for ourselves when less and less of people’s social interactions involve actual speaking?
Just as the internet plays an increasingly important role in people’s lives, so, too, must businesses make an effort to become more web-based in the ways they engage their customers. In Jay Lipe’s 2002 book The Marketing Toolkit for Growing Businesses, he states that an individual’s circle of influence averages between 50 and 300 people, and that was before the rise of Facebook. These days, between Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, it wouldn’t be outlandish to place an individual’s reach at hundreds (if not thousands) of people. By spending merely 30 minutes a day engaging your customers on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you can reap the benefits of hundreds of free exposures, advertisements, and testimonials, all from the mouths (or keyboards) or happy, loyal customers. Now what sales team can give you the same results at that price?
In order to fully take advantage of this phenomenon, however, you have to be prepared to fully integrate your business with the internet.
- Make sure you have a Facebook page, and take the time to respond to customers who post on it.
- Create a Yelp page where your customers can write public reviews for your company. This helps build credibility with new customers and will force you to keep high performance standards.
- Seriously consider starting a company blog, and be sure to update it regularly (Once a week, minimum).
- If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, try setting up a Youtube channel and producing a series of videos about your product. They could be tutorials, detailed explanations of different aspects of the product, or even a parody of The Office set in your business’s industry.
Providing a quality product and customer experience isn’t enough to get them to talk about you; give your customers something useful, interesting, or funny that they can share with their friends, repost, reblog, and spread around the web!