SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.
This week, we asked: Which is more challenging?
- Getting happy fans to tell others about you: 65.79%
- Appeasing angry fans: 34.21%
Almost two-thirds of SmartBrief on Social Media readers say it’s more difficult to spur positive word-of-mouth than quiet irate customers. It’s not hard to see the reason. While it’s important to deal with negative reviews and comments in a timely fashion, the process of customer appeasement is much better understood than the process of encouraging positive word-of-mouth. Your critics will come out and tell you what they want from you, but your happy fans offer no such clues.
This means the burden is on you, the marketer, to discover what your fans love about you and find ways to spur them to share that opinion with others. Social media is great tool for both parts of this process: You can use it to identify fans who are willing to talk about you, discover what they love about you and what you can do to motivate them to share that love. You can also use social tools to give these fans content that they can share — effectively giving them something new to talk about.
The important thing to remember is that you’ll never get your fans to talk about you by only talking at them. Social tools give you the means to ask your fans questions, invite them to take part in the content creation process and even give them a sense of co-ownership in your brand identity. These elements aren’t distractions — they’re the heart of what you’re trying to accomplish.
Of course, that only scratches the surface of the intersection of social media and word-of-mouth marketing. Thankfully, there are plenty of helpful resources to help you learn more about the art of word-of-mouth marketing, such as the WOMMA SmartBrief newsletter and the blog of SmartBrief on Social Media Editor-At-Large Andy Sernovitz.
How are you getting your fans to talk about you?