Activating Word of Mouth
A few weeks ago I participated in Social Media Week and attended an interesting session entitled ”You’ve Built a Fanbase, Now What?” The host was EnageSciences a company that calls itself a “next generation social media activation software.”
The premise of the panel’s presentation is that we can get fans or followers in the social space, but like any database or network, the value of that network comes from activating or “doing something” with those contacts.
The primary goal in social is to get your fans to talk about your business or service or product (engagement). Engage Sciences happens to be a company that has developed a software filled with tools to help you do that. So you get your engagement. But then what? What value does that engagement, that you invested so much money in time in developing, really carry for our brands? And how do we know that value is worth the financial investment?
Well, at least one way we know those conversations are valuable is by understanding that WOM influence on purchasing is growing. The pendulum of who consumers listen to for advice on what products to buy, continues to move away from companies themselves and more and more towards WOM from friends, family and other consumers. That trend is not reversing.
If someone said to you that your buyers don’t care what you have to say about your widgets, but they really care about what others say about your widgets, wouldn’t you want, dare I say, feel responsible, to generate conversation about your widgets by facilitating and activating engaged conversations?
If we accept that this pendulum isn’t reversing, and that the trajectory and the value of WOM is only increasing, then it makes sense to invest in social engagement because we’ve already established the future value, we just need to measure that value and grow it. And the raison d’être for EngageSciences and other Social Marketing Management Software like HubSpot and Wildfire, just to name a few, is to provide tools that assist companies and brands better “activate” and generate that highly valued WOM engagement as well as place a monetary value on it.
To keep pace with the need for WOM content, companies need to get to work today to build the foundations of their communities.
And if the future expectation as the pendulum continues to swing is that the consumer voice is the only one that matters, we all need to be prepared to facilitate bringing that voice to the forefront for our brands.