The essential message is that the word-of-mouth recommendations from online communities is the most powerful means of connecting with your audience and spreading the message about your brand.
Just a few years ago, organizations and individuals spent millions of dollars and hours of time and resources on spreading their message, hoping it was positively received by the right audience. The process often took years to achieve and continual efforts to maintain.
Today, with the rise of social media communities such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs and posts have changed the rules of the game in global marketing. Your best laid plans and strategies could be drastically changed almost overnight by negative comments that appear out of nowhere and have a life of their own. Unchecked, the potential harm to your carefully developed brand perception and your global marketing programs could be substantial.
Think about it – Word of mouth has always been the best way to make referrals. It’s one thing to be bombarded by messages in various platforms; it’s another to hear a message from someone you know and trust. Or from a group of people with similar interests. Why would they tell you something that wasn’t true you think. They have experience with it so they must know. I’m not going to risk the decision on my own.
Now instead of speaking directly to you, they can speak to millions of people with the click of the send button. With the preponderance of social media platforms, it’s easy to voice your opinions about anything to almost everyone at anytime. Everything is indexed by search engines, so anyone looking for information about your offering will come across comments that will influence their perception and interest.
Hey it is great to see positive comments; you should cultivate, engage those participants to recommend your product. To keep spreading the good word. It’s another when the comments are bad or reflect poorly on you. If you experience those, resist the temptation to explode and go after them.
Remember that you can not control the online message. You can only influence the discussion and engage the audience.
To respond to negative comments subtly and indirectly, never questioning the author but offering a different viewpoint as well as steps to quickly fix the problem. Aside from assuaging a potentially hostile referral source, those viewing the stream of messages could be more favorably inclined based upon your response.
For those interested in bringing new products to market or reaching out to potential consumers in the developing world, this word of mouth approach is critical. Especially for those prospects who have little or no experience with your brand or product category. Engaging this audience and having the community spread the word, will help steer these potential buyers to your product. Their reluctance to take a chance on you will be reduced and their interest in purchasing will be encouraged by the group.
So what are people saying about you online? Do you follow communities where your brand is discussed? Do you even know what they are saying? The impact of online conversation about you or your product are too important to ignore. Spending the time engaging this audience is a good investment in global marketing for your business