Trust and targeting: Two reasons to love word of mouth

We all know that word of mouth works. It’s one of THE most effective forms of marketing, and it doesn’t cost a cent. But have you stopped to consider WHY word of mouth is so golden?

It’s about trust. And it’s about targeting.

re-targetQuite simply we trust what our friends tell us. Generally they have our best interest in mind. Helping you reflects positively on them, and in the end, they are your friends after all. Friends are supposed to help friends.

But it’s also about targeting. In the vast world of marketing and advertising messages out there, good content can get lost in the clutter. Friends tend to filter content, selecting what to share based on their knowledge of your needs, interests and passions. Nobody filters content better then friends, not even a Facebook boost campaign! The beautiful thing is that friends also tend to know what is timely content. Timely is important because it is what will resonate with you at a particular moment. It could be that they know you are looking to get your roof replaced. Or they know you’ve been thinking of going back to school. Or maybe they know you just needed a good laugh this morning after a stressful week. Friends share what you need and what will make them look good.

Did you catch that last line? It’s about what will make THEM look good.

If you provide content that will make someone look smart, insightful, funny, or connected to an inner circle of knowledge in some way, they are more apt to share it, because it makes them look good. Couple that with the friend filter of known interests, and you have marketing gold.

So the next time you’re thinking about what to share on your business Facebook Page, blog, or social media, frame your content from the perspective of what will make your reader look good to their friends. Make it easily shareable, and then trust them to fan it out accordingly to their self selected friends. Know someone who might benefit from reading this blog post right now? Share it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn right now. Or better yet, sign up here for my weekly 5-Minute Marketing e-newsletter. It’s insider marketing knowledge and tips aimed at entrepreneurs, small business owners and marketing managers.

This approach to content creation works not only for online campaigns, but good old fashioned real word of mouth chatter. Your customer wants to look smart, funny and connected to their friends. Just help them do their job!



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Mary Charleson

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