I think each of us has used opinions on various types of companies, products, films or books published by other Internet users for at least one time. Transmissions with a clearly advertising character often arouse our distrust, while reviews and recommendations of users are often a much more effective tool of persuasion. If you want to promote your brand – do not forget about the power of whisper marketing. Unfortunately, this form of promotion has a very harmful opinion. Most of us identify this concept with false information published by hired people. Meanwhile, there are no obstacles to using this form of marketing in a fair manner. But how to do it?
Many business owners, planning a promotional campaign of their offer, think about traditional forms of advertising: billboards, leaflets, TV spots, banners on websites and in the press. We constantly forget that the development of technology has brought us new solutions, and sometimes the simplest and cheapest methods are also the most effective. Every day we are flooded with materials of this nature. Advertising is present in all media, as well as in public places – no wonder we have become immune to it. Few things can impress us. We know the tricks and mechanisms used in this type of content and have learned to not trust them. Of course, this does not mean that companies should completely give up this way of popularizing their products and services. However, it’s worth to open up to new opportunities and try to build popularity in a more creative way.
The Internet makes life easier to us in many everyday situations. When we want to learn something, we just open the search engine and enter a specific keyword. In this way, we are looking for materials needed to make up school homework or methods of luring a carpet stain, as well as a restaurant that we would like to visit during the weekend, hair conditioner that we would like to buy or a new smartphone. Each modern company should be present in the network. A professional website and a fairly run fanpage is a signal for us that the company is in the hands of engaged, open and professional people. However, what ultimately convinces us to trust a particular brand are the opinions of its customers. We are happy to use our friends’ recommendations, but we do not always have that option. In this case, we eagerly reach for reviews published by Internet users. Their significant number is a sign for us that a product or service is popular. We also believe in their content – both if they are positive and when they advise against using the offer.
Why is it worth to be interested in whisper marketing? First of all, it is simply a very effective method of acquiring customers. According to Nielsen’s 2015 study, approximately 70% of people aged 21-49 trust the opinions of other Internet users. Sometimes a honest review works better, not only about the advantages, but also about product defects – this form of communication seems more authentic than just superlatives. In addition, this type of marketing builds an engaged community – customers can discuss, enter into polemics and give each other advice. Each of us likes to have the opportunity to express our opinion, we feel then important and needed. In addition, it should not be forgotten that unlike many other types of advertising, customer recommendations evoke positive emotions. Of course, this is about real reviews, not about inadequately used whisper marketing, such as spamming on Internet forums. Another important advantage of providing recipients with the opportunity to express their opinion is greater control over the brand image. Although it would seem that negative opinions can only work negatively, the most important thing is how we will react to them. If we do not run away from such feedback, and we take it seriously and compensate the client for unpleasantness, the enemy may become our biggest fan and popularizer of the brand.
Well, since we already know that using whisper marketing pays off, how to apply it? Unfortunately, this type of advertising does not have a positive opinion everywhere – many people identify it with spam on forums and false comments paid by the company. There is no denying that such actions are unethical and have a very negative impact on the brand’s reception. Although this is a very easy way to get positive comments, the truth sooner or later comes to light, and if there is no high quality behind us, we can also expect critical (and this time honest) voices of unsatisfied consumers. A much better idea is to take care of customers’ satisfaction and obtain their recommendations fairly.
It may be a banality, but the first step to achieving this goal is … allowing comments to be added. It is very important that our clients have no trouble leaving their reviews. It is worth creating a brand profile on websites such as Booking, TripAdvisor, Google Maps, Facebook, industry portals or local business bases. All such services have a transparent section of comments, thanks to which our fans will have the opportunity to advise other potential consumers. Remember that some of these websites have a very restrictive policy regarding unreliable information, so it is worth being honest and not buying positive opinions. Especially that there are proven ways to obtain honest, genuine recommendations.
Sometimes the simplest solutions turn out to be the best and the most effective ones. The same is true in this case, because in order to get a positive customer review, all you need to do is… ask for it. When a person leaves the headquarters of our company (a restaurant, mechanical workshop, beauty salon, etc.), it is worth asking him if he is satisfied with our services. Sincere concern for the quality of the offer and customer satisfaction will help you to detect any shortcomings or react to any mishaps. Once we make sure that the transaction has proceeded without any problems, we can ask the client to visit the company’s website or fanpage and leave recommendations for subsequent customers. However, make sure that your request is tactful and unobtrusive. If our business is nationwide, and we operate online (eg creating graphics, running an online store, providing various types of advice, etc.), the matter is even simpler. It is enough after the sale to send a short email with thank you for the purchase and ask for a comment. Some people also decide to create a form that contains questions about the satisfaction of the product itself, service level, delivery speed, etc
An important tool to gain positive feedback is the so-called reciprocity rule described by Robert Cialdini in the book entitled “Influencing people. Theory and practice”. In a nutshell, he says that we should return a favour to someone who did something for us. It can be used by paying attention to what the customer has gained through the transaction with us. It suffices to say (or write): “We have made every effort to ensure that our cooperation proceeds in the most comfortable way possible. If you are satisfied with our services, share your opinion with other Internet users “or” Our chef is trying very hard to make the food served by him as tasteful as mother’s. Certainly it will be nice if you leave your opinion about his dishes on our fanpage on Facebook. ”
Of course, we can not pay your customers for a positive comment or offer them a different kind of gratification. But we can, for example, organize a competition, in which the condition of participation will be to like the profile on the social network and leave a comment or publish a photo with our product. This is a very good way for our customers to post positive information about us. You can also offer discounts to all Facebook fans or people who have recommended our business to their friends (their friends will only have to give their names in the restaurant).
Although the effectiveness of various types of comments and opinions of anonymous Internet users is really big, it is worth getting interested in obtaining recommendations from familiar people. Influencers are a group of creators whose opinions influence recipients’ decisions. A product recommendation by such a person may be worth more than a very traditional advertisement. Influencers are usually bloggers, vloggers, owners of YouTube channels or very popular accounts on Instagram. Their strength is a very committed community that trusts their judgment. When a well-known blogger recommends a book, cosmetic or food product on his website, their sales increase immediately. If we do not want to suggest influencers for sponsored entries (eg because it reminds us of buying positive opinions from ordinary Internet users), we can decide to send our products as a gift. If the gift meets their expectations, there is a good chance that they will voluntarily share this discovery on a blog or other channel. The best influencers really care about their image and credibility. The products and services they recommend must meet high standards in order not to strain the observers’ confidence achieved in the sweat of their brows. Blog readers use the recommendations of their authors because they know that they would not describe a crap on their website. Therefore, if we are sure that our products are really of good quality – sending them to someone known can be the best way to gain valuable opinions. Of course, remember that the subject of such a blog must be consistent with the profile of our activity. A blogger writing about music will certainly not write about a new hair shampoo, and a blogger dealing with the subject matter of books – about a fashionable blouse or a dress.