Many marketing purposes that are served by social media marketing can be defined as good old word of mouth marketing.
Now, as I told before, word of mouth does not need social media but the rise of social networking certainly increased the attention for word of mouth marketing (WOM).
Just like any other form of marketing, WOM, requires strategy and planning. And, just like any other form of marketing, there are some steps in a word of mouth marketing strategy.
The first step in every marketing campaign is defining the goals. If you can achieve these goals with word of mouth marketing, several questions arise. What’s the target group? What channels, media and influencers do we “use” and how do we combine all this?
What is the story and how can we spread it as good as possible? Sounds like ‘regular’ marketing, right? Quite normal: word of mouth marketing is marketing.
However, there are differences. First of all, we don’t only have a target group of (potential) customers or recipients for the story we want to disperse.
We also want to identify people who will more likely than others influence how the story gets spread. The same goes for the channels and media we use. So there is some identification to do (remember good old ‘influencers’ and ‘brand advocates’).
Furthermore, word of mouth marketing is not about simply sending a ‘message’ we want people to hear. It’s about having a story that people will want to hear and share.
In other words, what story people will find worthwhile to talk about. I use the word ‘story’ on purpose.
Because, as I wrote before, word of mouth is about stories, not about promotions or simple messages.