S.M.I.L.E.: Word of Mouth Marketing for the 21st Century

S.M.I.L.E.: Word of Mouth Marketing for the 21st Century

Marketing is all about buzz. Without it, you don’t stand out from your competition and won’t be driving any sales. With all of the social media outlets available how can you know that you’re focusing your efforts in the best place? The truth is you can’t go wrong.

Social marketing is word of mouth advertising for the 21st century, and no type of marketing converts better than word of mouth. The key then isn’t deciding where to market but how to market. Marketing to your customers is as easy as learning how to make them SMILE!

 

Smile Word of Mouth Marketing

 

The S.M.I.L.E method involves “Showcasing” your business in a unique way, making it accessible to “Mobile” users, understanding the power of visual “Image“, promoting social “Linking to increase brand awareness and making sure that there is some kind of “Engagement” with your brand.

Following these simple concepts is a sure-fire way to increase your brand awareness and translate your marketing efforts in a more focused and higher converting campaign.

Because the SMILE method works no matter which social media service you are using, I won’t spend much time explaining how to use each component in each step.

There are some steps that will naturally lend themselves to certain aspects. Pinterest, for example, is a visual platform and is a great place to focus on the Image component while Twitter is great for short Linking. The best method, and the one that will create the most productive campaign, is to create accounts on all of the major sites and link them back to your Facebook page.

Using SMILE to direct people to your Facebook page is a huge brand marketing win. Now let’s take an in-depth look at the SMILE method so you can start using it today!

 

 checkgreenShowcase

When most businesses think about showcasing their products, they often set up huge press packages that isolate their products on a white background. While this is a great way to initially identify the product it doesn’t translate into sales.

The trick here is to show what actual customers have done with it. Promote a contest asking customers to send in pictures of themselves using the product in everyday situations. Use these photos to populate a Pinterest album or Facebook theme page.

This type of contest and showcasing of actual users creates a deeper connection to the buying community. Customers whose pictures you post will likely share the site with their friends (and this is the essence of social marketing, isn’t it).

 

checkgreen Mobile

The use of Smartphones to browse the web and access social networking sites eclipsed traditional web browsing on laptops and desktops in June of 2011.

A study done by Flurry Analytics, “discovered that the average user spends about 81 minutes a day using mobile apps, compared with 74 minutes spent surfing the Web both on PCs and mobile devices.”

If you aren’t optimizing your virtual presence for the mobile world, you are falling behind.

Facebook’s project Spartan is a huge indicator here, as they have already realized that mobile is the future of the web. Smartphones and Tablets will be the ubiquitous platforms for purchasing products in the near future. Making the user experience easy and engaging on a mobile system is a must for any future e-commerce endeavor.

 

checkgreen Images

Humans are visual creatures. When we look at the brainpower dedicated to vision we find that it is between one-quarter and one-third of the entire neocortex. This is more than all of the other senses combined. With all of that brainpower focused on viewing images it is the absolute best way to engage people.

The recent valuation of Pinterest for $1 billion is proof of the power of the visual. There is a catch to visuals, though. Because we spend our lives looking at the mundane, there isn’t a lot of memory allocation for everyday objects. Therefore a simple image isn’t going to stand out in a potential customer’s mind. Images need to twist the norm enough to stay in the viewers mind.

The best images are those that are unexpected or extremely funny. These are the pictures that go viral and are sent over social networks at lightning speeds. Combining an interactive feature with a visual, such as a scroll over effect that produces a funny result, is even more effective because it creates engagement with your site.

If you create a continual campaign of unique images (maybe even tell a story with them) people will follow, like, favorite your site and return over and over. Current studies suggest that people won’t purchase an item until they’ve seen it eight or more times so the more often you can get your brand in front of a customer, the better.

 

checkgreen Linking

Linking isn’t a new concept but it is still extremely important. While mobile use has eclipsed traditional web browsing there are still millions of potential customers doing targeted keyword searches every day.

Linking your social sites together will create a base for the search engines to find. In the latest Google Panda updates there seems to be more weight given to social bookmarks than in the past. Having a large group of Facebook friends, Twitter followers and Pinterest likes will raise your placement in a Google search.

Considering over 70% of all searches still go through Google, social linking is a worthwhile practice for any company looking to convert sales through a traditional webpage.

 

checkgreen Engagement

Why is social engagement important? According to an article by Concur’s Rajeev Sighn in Forbes, “Facebook alone reports a community of 750 million users – it’s not news that social media is now central to how we communicate, interact and shape mundane-to-major decisions on a daily basis.”

Creating interactive mobile applications or content that invites users to intuitively engage with images containing your product is a fantastic way to get your brand recognized by literally millions of people.

A single viral image could take a product from a virtual unknown to a household word in as little as 24 hours. The key to converting these views into sales is to keep the customer engaged.

Internet marketing lore is that you have six seconds to engage your customer before he clicks away to another site. In a mobile situation this could be even shorter. So, hit them with an amazing image to get their attention, create a scroll over to engage them with the image, and make it shocking or funny so they pass it on to their friends.

Do this often enough, and you’ll have created a buzz about your company and its products. Then watch the sales roll in, because in today’s day and age, buzz equals cash.

 

By-Line:

Ken Sleight is a full time writer with over ten years of experience in marketing. His work has appeared in several print and online magazines. He can be found at DegreeJungle.com or @degreejungle.

 

 

Image by FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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