While at an accounting seminar a week ago presented by Fitzpatrick & Co at the CBDC office in Summerside, our group discussed word of mouth advertising (a.k.a consumer experience) and how it reigns supreme over any other type of advertising. According to Social Media Today
"81% of social media users say recommendations and posts from family and friends directly impact their buying decisions."
While I wholehearted agree, It's important for businesses to understand the adaptive changes associated with word of mouth advertising today. Think about it, when someone makes a recommendation what is the first thing you do? Get in your car right away and drive over? Highly unlikely, 'ain't nobody got time for that'.
Where word of mouth advertising used to happen in person and at a much slower pace (day by day or weeks by weeks), it's now happening online and a ratio of 1 to 200 ( I made that ratio up, but you get the idea). Social media provides a platform for one customer to broadcast an experience to their network of friends (200+) in a matter of seconds! Let's face it, we love to talk about things we like and quite frankly more about what we don't like, am I right?
For every 1 person that shares a personal experience, they have a network of friends following up on their experience to see for themselves. Why? Because we’re a lazy generation of consumers. Digital media has made it extremely convenient for us to find and determine if a business is one we want to do business with, all before ever getting out of bed.
Unfortunately ( but fortunately for those that have adapted to digital change) a businesses credibility is determined by a consumers online experience with them. This means what can they find out about a business online, what others are saying it, how good they look online (graphically), how engaged they are with their audience and how easy it is for them to communicate with online.
Online influencers can go a long way for your business BUT, if your online experience isn't enjoyable (from every single solitary point of entry) frankly, your likely losing potential customers and delivering a negative impression every day.
So you may be thinking, ok well what does a positive consumer experience look like? Part of it (a big part) does include paid digital advertising, but for now we'll stick to the foundation of your [digital] storefront (social accounts, website & digital graphic design elements). Let’s face it, today’s consumers are lazy (I should know, I am one of them.
Don’t lie, you are too). After a friend broadcasts their experience (online and offline) the first thing we do 9 times out of 10 is what? Grab our phone and see for ourselves. The last thing? Get in the car and drive over, or heaven forbid we pick up the phone and call - YIKES!
Businesses should evaluate the foundation of their online presence, making sure everything is consistent everywhere Why? Because today’s consumers expect it! What does this mean for businesses? It means;
Social accounts need to be managed and tailored to its audience.
Social accounts are actively engaging their audience as it validates a businesses investment to serving its customers.
Website and graphic design elements are consistent from platform to platform. All design elements are effectively optimized for each platform.
Website is easy to navigate and understood by the visitor.
The business is easy to communicate with across all online platform (social, website, google).
The point I am trying to make her is, word of mouth advertising is more than just telling a friend “ Hey, next time you want a good steak go here”. Word of mouth advertising communicates an experience that now lives online. I would bet that 9 times out of 10 a consumer has made a decision to do business with you based on what they have experienced with your business online. All this before ever stepping through your doors. Once they are there though, the only way to lose the sale at the point is by having a real crappy personality or a careless salesman. So, how’s your online experience?