Posted: Dec 7, 2015
**Guest Post written by Alan VanToai, Co-Founder of www.CrewFire.com (turn your existing fans into your Facebook and Twitter ambassadors).
When you think visionary brands, who comes to mind?
Probably Apple, Red Bull, or Nike… right?
Well, how about we add one more to the mix: The Grateful Dead.
Yes, THAT Grateful Dead.
They’re one of the most storied bands over the last 50 years…
But what’s crazier is that they were pioneers not just in music – but also in marketing.
Long before social media or digital marketing ever came into play, they employed viral marketing, social networking, and word-of-mouth marketing. They did the exact opposite of what most bands did at the time, and they had tremendous success.
The Grateful Dead allowed concert-goers to record and trade concert tapes. Simple, yet it helped them build an influential word-of-mouth fan network powered by free music.
50 years later, the game has changed – but the principles are the same. And word-of-mouth remains one of the most powerful marketing strategies out there.
“If people are not talking about you, they are forgetting about you.” – John Moore (marketer for Starbucks and Whole Foods)
Word of mouth marketing is when a fan or customer recommends you to other people and potential fans.
It’s the form of marketing that consumers trust above all else – according to Nielsen, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising.
It worked for Grateful Dead, and that was long before the social reach that social media provides. Now, if you can do word of mouth marketing right, the sky is the limit.
You see, each of your fans, customers, and employees has their own network of friends and followers who see what they post on social media. When you engage these supporters and big fans, you give them a chance to get involved, feel closer to the music, and experience your brand – and this helps you to build a dedicated community that is excited to talk about what YOU’RE doing.
And if you can get them talking, your number of fans and supporters can grow exponentially.
But how do you get them talking - and more specifically, how do you get them to launch word of mouth marketing campaigns on social media?
Create Consistent, High Quality Content
High quality content can mean different things depending on your audience. Basically, it’s content that really interests your audience and compels them to share.
For Buzzfeed, that means click-baity articles like “21 Things You Only Know If You’ve Been Best Friends For 10 Years”.
Whereas, for Entrepreneur, that means deeper articles like “The 3 Decisions That Will Change Your Financial Life”.
Try out some different types of content to figure out what vibes best with your audience (interviews, videos, blogs, music, etc.).
And be consistent. Post at the same days and times each week so fans know what to expect.
Remember, you want your supporters to share this content, so you have to think about what makes them want to share.
Usually, that means interesting, authentic content that’s relevant to their friends, network, and audience.
Let’s dive a little deeper into what makes your fans share – this is important.
What’s great is that your fans have something awesome you can leverage: their passion.
When someone falls in love with your brand, they do more than just appreciate it and get pleasure from it. In many ways, they align part of their identity with it.
And you can leverage their passion to get them to spread the word about your brand. You give them a chance to talk about something they think is awesome.
That answers one part of the “What’s in it for me?” question.
For some fans, that may be all the motivation they need. But for others, they may need an extra push. That’s where incentives come into play.
Here are some great incentives to motivate fans to spread the word about you on social media:
(-) Reward them for sharing.
When rewarding fans, you should strike a balance between short term and long term sharing.
You can even break it down to a per-post-basis and a monthly basis. As a reward for sharing one post, maybe you can give them a shout out on Twitter, or send them stickers or other swag.
Then, at the end of the month, you can reward those fans who shared the most with bigger gifts, like gift cards or dinner with the artist.
The key is to make them feel more connected than just a normal attendee - like they’re a part of something bigger.
Show your biggest fans some love. If they’re making a big impact and spreading the word, give the occasional fan feature, and show them some individual attention. This will motivate them to keep sharing on an even larger scale.
When I used to promote at EDM and jam band festivals, I loved the shows and the music, but it was more than that. Being a fan was part of who I was. I aligned myself with the community and I loved spreading the word.
The community was such a big factor for me, and it’s the same with your audience. It makes people feel like they have a stake in your brand - when you have success, they have success. And that makes them want to spread the word even more.
Now that you know how to motivate your fans to launch word-of-mouth marketing campaigns, you still have one more step:
Make it as easy as possible for them to share.
To do that, you need to actively engage them. Here’s how you can do that:
(-) Email your fans and invite them to share your post.
Whenever you have new content, send an email and make it easy for fans to share your post with one click. The less hoops they have to jump through, the better.
(-) Start a Facebook group.
This group will represent your community. In the description, explain that it is the official place for your fans, friends, and supporters to discuss your brand, interact with each other, and get new content. Share your new posts in this group.
(-) Respond to @Mentions and Retweets.
Twitter is all about connections and conversations. So, respond to all your fans and show them that you want to engage and get to know them.
(-) Create a Content Sharing Schedule
You should be posting something on social media every day. A schedule could look something like:
Monday – Share blog content on Facebook and Twitter
Tuesday – Post an inspiring/cool/funny quote
Wednesday – Ask a question to your audience
(-) Consider a Social Media Word of Mouth Marketing Platform.
When you’re just getting started, you can use free tools like Mailchimp and Facebook effectively. But as you grow, you’ll want to consider a social media word of mouth marketing platform like our own (CrewFire).
A tool like Crewfire will help you reach more fans on Facebook and Twitter by turning your existing fans into your social media ambassadors.
Learn more and request an invite here: www.CrewFire.com.
Word-of-Mouth Marketing can add viral potential to your brand and help you exponentially grow your audience.
Get it right, and you’ll not only give yourself a strong platform to market your band, company, or brand - but you’ll also give your biggest fans and customers a chance to get closer to the music, experience, and identity that they love.
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