With an estimated 12-24 million different eCommerce sites worldwide (WP Forms), it can feel discouraging to keep up on marketing campaigns. You might be thinking, “How can anyone find my eCommerce site when there are millions of options out there? How can I grab the attention of hundreds, if not thousands, of consumers to run a successful eCommerce website?” These questions may feel overwhelming, but you can be successful with word-of-mouth marketing (WOM).
Google WOM and you’ll see countless internet blogs that explain: word-of-mouth marketing is king. This claim is due to consumers’ high level of trust in WOM. In fact, according to Nielsen’s 2021 Trust in Advertising Study, 88% of respondents trust recommendations made by people they know more than any other form of advertising. But how do you get your customers to start talking about your business?
The answer: utilizing social media platforms to reach the masses.
Social media is your right-hand man when it comes to WOM marketing in 2022. Gone are the days of ‘doing it for the ‘gram’ – people are being more authentic and honest on social media than ever before, including influencers. Because of this, consumers trust the reviews they see on social media. Just over 5,000 stores closed their doors in 2021, which is a lot, but an improvement from 2020 when over 10,000 stores had to close their retail locations. However, eCommerce is still soaring with an increase of 14% in 2021 compared to 2020. Without the ability to touch, smell, and taste online purchases before making them, WOM marketing is one of the few ways people can trust the products and brands are going to be worth their while and their money.
Let’s dive into what WOM looks like in this digital era.
A 2021 Black Friday campaign by Cards Against Humanity is a prime example of how people blew up social media for a single company. For more details on how this campaign went down, read our post 3 Marketing Strategies We Learned From Cards Against Humanity’s 2021 Black Friday Campaign. While Cards Against Humanity has a large marketing budget compared to many eCommerce platforms, you can still increase the chatter across social media about your products.
WOM marketing on Facebook
While Facebook is not the most popular social media channel amongst Gen Z, it still performs as the most used social media platform with 1.9 billion daily users. Depending on your audience, it would be unwise to forget about using Facebook for your marketing campaigns.
BarkBox is a well-known eCommerce platform with a strong Facebook presence. What makes them stand out from the crowd is their strong community presence. They have 2.9 million followers on Facebook and have daily interactions with their followers. The first thing a user sees when they view the BarkBox Facebook page is a pinned post about their March Box. That post has almost 400 comments, many of which are their customers’ rave reviews. (Confession: As a pet owner, I now want to pay for a BarkBox subscription!)
How can you replicate this? Consider utilizing the pinned post option on Facebook and regularly update it with new posts about your products and flaunt stellar reviews. Showcasing your products and customers’ happiness will lead your eCommerce business to success.
WOM marketing on Instagram
Instagram is a major player in eCommerce sales, with 44% of Instagram users utilizing the platform to shop weekly. Notably, for WOM, one in two Instagram users have found a new brand on the app. This willingness by Instagram users to find new products and services via the platform is fantastic news for furthering your brand awareness through Instagram.
For example, check out how Pepsi is taking the (pan)cake with this hashtag contest showing off their new peculiar flavor: Maple Syrup Cola.
As pancake lovers here at ShortStack, I had to include this fun campaign. This hashtag contest asks Instagram users to post a picture with a delicious stack of pancakes and use the hashtags #showusyourstack and #pepsisweepstakes. Pepsi’s goal for this campaign could be to increase customer engagement, have a successful partnership with IHOP, spread the word about this new cola flavor, or all of these combined. This WOM campaign is fun, family-friendly, and creative. Adding the requirement of tagging IHOP increases the chances of people learning more about this new product since IHOP and Pepsi could have different customer bases.
The hashtag #showusyourstack has over 5,000 posts on Instagram, allowing Pepsi to reach more people through word-of-mouth. Additionally, since it is a limited-edition flavor, there is more hype about purchasing the product before it is gone for good.
Next time you run a marking campaign on Instagram, consider partnering with related brands to increase your reach. Using partners in Instagram campaigns shows your products to consumers from brands they already know and trust, making it more likely they will interact with your brand.
WOM marketing on Twitter
Twitter is most known for its minute-by-minute breaking news and access to the rapid-fire opinions of the best and brightest around, but 93% of Twitter users also follow brands they plan to buy from. For new product releases, sale updates, and other quick blurbs about your brand, Twitter is a great platform. Twitter users know they won’t get full-length reviews on products, but they still have the opportunity to get a first look and peeks about what other goodies are to come.
For example, when Google launched their Pixel 4a phone in 2020, they went to Twitter. What set their campaign apart? They personalized each response they made to every person with images and links using the customer’s name to gain engagement. Personally, if Google responded to my comment with personalized content, I would share the cool experience with my friends and family and maybe even buy the product.
While customizing content on the fly can be difficult, you can still personalize your customers’ experiences by getting to know them with personality quizzes. With the information you collect from personality quizzes, such as knowing if your customers are early or late risers, you can cater to your Twitter audience and show up at the right time in customers’ feeds.
With 78% of brand followers likely to Retweet a brand’s tweet, Retweet contests are a sure-fire way to increase your brand’s product reach. In short, a Retweet contest works by asking users to Retweet your original post for a prize. When they do so, their followers will see the post and the domino effect starts. This exposure to your brand allows Twitter users to find you who previously didn’t even know your products or services existed.
WOM marketing on TikTok
TikTok has only been around globally since late 2017 when Music.ly acquired it, and the two platforms merged. According to GWI, 30% of Gen Z TikTok users prefer to do their product research on the app versus other social media platforms. This vital statistic means that while it may be easier to add links to FB posts and IG Stories, if you intend to target the Gen Z market, then you need to be marketing on TikTok.
A popular way to get TikTok users to buy your product and give it the TikTok user gold-star endorsement of #tiktokmademebuyit is through a partnership with big TikTok influencers, such as Charli D’Amelio (@charlidamelio), Jojo Siwa (@itsjojosiwa), and Wisdom Kaye (@wisdm8). Each TikTok star has 138 million followers, 40 million followers, and 7 million followers, respectively, these three people hold a lot of weight with the Gen Z population.
For example, Charli D’Amelio recently partnered with Prada and has 13.5 million views on her 11-second video. Accessing larger populations for your products is possible when partnering with influencers and the word-of-mouth they generate.
@charlidamelio @prada #pradafw22 ♬ original sound – charli d’amelio
BONUS: WOM marketing on Reddit
I can’t write about WOM without mentioning Reddit. Reddit is an excellent resource for consumers who want to ask questions and get their product research information from first-hand experiences.
Some companies have taken advantage of this and created their own subreddits – a forum dedicated to a unique topic. The main use of your subreddit will serve as a review forum. However, it can be a fine line to walk since Reddit users are not happy when a company chimes in on negative product reviews. To work around this, have brand ambassadors serve as your subreddit moderators. These individuals will keep you informed of how well the products are received and suggestions they see for product improvements.
In conclusion, word-of-mouth marketing is not going away anytime soon with the help of social media platforms bringing people thousands of miles apart to the front door of your eCommerce business. While brick and mortar retailers are making a comeback, it is estimated that eCommerce will make up a quarter of all retail sales by 2025 – that’s right around the corner!
Are you ready to increase your social media presence to access your share of eCommerce revenue? If so, ShortStack can help you get started today with a free account or you can contact sales.