Word-of-mouth marketing has taken on a new form with social media Web sites, but the concept behind it remains unchanged. A successful word-of-mouth campaign establishes relationships with influencers in a target community and gets them to praise your Web site to their networks.
Step 1: Identify Influencers
First, identify the influencers among your target audience.
- On blogs, look at the number of comments and its rank in search engine results.
- For MySpace, check the number of friends and comments on profiles.
- Search the names of product reviewers. Does this person write a significant number of reviews? Is this person also a blogger?
Step 2: Approach Influencers
Once you’ve identified a set of influential people in the community, follow these simple rules to raise their awareness of your site:
- Research each person. Find specific ways that your product or service is a good match for their audience.
- Don’t hide the fact that you have something to sell. Honesty establishes trust — the foundation of any good relationship.
- Start with small talk; it makes people more receptive to what you say.
Step 3: Build Relationships
Offer influencers something in return. Here are a few things you already have that you can leverage:
- Give them the scoop. Breaking a good story positions them as a leader in the online community.
- Promote them to your network. Identify opportunities where you can boost their readership or promote their businesses.
- Sponsor a contest or place ads on their sites. Use this approach sparingly as it can backfire on both parties if it seems that you’re paying for favorable reviews.
Finally, remember to track and test the effectiveness of your efforts. If you don’t measure it, you’ll never know if what you’re doing is working and worth repeating.