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Social media ushered a quantum leap change in the manner and speed at which people can share their opinions. And that speed is mind-boggling! But it’s important to remember that word of mouth marketing can be positive or negative. You cannot control word of mouth marketing, you can only influence it. People can, and will, ‘sing your praises’ in social media when they are delighted with your products, services, and treatment of them during their purchase. However, one unfortunate feature of our human nature is that we tend to share our negative experiences more readily than our positive ones.

No doubt, you realize that you must serve your customers well, for positive word of mouth and word of MOUSE to happen, continue, and to spread. Demonstrate your integrity to your customers with the information you provide to them and your target audience. Don’t ever try to scam your target audience. Any bad content you create will be out there forever unless you pull it down. Keep in mind, there are domains where you cannot make the choice to take something “down” once it has been published.

How embarrassing would it be for your business to be stuck with some especially self-serving piece of information, over pumped with “fluff” that doesn’t help anybody, still hanging around the Internet, Because at one time, you wrote that piece PURELY to try to make your business look good without being interested in serving anyone else? Would you want to have shabby Web pages and/or articles still out there, possibly showing up in searches? For the best and long-term results, use this most powerful marketing tool–social media via the Internet– with integrity.

Yes, social media is the most powerful tool in your marketing arsenal, but negative word of mouth marketing is a fact of life. Remember, human nature includes being more likely to actively share a negative experience than a positive one. Let’s recap recent marketing history of how word of mouth marketing is carried, focusing on how customers/consumers express complaints. This illustrates how social media is also the most powerful tool in an unhappy customer’s arsenal. This social media sword has two edges! This virtual pen has two points! You need to be aware of both.

When word of mouth marketing is negative, gone are the days when a particularly unhappy customer would simply send a letter to your business stating their dissatisfaction with your product/service or their treatment. Can you recall, how long did that process took? Maybe a little over two weeks, allowing for composing the letter, mailing the letter to your business, then your business responding to that customer. Go-ing are the days when the unhappy customer calls you on the phone to complain. Though the phone call is a fairly quick process, unless the customer has difficulty getting through to the person he/she needs to speak with to voice their complaint.

Today, customers who are particularly unhappy with a business’s product, service, or treatment of their transaction can send you a scathing email and/or share their upset, globally, in a matter of seconds—via Facebook, Yelp, another online customer review site, YouTube, Twitter, and/or blog posts. The point is—social media is an incredibly powerful medium for both businesses and consumers!

As a business owner, this may leave you feeling especially exposed. Are you thinking, “Whoa! That’s scary. I’ll just keep my business away from this social media stuff so I don’t invite ‘complainers’ and their issues to show up in any social media we might have considered utilizing.”

Keeping your business from having its own social media presence does not keep social media from affecting your business. Social media is having a powerful effect on your business whether you embrace its use it or not. Either way, the effect it has will only become greater over time. Again, social media will continue to affect your business whether or not your business engages with it. Remember, you cannot control word of mouth marketing—you can only influence it.

Wouldn’t you rather put this weapon of mass-influence—social media—to work for your business? While right now I am talking about your marketing strategies per se, this is still about the consumer-side of your online presence. As part of your customer-focused online presence you will be responding to complaints—and needing to do so faster than ever before.

The activities of consumers in social media will continue with or without your participation. It IS in the best interests of your business success to enter into social media marketing with a purpose and a strategy to execute that purpose. As I outline, strategic participation in social media–where your target audience spends their time–allows you to influence how your business is perceived as well as improve your sales.

In Episode 4, we will discuss Step 3, sharing some surprising Examples of the power of social media marketing

 

12 Steps to Effective Online Marketing

Step 1 – Why Social Media Is YOUR Most Powerful Marketing Tool
Step 2 – Human Nature And Negative Word of MOUSE Marketing
Step 3 – Great Examples of the Power of Social Media Marketing
Step 4 – What’s Missing From Traditional Marketing Advertising
Step 5 – Anatomy of a Customer-Focused Marketing Message
Step 6 – Be Clear Exactly Who You’re Marketing To
Step 7 – Adding “Story” To Make YOUR Marketing Memorable
Step 8 – Boost Your Business Providing 1 or 2 Resources WITHOUT Selling
Step 9 – YOUR “Business Voice” What it is; why it’s important
Step 10 – A Sampler of Social Media Types/Channels
Step 11 – Which Social Media Will Work for Your Business
Step 12 – Working Social Media Into YOUR Regular Business Operations

Tune in to The Word of MOUSE Blog Show on iTunes, the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month for MORE Word of MOUSE!

Questions?  Go to WordOfMouseBlog.com

Go to MIYPmarketing.com for more resources for YOUR small business!

Vivianne “Viver” Winters Israel Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.