Let your customers do your marketing

Social Media Week is just coming to a close socialmediaweek.org – there’s so much amazing information posted about the opportunities available to you. I advise you to spend some time reading around it. But for me the simplest way to get involved is to find a way to get your customers talking about you – Facebook is as easy a toe in the water as any.

If you provide enough opportunities for your clients to talk about you you will reach a bigger market than you can afford. And you’ll end up with a few things:

1. Free market research. Your customers are always comparing you to the market – if they are particularly unhappy (or happy), it’s usually because of your service or products in comparison with the alternatives. Listen to them, act on their findings, and you’ve already got an advantage on your competition.

2. Free advertising. Your customers collectively know more people than you ever will. Remember, you’re only 6 degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon! Give them a reason to talk about you – what are you doing that’ll make them proud to talk about you. Promoting you tells a story about themselves too, so if you make them attractive to their friends, they’ll get your name out there.

3, Stickiness. Reward your customers for giving up their free time to bother to talk about you and you’ve made them feel good about themselves, and more loyal, so they’ll keep on talking about you. Reward can be as simple as a “thank you, I noticed”, or as generous as you like. It’s the recognition that’ll do it for you.

I was prompted to write this by #SMW, and it’s report on what Yelp’s been up to. Yelp – a nationwide review site has conducted research with it’s top ‘citizen-critics’ and this paritcular comment says it all for me:

“I don’t trust slick advertising,” said one panel member. “Not a lot of people do nowadays. I prefer personal experience. If someone has taken the time to do a review – for free – then what they have to say is important.”

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